The impact of COVID-19 on restaurants has been dramatic. Though most regions of the world have reopened, restaurants are still struggling to stay afloat. As of November 2020, the Y-o-Y decline of seated restaurant diners was an astounding 36%.
But as the restrictions ease, restaurants have the opportunity to revive. In the post-COVID-19 era, contactless technologies will play a pivotal role in helping restaurants restart their business.
Let's delve into how restaurants are using contactless technologies, like QR codes and e-payments, to thrive amid COVID-19.
1. Contactless Payments
Contactless payments have been out there way before the onset of the pandemic. Yet, restaurants in most countries continued to rely on cash and cards for the majority of transactions. But with COVID-19 in hindsight, restaurants seem to be adopting contactless payments.
This comes as a response to WHO's warning that COVID-19 could spread through cash and physical cards.
Therefore, contactless payments are not only convenient but also help keep your staff and customers safe. As more customers than ever are prioritizing safety, offering contactless payment methods can help you earn customer trust.
And thanks to QR codes, receiving online payments has become easier than ever. You can generate a QR code to receive payments and put it on every table in your restaurants. Once the customers are finished, they can scan the code and make the payment.
2. Digital Menu Boards
Physical menu boards can increase the risk of transmission. These boards travel from one table to another and come in contact with various customers and waiters. Therefore, eliminating physical menu boards can go a long way in providing safer customer experiences.
Digital menu boards have emerged as an effective alternative. These systems provide real-time insight into menu availability and enable customers to order from the system instead of calling the waiter.
Restaurants can offer mobile apps that provide real-time visibility into their menus. Customers can check the menu and place an order from the app. Restaurants can also integrate in-app payment capabilities to completely eliminate human contact.
3. The Increasing Relevance of QR Codes
As consumers want to avoid touching surfaces, QR codes have emerged as a lifesaver for restaurant businesses. Although QR codes have been out for a while, their role wasn't clear. But now, with touchless becoming the new normal, a custom QR code can help restaurants provide a safe and contactless experience.
Here's how QR codes can enhance the operational efficiency of restaurants amid COVID-19.
Increased convenience for customers and restaurants
Time and money savings
Digital menu boards and payments
Increased hygiene and reduced risk of spread
Enhanced brand awareness and marketing
In all, a QR code generator has emerged as a valuable tool for restaurants. Every restaurant business, especially quick-service restaurants, should implement QR codes to offer a touchless experience.
4. Crew Safety and Food Preparation
The safety of the restaurant crew is equally important. As restaurants reopen, the staff remains at a high risk of COVID-19 transmission.
Restaurants can resolve this hurdle by adopting contactless technology. Having mobile apps for ordering food and making payments helps the restaurant workforce avoid human contact.
Robotics also offers contactless opportunities for restaurants. They can be used in food preparation, delivery, and service. Though robotics hasn't come to the mainstream yet, the rising demand for contactless could be a wake-up call for restaurants.
5. Contactless Food Delivery
Brands like UberEats and GrubHub are working towards providing a safe and contactless food delivery experience. This applies to both pick-up and home delivery.
When customers opt-in for pick-up, the restaurant receives a notification. The restaurants can geo-locate customers to anticipate their time of arrival. When a customer is about to arrive, the restaurant can package the order and make it ready for pick-up. Therefore, any human contact is avoided.
In the case of home delivery, restaurants can allow customers to opt for contactless delivery. The delivery agent can leave the package outside the door and ring the bell to inform the customer. The customer can then collect the parcel once the agent leaves.
Restaurants that don't have the resources to provide home delivery can partner with platforms like UberEats. As these platforms are already offering contactless delivery services, they can easily cater to your customers' requirements.
6. Consumer Marketing
As much as you might love to see new faces in your restaurant, repeat customers are the key to success. According to the National Computer Corporation, 15% of repeat restaurant customers drive more than 30% of restaurant revenue.
Several studies over the past years have shown that restaurant customers tend to be loyal. They prefer sticking to a single restaurant instead of trying a new one every week. Restaurants can cultivate customer loyalty by knowing their customers better.
Contactless systems, like digital menu boards and mobile apps, allow you to collect customer information. You can analyze your customers' eating habits to determine their preferences. You can then utilize this data to tailor your promotions and launch targeted marketing campaigns.
7. Pandemic-Proof Business
Contactless payments, digital menu boards, and QR codes have helped restaurants revive their operations. But they've also been a wake-up call for restaurants. Before the pandemic, the majority of restaurants used physical menu boards and cash payments. Though contactless technology was there, it was being taken for granted.
But with COVID-19 crippling the restaurant industry, restaurant owners have realized that contactless technology is the key to being pandemic-proof.
Even though lockdown restrictions have begun to ease, restaurants will likely operate under strict safety guidelines. During these times, restaurants that have adopted contactless technology will have a clear edge over restaurants that haven't.
The risk of transmission remains intact even after the reopening of restaurants. People are taking essential measures to avoid human contact. This makes it vital for restaurants to leverage contactless technology.
With touchless ordering and payment capabilities, restaurants can provide their customers with safe, healthy, and pleasant experiences. In addition, they can ensure the safety and hygiene of their restaurant crew.
Apoorva Hegde is a Content Marketer in MobStac.