GB2343023A - Apparatus for order control - Google Patents

Apparatus for order control Download PDF

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Publication number
GB2343023A
GB2343023A GB9822967A GB9822967A GB2343023A GB 2343023 A GB2343023 A GB 2343023A GB 9822967 A GB9822967 A GB 9822967A GB 9822967 A GB9822967 A GB 9822967A GB 2343023 A GB2343023 A GB 2343023A
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GB
United Kingdom
Prior art keywords
apparatus
means
order
customer
customer input
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Withdrawn
Application number
GB9822967A
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GB9822967D0 (en
Inventor
Joseph Bailey
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Global Si Consultants Ltd
Original Assignee
GLOBAL SI CONSULTANTS Ltd
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Application filed by GLOBAL SI CONSULTANTS Ltd filed Critical GLOBAL SI CONSULTANTS Ltd
Priority to GB9822967A priority Critical patent/GB2343023A/en
Publication of GB9822967D0 publication Critical patent/GB9822967D0/en
Publication of GB2343023A publication Critical patent/GB2343023A/en
Application status is Withdrawn legal-status Critical

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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q10/00Administration; Management
    • G06Q10/08Logistics, e.g. warehousing, loading, distribution or shipping; Inventory or stock management, e.g. order filling, procurement or balancing against orders
    • G06Q10/087Inventory or stock management, e.g. order filling, procurement, balancing against orders
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q30/00Commerce, e.g. shopping or e-commerce
    • G06Q30/06Buying, selling or leasing transactions

Abstract

An apparatus for order control, for example in a restaurant, comprises a plurality of customer input devices 3 connected to at least one order receiving device 5. A customer input device 3 may be provided for each restaurant table, and may comprise a touch sensitive screen which enables the customer to enter customer details and to select items from a menu (figs. 3, 5, 6 and 7). The order is sent to a receiving device 5. The input devices may comprise means for printing a copy of the order sent, and providing billing information (fig. 8) and a swipe slot for use in credit card payments. The order receiving device(s) 5, which may include separate food and bar terminals, may display and/or print copies of the received orders, and may include means for inputting details of items available for ordering and sending them to the customer input devices, and means for keeping a stock register and inputting changes in stock held.

Description

APPARATUS FOR ORDER CONTROL This invention relates to apparatus and system for order control.

One of the problems in running restaurants and like establishments is related to the ordering of articles from the menu. In order to run an efficient restaurant, it is desirable that customers should be able to order as soon as they are ready. However, in practice, orders are taken by waiters who as well as exercising this function, have to serve the food itself. Thus, a table may be ready to order but if the restaurant is busy, it may take some time to catch the waiter's attention resulting in annoyance by the customer an stress on the part of the waiter concerned.

It would also be helpful if, with a largish party dining, the individual members of the party could begin to order as soon as they have decided on what to have, without having to wait for other members of the party.

The other problem resides in the possibility of the waiter taking down the order wrong and this can occur particularly where the waiter and the customer do not share the same mother tongue The invention seeks to provide an apparatus and a system for ordering articles such as food in which some or all of the above mentioned disadvantages are reduced or substantially obviated.

According to the invention an apparatus for order control comprises a plurality of customer input devices and at least one order receiving device connected to all of the customer input devices for interacting therewith.

Preferably the devices comprise computer terminals which may comprise touch sensitive screens and alpha-numeric input means.

The customer input devices may comprise means for displaying items to be ordered, means for selecting from the items displayed items to be ordered and means for sending the order to the at least one order receiving device.

They may also includes printing means for printing out a copy of the order sent and providing billing information and a swipe slot for use in credit card payments.

The customer input device may indudes means for inputting customers' details such as the number of customers present and codes for each customer.

The order receiving device may comprise means for receiving and displaying orders received from the customer input devices. It may also include printing means for printing out copies of the orders received from the customer input devices.

The order receiving device may include means for inputting details of items available for ordering and means for sending these details to the customer input devices, means for keeping a stock register and means for inputting changes in stock held. This latter may indude means for extracting details of the items ordered from orders received from the customer input devices and updating the stock register accordingly.

The order control apparatus may relates to a restaurant, the customer input devices may be located on each customer table and two order receiving devices may be provided, one for dealing with food orders and the other for dealing with drink orders. Means may be provided for communication between the two order receiving devices.

Preferably only one of the two order receiving devices comprises means for billing the customers, the other order receiving device sending details of its orders received to the said one order receiving device for this purpose.

