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Courses and guest index

Attribute each order to a course and seat number

Kevin avatar
Written by Kevin
Updated over a week ago

Note: You must be using Abacus 2.8 or newer in order to use this feature.

In this article:

  • About

  • Set up courses

  • Notify kitchen to send courses

  • Set up guest index

  • Ordering


Abacus lets you organise your dockets by course, and by seat number/guest index. This is called "Course Organisation" (Setting A36.). By default, there is no course organisation, but you can organise by course and by guest index.

Organise by course

This means you'll send a production docket (A) with your table's whole order organised into courses (entrée, main, dessert - whatever you choose). You can set default courses for each product, or you can select them manually.

You can also create a note (B) to notify the kitchen that the table is ready for the next course.

Organise by guest index

This means your runners/wait staff will know to which seat each order goes.

If you're using a guest index, you need to think about each seat as a number. You should also be using a Table Map. One model that might work for you is to think of the seat closest to the front door as "seat 1", and the seat to the right of it is "seat 2", and so on.

In this example, the waiter will know that the guest in seat 1 (guest index @1) has ordered the tart and lamb, the guest in seat 2 (@2) will have fritters and fish, and the guest in seat 3 (@3) will have the platter and fish.

First, you will need to set up courses, then decide whether or not you want a guest index.

Note: You cannot set up a guest index without courses

Set up courses

You decide what your courses will be, whether that's entrée/main/dessert, or something completely different.

  1. On the backend, go to POS Settings > Course Settings.

2. Click Add New Course, and enter the name of your first course.

3. Repeat for all of your courses.

Drag and Drop each course to rearrange them.

4. (Optional) When you put through an order on the POS, you'll be able to select each course for each product, but you can also set a "default course" for any product so it's automatically selected.

To do this, go to the Product Details > Advanced tab and select the course under Default Course.

5. On the POS, go to your Sync Settings and press Sync next to Sync Course Settings. If you have also set a default course for your products, you must also Sync All Products.

6. Next, you'll need to decide if you want to create notes for the kitchen to notify them when to send each course out. Continue to the next section if you do, otherwise skip to Guest Index.

Notify kitchen to send courses

If you want to call the kitchen to "take mains away", or to "fire mains", you'll need to create a note in your menu, then add it to the order.

  1. Go to your POS Menu and add an item.

2. Go to the Note tab, enter the note text (e.g. "Mains away"), select your Printer Location, and click Save.

3. Publish the menu.

4. Sync your products and menu on the POS.

(Psssssst, we also have a tutorial for this! Sign in to, then click here to launch our tutorial!)

It will appear on your Menu, so that you can send a note to the kitchen later on when you're taking care of an order.

Now, you need to decide whether you also want to use a Guest Index. If you do, continue to the next section. Otherwise, skip to Ordering.

Set up Guest Index

The guest index is mostly set up through the POS, as it depends on how you use the table map. However, you'll need to edit your Printing Template so each guest index (@1, @2, etc.) actually appears on the production docket.

  1. Edit the Order Docket. You'll need to repeat this for each of your order dockets.

3. Insert the placeholder [item_guest_index] like so:

Your template may vary, but [item_guest_index] should be somewhere between [item_print_name] and [item_extras_print_name] so the guest index (@1) appears after the product name, but before the extras/product variants.

4. Save the receipt template. Repeat for the other dockets.
5. Sync receipt templates on the POS

Now, move on to Ordering.


  1. On your POS, go to the Settings and find A36. Course Organisation.

  • Select COURSE ONLY if you only want to use courses, with no guest index.

  • Select COURSE AND GUEST if you want to use the guest index. Courses will only appear if you have made them in the backend.

2. If you are using a Table Map, select your table and start an order. Otherwise, go straight to your Point of Sale screen.
Note: If you start an order without selecting a table, then later select a table, you will need to start your order again.

3. The Point of Sale screen will look a little different, based on whether you've followed the instructions above to set up courses or to set up guest indexing (or both).

  • Guest Index: The guest number you have input on the Table Map will be reflected in guest index buttons at the top of the order. Your selected guest will be highlighted yellow. Seat/guest 1 will be selected by default.

  • Courses: The Courses you have created on the backend will appear as buttons at the top of the order. No course can be selected until you start your order.

3. Start taking the order

  • Guest index: Take the whole order for your first guest. Tap the next circle (2) or press NEXT GUEST to proceed to the next guest's order. If you have the last guest selected, pressing NEXT GUEST will create a new guest number. The colour of the circle represents whether the order has been taken.

  • Courses: Each time you add an item to the order, select what course it belongs to, and a blue label will appear under the ordered item. Your selected course will be yellow.

    If you have already set a default course for your products on the backend, it will be selected automatically. If you don't select a course, the course will appear under a heading called "Other" on your docket.

4. Review your order and make changes if necessary.

  • Courses: Select any item on an order to change what course it falls under. You can change its course by pressing a different course button.

  • Guest index: Press VIEW ALL so you can have a full overview of your whole table's order. Select each Seat heading (e.g. Seat 1) to add anything to a specific guest's order. You can also scroll to the bottom of your order to add any items to be Shared, i.e. not belonging to a particular seat number

(Press VIEW SEATS to revert back to the previous view)

5. Press Send. The docket will print out in a format based on your setup.

6. (OPTIONAL) Press the menu button you made to notify your staff to send the next course out or take it away.

7. When finalising the order, you can split payment by seat (if using Guest Index).

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