The impact of the COVID-19 shutdowns and the quarantine in general on the restaurant industry cannot be overstated. The way restaurants do business, whether food truck, QSR, fast casual, or fine dining, fundamentally changed overnight, and those changes are not going away any time soon.
As a matter of fact, many of the service model changes implemented as a result of COVID restrictions have resulted in increased conveniences that customers have now become accustomed to. When all is said and done, and COVID is finally in the rearview mirror of history, guests are going to continue to expect these newfound conveniences—not just from limited service outlets, but from full-service restaurants as well.
Here’s what you need to know about customers’ tech expectations for full-service restaurants going forward.
Is it safe yet?
One thing that all restaurants need to keep in mind is that customers’ trepidation over leaving the house and bringing their families into rooms filled with other people is not just going to disappear overnight.
Much of the public is going to remain wary of dining out for some time to come, so it’s going to be important to continue to offer the options of delivery, takeout, and curbside pick up.
In fact, as mentioned above, even after the fear of public gatherings has subsided, customers are still going to remember the convenience of placing an order at their favorite eatery and picking it up or having it delivered to enjoy with their families at home.
Restaurants that continue to offer that service model are going to have an advantage over those which assume all guests will prefer the dining room experience.
Solutions like OneDine’s parking lot order and pay technology allow guests to drive up, order, and pay right from your parking lot by scanning QR codes on installed signs. It’s convenient, easy to use, and ideal for the new normal of contactless service.
Efficiency and convenience
Touchscreens are everywhere these days. From the smartwatch on your wrist, to the phone in your customer’s pocket, they make getting things done faster and more intuitive, and that’s a very good thing when you’re trying to get through that lunch rush.
Mobile online ordering, menu browsing, and contactless payment systems that have been implemented to provide safer, contact-free service during COVID can still help speed up order processing for your wait staff even after life has returned to “normal.” The result is lower wait times for customers, quicker table turnaround for you, and a more efficient use of resources in general.
OneDine’s solutions put your customers’ dining experiences in their own hands, allowing them to use their own mobile device to check-in, order, and pay, all at the table and on their own schedule.
Add a kitchen display system (KDS) to keep things moving efficiently in the back of the house, and the overall efficiency of your operation, from check-in to payment, can be increased tremendously.
Consumers are now arguably more aware of sanitary procedures than they’ve ever been, and their diligence is not likely to go away. You know how Great Depression survivors saved every paper clip and shopping bag for the rest of their lives, because you never know when you might need it? Those of us who experienced the COVID pandemic will no doubt always be at least partially on the lookout for unsanitary conditions when we dine out.
Tech solutions like the latest hand scanning technology that can identify viruses and bacteria on associates’ hands, before the microbes are transferred to the food they’re handling, will likely stay post-COVID. The same is true of the new, increased diligence in the sanitation of facilities.
Convenience is here to stay
Though many of these tech implementations started as necessities to keep us all safe from the contagion of COVID-19, contactless service, delivery, and pick-up are not without advantages that can continue to positively impact your bottom line as well as your ability to more quickly make your comeback when the closures and restrictions of quarantine have finally gone.
The fact is that many of the measures taken to achieve contactless service are just plain convenient, and taking that convenience away from guests isn’t a smart business move.
Making the investment now in these technologies is not just a solution for the moment. By eliminating lines and optimizing labor efficiencies, you can serve close to the same guest count during post-COVID restrictions (even with increased distancing) with less staff.
That means you stay profitable. It’s a solution that will allow you to streamline your service model, and the result will be a fundamentally altered customer journey that’s safer, easier, and makes for more efficient use of everyone’s valuable time.
Learn more here.