The invention will now be described in greater detail, by way of example, with reference to the drawings in which: Figure 1 shows a schematic layout for an ordering apparatus according to the invention; Figure 2 Is a side view of a suitable terminal for use with the ordering apparatus of figure 1; Figure 3 is a front view of the terminal of figure 2, without the stand, displaying a main screen for a customer terminal ; Figure 4 is a view similar to figure 3 but showing a main screen for an administrative terminal, and Figures 5 to 19 show screens used to illustrate the operation of the invention.

Referring firstly to figure 1, one embodiment of the ordering control apparatus according to the invention and designed for use in a restaurant is shown. The apparatus basically comprises a number of terminals of which there are two basic types. The customer terminals 3 and the administrative terminals 5. In a restaurant having twenty tables, there would be twenty customer terminals, one for each table. For clarity, figure 1 shows only four of these, but the principe of the operation remains the same however many terminals are used.

The function of the customer terminals are as follows : To look up the menu of food and drink available.

To place orders for items of food and drink.

To give information as to the table occupants.

To perform a billing and paying function.

There are two administrative terminals 5, one, 7, associated with the restaurant bar and the other, 9, associated with the restaurant kitchen. The function of these two terminals is the basically the same but, of course, they are dealing with separate commodities. There function is:1. To receive customers orders.

To receive customer details.

To monitor the level of goods available.

To set up and vary the menu available to customers.

To deal with billing.

As can be seen from figure 1, all of the customer terminals 3 are connected by cabling 11 to both of the administrative terminals 5 and the two administrative terminals are connected to each other over a line 13. In this way, certain of the administrative functions, such as billing, may be dealt with by one of the two terminals, the other terminal relaying the appropriate information. A line 12 is provided from the main administrative terminal here the bar terminal 7, for connection with exterior facilities as will be hereafter mentioned.

The full operation of the terminals will be dealt with hereafter.

Figures 2 and 3 show a suitable terminal construction, particularly for use as a customer terminal, Figure 2 being a side view and figure 3 being a front view of the terminal without its supporting stand. The terminal 3 comprises an operating panel 15 mounted on a stand 17 by means of an arm 19. The operating panel is mounted so as to swivel about an horizontal axis 21 and the stand 17 is rotatable about a vertical axis 23. The stand is suitably mounted in the middle of the customer's table as a centre piece. In this way the operating panel can be moved so as to be readily usable by customers sitting at any position at the table.

Figure 3 shows the font of the operating panel 15. This basically comprises a flat computer screen 25 with a set of alphabetical keys 27 located down the left hand side of the panel an a set of numerical keys 29 located down the right hand side of the panel. A credit card swipe slot (not shown) is located down the left hand side of the panel and a print slot (also not shown) is located at the bottom side of the panel.

The screen is a touch sensitive screen, pressure on appropriate parts of which activate various functions. In the view shown, the screen is displaying the main display divided into three sections. The first section 41, at the top of the screen 25 relates to the ordering of food and is divided into four areas or "buttons relating to"Starters","Main Courses","Side Orders and To Follown respectively. The second section 43 relates to the ordering of drinks and is again divided in to four areas relating to"Beers',"Wines',"Spirits' and"Cold drinks". The third section 45, also with four areas or"buttons' relates to the Customer, the areas relating to"About Your Tablen, gMake your Choice",'Place an Order and"Pay for your meal".

The operation of this terminal will be considered hereafter.

The administrative terminals 7 and 9 are basically of the same design as the customer terminals 3 but have different screen presentations. Since both of these terminals 7 and 9 have basically the same functions, only the bar terminal will be considered in any detail. Figure 4 is a view similar to figure 3 but showing the main administrative screen.

In the view shown, the screen is displaying the main display divided into three sections. The first section 61, at the top of the screen 25 relates to the tables and ordering of drinks and has a button for each table. The maximum number of tables which can be shown at any one time is eighteen, but more tables can be displayed using the"More Tables"button. The second section 63 relates to the drink stock level monitoring and is divided in to four areas relating to Beers", ZWines", aSpiritsX and Cold drinks. The third section 65, also with four areas or gbuttonsX relates to administrative functions, the areas relating to"Add/Amend Items',"About your Tables", Global Options'and"Customer Payment".

The operation of the above described embodiment will now be considered: When customers arrive at the restaurant, they will be seated at a table and will see a terminal displaying the main screen as shown in figure 3. It is now up to the customer to make the appropriate selections by pressing one of the gButtonsX displayed If any of the buttons in the food and drink sections are pressed, such as"Starters", The area of the food section is replaced with a number of Icons showing what starter are available. However at this point, none of the icons are highlighted indicating that they cannot at present be used. Figure 4 shows the screen at this point. As can be seen, in addition to the food icons there are a number of small buttons which can be use to carry out various actions of which only the"Food Front Section", basically a retum to the previous screen, has blackened wording and can therefore be used.

