During the pandemic restaurant operators have had to up their technology game, whether by launching apps, beefing up online ordering, or introducing contactless payment options.
The National Restaurant Association in their report, Reopening Guidance, recommends that you make technology your friend: “Contactless payment systems, automated ordering systems, mobile ordering apps, website updates and simple texts can help you to communicate and conduct business with reduced need for close contact. As you begin to reopen, keep communicating with customers (your hours, menu items, reservations, etc.), and help promote your social distancing and safety efforts.”
Here are some tech solutions you’ll want to keep on board when you’re planning to reopen:
Contactless payment systems, pre-ordering and mobile ordering
Talk to your POS provider for more solutions to help you go completely contactless without losing contact.
Use texts to diners to let them know their table is ready to eliminate lineups and encourage pre-payments where possible.
Other tech hacks are set to change and improve the dining experience, to help operators pivot from takeout back to dine-in and to help reassure guests that dining-in is a safe experience.
Registry and contact tracing
“To restore economic growth and jobs, public healthcare experts are wrestling with how best to transition bars and restaurants from takeout to dine-in and how to reintroduce the public to gathering safely in public spaces as stay-at-home orders are relaxed,” said Alberio Bathory-Frota, CEO of Patronscan, a worldwide I.D. scanning firm.
Patronscan has developed an electronic guest registry that measures occupancy levels and makes contact tracing faster and safer. New Zealand already requires the hospitality industry to register all guests, and some states in the US have already introduced similar services. If a guest or employee contracts COVID-19, healthcare providers are able to use the information from the registry to notify staff and customers of their need to be tested. These heightened measures will help create a safe dining experience for everyone.
Get friendly with QR codes
Suddenly, they’re everywhere — those “interesting” barcodes so common in grocery stores. Now they’re finding a new home in restaurants concerned with contact during the pandemic. Operators are placing them at host/hostess stands and outside the restaurant’s front door where diners can call up menus on their phones. QR codes also allow guests to order and pre-pay using their phones — another way to avoid unnecessary contact.
New POS solutions
More than ever, operators will need to consider all the POS hardware, menu and ordering iPads, and other types of tech used daily in the restaurant. Many of these surfaces, used by both staff and guests, are plastic, and may allow germs to survive for an extended period of time. Before reopening, you’ll want to research new solutions, such as anti-microbial POS screens, to keep germs at bay. What about voice-ordering technology? If Amazon, Google and Apple can do it (“Hey, Alexa!”), can this technology be so far-fetched?