In such a short amount of time, the COVID-19 outbreak has had such a seismic impact on the restaurant industry.
At first, we saw the cancellation of large gatherings and promotional events. McDonald’s canceled its worldwide convention. The James Beard Foundation postponed its annual awards. And Tim Hortons pulled 81 million cups designed for its annual Roll Up the Rim promotion.
Next came requirements for restaurants to cut seating capacity as a protection against the spread of coronavirus. In New York, restaurants and bars seating 500 people or less had to reduce their capacity by 50 percent.
Then, there was the suspension of all dine-in business, which shut down dining rooms as well as outdoor patios.
However, in the face of so much significant and rapid change many restaurants have adapted their operations to meet the needs of a new normal in dining. With the help of certain technologies these restaurant operators are, while not thriving, at least keeping their lights on and doors open.
Putting Digital Assets on the Front Lines
Restaurant operators need to be proactive with consumers, keeping them informed of any updates via their website and social media channels. As news surrounding COVID-19 is rapidly evolving, it’s essential to use these valuable forms of digital real estate to put your customers’ minds at ease.
Where relevant, operators should provide information about safety measures, cleaning and sanitization processes, and operational changes being put in place to mitigate virus transmission. But be sure to also avoid coming off as being alarmist in nature.
During this critical time, customers are looking for information. Using digital platforms as a way to keep them as up-to-date as possible provides them with the information they need, while also displaying the type of transparency and honesty that today’s connected consumers seek from brands.
Being Vigilant and Well-Informed
Stay on top of search and traffic numbers to help forecast the impact of COVID-19 on restaurant sales. Be sure to arm your customer service and social media teams with your policies. And be vigilant with social listening, so that you can immediately mitigate concerns that customers may have surrounding any developments around the novel coronavirus, or adjust your operations to be able to adapt to any changes.
For instance, in response to a growing need for groceries, many restaurants have added the option for customers to purchase grocery items. Panera Bread, for example, has given their customers the ability to purchase grocery items such as milk, bread, yogurt, and fresh produce.
Implementing Touchless Payment Solutions
Conventional payment methods using cash and plastic credit cards are a petri dish of germs and potentially contagious agents. According to Fact Monster, a $1 bill remains in circulation for 18 months. Imagine the number of hands that just a $1 bill will go through during its life. Additionally, credit cards were discovered to be dirtier than public restrooms and subway poles.
Now, in the minds of germ-conscious consumers who (after emerging from the COVID-19 crisis) will be better informed about contagion, the rapid spread of bacteria (and viruses) through the handling of conventional forms of currency is a clear concern.
By implementing contactless, digital payments systems, restaurant operators can lessen the use of high-touch cash and credit cards, reducing the spread of germs and helping to keep both customers and staff safe. Operators that don’t embrace a touchless payment environment will find themselves behind the operations-technology curve.
Creating Entirely Contactless Curbside Takeout
In response to dining rooms being shut in order to slow the spread of coronavirus, many restaurants have transitioned their operations to be able to offer takeout. Restaurant operators can enhance their takeout processes, as well safety measures, even more by using technology that makes it completely touchless — from ordering to payment to hand-off.
At OneDine, we can help you achieve this. Whether or not your restaurant has a parking lot, in as little as 24 hours, we can turn your business into a touchless order, tap and pay, and pick-up venue. Our technology allows customers to:
- Use their mobile phones to place a pre-order or scan a QR code on a standing sign near your restaurant to place their order
- Seamlessly pay for their orders right from their phones
- Have their orders delivered directly to their cars
As well as making it easy for your customers to place, pay for, and receive their orders, our solution makes their experience completely touch-free, helping to keep both your customers and your employees safe.
Plus, to further help our restaurant families weather the COVID-19 storm, we’re offering our solution with:
✅ NO cost for set-up
✅ NO contracts
✅ NO commitments
From giving restaurants the ability to effectively communicate with customers to forecasting future developments to enhancing safety measures, solutions are available to help restaurants ease the concerns of customers during the COVID-19 pandemic and keep their doors open during this crisis.And if you’re interested in deploying OneDine’s completely touchless takeout system for free, please reach out to us today.