The title bar displays a message"Starters-Feel free to review our range.

You'll need to tell us about your table in order to make a choice". At the same time, the"About your tablen button from the main screen flashes red indicating that this button should now be pressed Pressing the"About your table"button replaces the third section 45 with a questionnaire relating to the table arrangements (Figure 5). At the same time, the first section 43 retums to its main display as shown in Figure 3. The message on the screen reads"Welcome to table 1 (this number being replaced by other numbers depending on the table number). The customer is then asked to insert the number of people at his/her table in the whitened adjacent box, and in this case it is assumed that the customer has entered "5". At this point it should be noted that any attempt to insert characters other than numbers will result in the box clearing to await correct details. Once the number has been correctly inserted, the customer presses the"Number Entered"button. A corresponding number of name rows will become highlighted. Only five name rows can be dealt with at one time so that only five will be showing.

All the names must be three letters long and can be entered by pressing the appropriate space and inserting a letter using the alphabetical keys on the left hand side of the operating panel 15 Suitable names may be short names, initials or two letters and a dot. Examples of some suitable names are: Mum Cws Joe Dad mi.

If more than five people are present, the"More Names button will become blacked and further spaces for entering names will appear when this button is pressed. When the naming of the customers has been completed, the "Names Entered"button will be pressed which will in tum cause the"Make Your Choice"button available.

The Make Your Choice"section (Figure 6) then replaces the"About Your Table'section. The instructions at the top of this section read'Select your name and then your choice of Starter, Main Course, Side Order, To Follow and drink as you wish. Each time you press"Chosen"this screen confirms your choice. When you have finished making all your choies, press Choice Completed."To illustrate the operation of choosing a meal, the customer Dad will order his meal.

He presses'Starters'in the first section and the available starters will be displayed in the first section 43 (Figure 7). Pressing on the icon of a starter selected highlights the starter concemed, in the case shown Avocado and Prawn CocktailX Where there are more starters than can be displayed at the same time, a"More Starters'button is provided. Dad presses the"Starter Chosenn button and the item is added to the list in the third section 45. This is a read only list but can be changed using the appropriate selection buttons.

Dad then selects other items from the food and drinks section using the same procedure. On all of these sections, other information is available for highlighted icons. Thus, for example, a"Further Details"button will provide details of the items concemed such as name, price, whether it is a vegetarian item and any gamishes supplie with it When Dad has completed his selection he presses the"Choice Completed" button. This then enables the other members of the party to make their choices in the same way. Once everyone has made their choice, the"Place your Order'button is pressed to access the Place your Order Screen. From this, the order can then be sent to one or both of the administrative terminals 7 and 9 by pressing the ZSend Orderw button. Once this has been done, the customer may request a printed confirmation of the order which will be printed by the terminal and output through the printer slot at the base of the operating panel 15.

Having placed an order, the terminal has facilities for recalling the details of the order and for making additional orders.

Once the meal has been delivered and consumed, it is time to make a payment for it. To do this, the customer, when ready to pay, presses the'Pay for your Meal"button in the third section 45 and the screen will display three ways to pay (Figure 8). The three ways are by credit card, through the waiter/cashier or by charge to hotel room, where this is applicable.

For payment by credit card, the customer presses the appropriate"Credit Card"icon and then the"Make Payment"button. The terminal will then request the customer to swipe his card down the swipe card slot provided in the left hand side of the control panel 15. Confirmation of payment will take the usual course by communicating with existing credit card payment systems. Provision is made for enabling the customer to obtain a bill printout.

Thereafter, the terminal is reset for the next customer.

For payment through the waiter/cashier the customer presses the ZCash" icon and then the'Make PaymenY button. On confirmation being given the terminal will advise the customer either that the waiter has been alerted to bring the bill or there is a request to go to the cashier who is preparing the bill. Again the possibility of a bill printout is offered. Thereafter, the terminal is reset for the next customer.

Where the restaurant is part of an hotel, the third method of payment allows the customer who is staying in the hotel to add the restaurant bill to his main hotel bill. To do this, he presses the"Charge to RoomX icon and presses the 'Make PaymentJ button. This produces a request for a room number and a security code. The possibility of a printed bill is also given. Thereafter, the terminal is reset for the next customer.

The place your order operation and the payment options react interactively with one or other of the administrative terminals 7 and 9. One of these terminals is the overriding terminal in that it deals with the payments as well as the ordering and this would usually be the bar terminal. Since both of the administrative terminals act in the same way, only the bar terminal will be described in detail here.

