This is my idea for a food server pager system that would allow easy use on both sides of the system. It should be easy to use by servers to register the tables they are in charge of when they start their shift and during their shift. It should also be easy to set up out of the box and assign table buttons "labels" (the table number or other identifier) and reassign existing buttons and add new buttons to an existing system. It will of course be easy for the customers to use since they will just have a button on the table to press that will page the registered pager.
- TableButton: a small, wireless, battery-operated button that sits on the dining tables customers will press to page a server.
- Pager: the small, wireless, battery-operated device a server will use to see which tables need their attention with an on-board, backlit, LCD screen.
- MainBox: probably a RaspberryPi or other low powered computer than will handle the UI and interaction with users to assign TableButton labels, register Pagers to one or more TableButtons, and manage the passing of the page signals from the TableButtons to the pagers.
Use case scenarios:
- Restaurant buys new system for ten tables and three servers. This will be the main box, ten TableButtons, and three pagers. User presses the register pager button on the MainBox then presses the first TableButton. The MainBox will register that button's unique ID in its database and ask the user to enter a label for this table. The user will enter the label as something similar to "Table 1" and press OK/Done. The MainBox will then save that label, "Table 1" in the database for that button's unique ID. The user will repeat this for all ten buttons with labels like "Table 2", "Table 3", etc.
- Food server will begin their first shift of the day. They pick up a pager and press the "Assign tables to pager" button on the MainBox. The MainBox will present the user with a list of all the tables it has in its database. The user will pick one or more tables they will be taking care of and then press OK. The MainBox will then present the user with a message "Press the Register button on your pager". As soon as the user presses the button on the pager the MainBox will pick up the unique ID from the pager that just sent out its register signal, then assign those tables to that pager in its database. The user will pick something like "Table 2" and "Table 3".
- Customer at Table 2 presses their TableButton to call their server. The TableButton sends out its unique ID and the MainBox looks up which pager is assigned that table in its database and then shows the corresponding label that was set previously on the assigned pager's screen. The server knows that the customers at Table 2 need help.