The standard for printing receipts is to use thermal printers because they are robust, fast and requires no toner change. Also the paper costs for such printers is close to nothing. But thermal printers equipped with WiFi are pretty expensive these days and quite intricate to connect to the WiFi network.
With our order-taking app (for now only on Android version) it is possible to directly print from the order-taking device (smartphone / tablet) to a thermal printer connected via USB cable, Bluetooth or Ethernet. In case of an Ethernet printer this will work as long as both the order-taking device and the thermal printer are connected to the same network via a WiFi modem or a network cable that is wired to the printer.
This is working due to a native mobile sdk integration for Epson, Seiko and Star thermal printers. You just have to update to the latest version of our Android order-taking app and you'll see another tab called "Thermal printer" from where you can connect the app for direct auto-print to a thermal printer.
So far these are officially supported printers by the integrated SDKs. Let us know if you manage to make it work with other models too.
TM-T20, TM-T20II, TM-T20II-m, TM-T70, TM-T70II, TM-T81II, TM-T82, TM-T82II, TM-T83II, TM-T88V, TM-T90II, TM-P20, TM-P60, TM-P60II, TM-P80, TM-U220, TM-U330, TM-m10, TM-m30
DPU-S245, DPU-S445, RP-D10, RP-E10, RP-E/11
TSP100ECO, TSP100U, TSP100GT, TSP100LAN, TSP650, TSP650II, FVP10, TSP700II, TSP800II, TUP500, TUP900, SP700
IMPORTANT: Before you try this make sure the thermal printer is correctly set (no lid open errors, load paper ok, etc) and properly connected to the WiFi/LAN network, Bluetooth or USB cable by following manufacturer's user guide instructions otherwise the printer cannot be found during the auto-discovery search. Also for proper network/settings configuration some printer models requires a first time setup using a PC and and an installation CD coming inside the package. Make sure you’ve checked that before struggling with deeper router IP settings.
Direct (auto)-printing methods: other simple ways directly from the order-taking device
Robust option: Auto-print the order via SMS from your order-taking device. (on iOS smartphones only the manual SMS print works)
The other practical case at an affordable price is to use gsm/gprs printers by auto-SMS the order details from the Restaurant orders-taking app. You need a GSM-SMS printer with a valid SIM card in it.
You do not need to use the GPRS functions of that printer so you don't need to buy/make any software integration for it. You just rely on such a printer's ability to print any SMS arriving to it (just make sure it has the ability to print SMSes as they come).
Quickly Copy-Paste order details directly from your smartphone or tablet to the printer app
You can use this with any application you already know for sure it is working to print in your particular case / network (SMS app, Notes, etc). There are a few more clicks and long-press paste operations on each printed order but the advantage of this solution is that is reliably working, even with WiFi or Bluetooth thermal printers that provide utility apps for receipt printing.
eMail based (auto-)printing solutions: very generic but less friendly to set-up
We also allow restaurants to get all the orders, right AFTER acceptance, via email for archiving, for printing or for other accountancy reasons - but NOT as a way of accepting orders.
So one very reliable printing approach is to make sure that you can print emails coming from us. On any device, network and printer that can print emails you can also print order confirmations coming from us, automatically or manually.
Good to know before sending emails for a narrow format thermal printer (e.g we tested for minimal compliance on an Epson TM-T80 III old model): use our “text only email confirmation” notifications option from the advanced settings tab of your restaurant account admin area.
Easy option: Send orders via email directly to an eprint/email print compatible printer.
- have/buy an “eprint” or “email print” compatible printer (several vendors support this function: HP, EPSON, Canon, Kodak, etc).
Important: do not assimilate “iPrint” feature with “eprint” or “email print”. They are not the same!
- for an easy WiFi printer setup, the best solution is to buy/have a printer with "built-in wifi wizard" set-up. This way anyone can easily connect a printer to a wifi network without needing a computer/notebook (Wifi wizard connectivity is optional though...you may also connect through cable. Just make sure your network allows Internet access in either way).
Printers like this may cost anything between: 120 - 450 usd depending on speed, tonner, extra-features, etc.
Reuse what you have option: Set an auto-print from PC email rule via MS Outlook
- this options works with ANY printer as long as it is connected to a PC/notebook that's linked to the internet.
- so you need an existing PC connected to the internet and working well with ANY printer, plus MS Outlook email client installed.
- you can set-up an “auto-printing” job of all accepted order emails using email rules from Outlook or any other email client or tool supporting a similar functionality.
Old school option: Auto-print using the “good-old fax”
Set an “email to fax” service to send those emails automatically to restaurant’s fax for printing. Basically you sign-up with an email to fax service provider and you will get a email address that looks like [restaurantfaxnumber]@[emailtofaxproviderdomain].com
In each country you may great rates for domestic email to fax services, some even for free. (e.g. https://www.hellofax.com/info/pricing ).
You can use the notifications options from the advanced settings tab of your restaurant account admin area to set the fax to receive your confirmed orders via that fax email address obting from the email o fax provider. (as shown above in the first screenshot).
Manually print the orders confirmation emails directly from your smartphone or tablet. Simpler ways to just print from your smartphone or tablet. This means a few extra clicks/taps to print every order after you accept it but with less IT hassle for setup.
Print the orders confirmation emails directly from your smartphone or tablet.
You can use the notifications options from the advanced settings tab of your restaurant account admin area to set the tablet/smartphone email client to receive your confirmed orders via email (as shown above in the first screenshot). On any device, network and printer that can print emails you can also print order confirmations coming from us. This means you have to find a way to connect the printer and print emails directly from the smartphone or tablet. On some smartphones or tablets you have to also download and install some printer app ( from Google Play or AppStore) provided by the manufacturer of that printer. Some of these printer mobile apps are smarter, some don't. Typically a good the printer app will be able to communicate with the email account you created and print directly from the default email client app or render your emails for printing too. This way you will be able to print the order confirmation emails directly from the system default email client or dedicated printer's app.
If that printer cannot print from native email apps and that manufacturer’s printer app does not render emails..then you will not be able to solve printing this way.
So try using 3rd party apps that do this and that are compatible with your printer model or your cloud print setup (if any). There are mobile apps out there that claim supporting email printing for thousands of printer drivers and even to any printer connected through a cloud print PC setup on Google Cloud or AirPrint.
If this does not work either...then you cannot solve it this way.
Paperless automation: recommended by us for all cases
You may also consider to use the alternative “paperless” automation method
No matter how you do it, printing goes slow and is cumbersome. Time is money. Skip printing to save time and some trees (or at least a little bush...something like this)!
Accept the orders on the orders-taking tablet/smartphone then set the email client on a 2nd tablet to retrieve the order confirmation emails that are sent automatically by us for this other tablet/smartphone that sits in the kitchen... You can use the notifications options from the advanced settings tab of your restaurant account admin area to set the 2nd tablet/smartphone email client to receive your confirmed orders via email (as shown above in the first screenshot).