Figure 4 shows the main screen of the bar terminal. The top section 61 provides access to the ordering and payment situation as regards the individual tables. This part of the screen reacts directly with the customer terminals. When one of two actions has been performed by the customer terminal, namely either"Send Order"or"Make Payment"the appropriate table icon tums red to indicate that the table requires a service. If the appropriate table icon is pressed, the screen wilt reveal either the order being made or the payment request details which can be acted on accordingly. If the service is to place an order, as well as the table icon tuming red, the order may, at the same time, be automatically printed out for collection and action by the bar staff. If it is desired to make the indication of which service is required more obvious, for example, an order might male the associated table icon tum green while a request to pay the bill could make the icon turn red.

The second section 63 of the bar main screen relates drink stock level monitoring. Pressing the appropriate buttons will enable current stocks to be inspected, enabling restocking of the bar and/or placing of further orders with the supplier.

In this monitoring function, each time an order is sent to the bar receiving device, the number of individual items ordered is deducted from the number of available items set in the servings/bottles field on the individual item detail screens, an example of which is shown in Figure 9. When a level of one of the products in the four groups provided namely,"Beers","Wines", "Spirits"and"Cold Drinks", the appropriate one of these will be highlighted to indicate that the stock needs looking into. The"Wines"button is then pressed and the sub menu for wines is then displayed as shown in Figure 18. On this screen the bar device shows coloured highlights to indicate that a low stock of, for example, Beaujolais Nouveau, is present. Of the available items provided, an item can be selected by pressing on the"Item"button. From this a"Details"button gives access to the screen display which, as has been discussed previously, is also displayed to the customer and can be seen in Figure 19. However, in the customer case, the screen is read on hile in the case of the bar receiving device, the details can be amende. If the"Edit Item"is pressed, then the details of the item can be amended similarly to the arrangements in the"Add/Amend Items"provision accessible from the third section 65 of the main receiving bar screen. Where there are no items left, the item may simply be deleted by pressing the"Delete Item"button. This deletion can then be transmitted to the customer terminals so that the items are also withdrawn from their availability indication. On the other hand, the item can be marked as unavailable instead of being deleted.

The third section 65 of the bar main screen relates to main administrative procedures of which only the"Add/Amend Items'will be dealt with in detail.

When the ZAdd/Amend Itemsw button is pressed, this brings up the appropriate part screen which overlies the third section 65 and is shown in Figure 9. At this point, the screen is in edit mode and thus the buttons"Save changes","Cancel','New Items ) Delete Item'and"Update Devices'and "Update Devices'buttons are not available. The"Drinks Types'selection buttons and the navigation buttons gAdmin Front Screens","About Tables" and"Global Options'are the only buttons available for use.

To add a new item, one of the"Drinks Types"selection buttons is selected and for the purpose of this discussion it will be assumed that wines are selected. The"Name"field is highlighted and a name is entered into this field. After a check that this name does not already exist, the"Serving Vessei and"Monitor'check boxes and the"Country',"% Aicohot'and the number of"Servings/Bottles"fields are available to receive entries as appropriate. Then the"Bottle", Share or"Glass"check boxes are pressed to insert ticks to indicate how the wine is to be served. The appropriate icons from the"Choose Picture'area are selected to give an icon such as"Red Wine Bottle","White Wine Bottle"etc. for display purposes on the customer terminals 3. The price and alcohol content are added in their appropriate fields. The"Countr'field should now be filled. By using the up and down buttons, the available list of countries is displayed for selection. If a tick is placed in the"Monitor check box the entry in the will be added to the list of items being monitored by the system and the appropriate information will be available from the second section 63 of the main bar screen.

The operation of adding an item is completed by pressing the"Save Changes'button. The operation can be cancelled or a further new item can be added by the pressing of the"Cancel'or"New Item"button respectively.

Items which have been entered or are present on the"Add/Amend Drinks ItemX screen can be deleted using the Delete Item"button.

It is also possible to amend an existing item using the"Add/Amend Drinks Item"screen. This is achieved by selecting the appropriate aDninks Typesn selection button, in the case discussed, Wine. The down arrow on the 'Country'field is pressed to display the available items and one is selected.

With this section, any of the fields relating to this item can be altered and when the alteration has been completed, it can be saved in the usual way by pressing the"Save Changes'button.

Once all the alterations additions or deletions have been effected, it is necessary to update the customer terminals 3. This can be achieved by pressing the"Update Devices"button.

It will be appreciated that while the above embodiment has dealt with the operation of a restaurant, it will be equally applicable to other purchasing situations. For example, it could be used to manage ordering in catalogue shops with each customer making his order directly into a terminal instead of queuing at a counter with order slips.

It will also be appreciated that modifications of or additions to the above described embodiment are possible without departing from the scope of the invention. For example, the input arrangements for the terminals could be varied to use a QWERTY type keyboard instead of the two lines of alphabetic and numeral buttons provided.

The functions of bar and food terminals could be amalgamated if desired, or a single administrative terminal could be used in bars which do not serve food but still have a waiter service.

Claims (17)

  1. CLAIMS :1. An apparatus for order control comprising a plurality of customer input devices and at least one order receiving device connected to all of the customer input devices for interacting therewith.
  2. 2. An apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the devices comprise computer terminals.
  3. 3. An apparatus as claimed in claim 2, wherein the terminals comprise touch sensitive screens and alpha-numeric input means.
  4. 4. An apparatus as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the customer input devices comprise means for displaying items to be ordered, means for selecting from the items displayed items to be ordered and means for sending the order to the at least one order receiving device.
  5. 5. An apparatus as claimed in claim 4, wherein the customer input device includes printing means for printing out a copy of the order sent and providing billing information.
  6. 6. An apparatus as claimed in claim 4 or 5, wherein the customer input device includes a swipe slot for use in credit card payments.
  7. 7. An apparatus as claimed in claim 4,5 or 6, wherein the customer input device includes means for inputting customers'details.
  8. 8. An apparatus as claimed in claim 7, wherein the means for inputting customers'details includes means for inputting the number of customers present and for inputting codes for each customer.
  9. 9 An Apparats as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the order receiving device comprises means for receiving and displaying orders received from the customer input devices.
  10. 10. An apparatus as claimed in claim 9 wherein the order receiving device includes printing means for printing out copies of the orders received from the customer input devices.
  11. 11. An apparatus as claimed in claim 9 or 10, wherein the order receiving device includes means for inputting details of items available for ordering and means for sending these details to the customer input devices.
  12. 12. An apparatus as claimed in claim 9,10 or 11, wherein the order receiving device includes means for keeping a stock register and means for inputting changes in stock held.
  13. 13. An apparatus as claimed in claim 12, wherein the means for inputting changes in the stock held includes means for extracting details of the items ordered from orders received from the customer input devices and updating the stock register accordingly.
  14. 14. An apparatus as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the order control apparatus relates to a restaurant, the customer input devices are located on each customer table and two order receiving devices are provided, one for dealing with food orders and the other for dealing with drink orders.
  15. 15. An apparatus as claimed in claim 14, wherein means are provided for communication between the two order receiving devices.
  16. 16. An apparatus as claimed in claim 15, wherein only one of the two order receiving devices comprises means for billing the customers, the other order receiving device sending details of its orders received to the said one order receiving device for this purpose.
  17. 17. An apparatus for order control substantially as described herein with reference to the drawings.
GB9822967A 1998-10-21 1998-10-21 Apparatus for order control Withdrawn GB2343023A (en)

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GB2343023A true GB2343023A (en) 2000-04-26

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EP1065639A2 (en) * 1999-06-08 2001-01-03 Ncr International Inc. Self-service terminal
DE10051813A1 (en) * 2000-10-19 2002-05-08 Bernd Herzmann Device for automatic orders for food and / or beverages
GB2368676A (en) * 2000-03-29 2002-05-08 January Patents Ltd An invoice data processing method and apparatus
WO2002037347A1 (en) * 2000-11-02 2002-05-10 Bestil Let Aps Ordering system, terminal unit, method of ordering and use of an ordering system
EP1267238A1 (en) * 2001-06-14 2002-12-18 Gravindus System for managing customized works
SG99294A1 (en) * 1999-11-19 2003-10-27 Apex Pal Internat Pte Ltd Interactive menu system for restaurants
WO2004066052A2 (en) * 2003-01-17 2004-08-05 Oez Buelent Device for transmitting the orders and wishes of customers in a restaurant
WO2005015463A1 (en) * 2003-08-12 2005-02-17 Niamh Orla O'byrne Improvements in and relating to ordering
GB2410813A (en) * 2004-02-04 2005-08-10 Heath Anthony Clay Interactive multi media touch screen terminal system
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WO2012172364A2 (en) 2011-06-16 2012-12-20 Light Blue Optics Ltd Touch-sensitive display devices
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Cited By (24)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
EP1065639A2 (en) * 1999-06-08 2001-01-03 Ncr International Inc. Self-service terminal
EP1065639A3 (en) * 1999-06-08 2004-01-21 Ncr International Inc. Self-service terminal
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