Ever since the pandemic started last March, restaurants have been treading water to continue to operate. First lockdown measures required that they close their doors, then social distancing requirements made them upend their indoor dining policies.
To make their service work, many implemented contactless technology and took their dining outdoors, creating patio spaces, covered rooms, and to-go windows.
But now a new factor is affecting this billion-dollar industry: weather. The onset of winter and its cold temperatures have thwarted even the most intense outdoor heaters leaving restaurants to make the ultimate decision: stay open or suspend on-premise dining for the season.
For those businesses operating north of the Mason/Dixon line where snow is inevitable and below-freezing temps are a given, the restaurant business forecast looks awfully chilly, but not without some warm possibilities.
Restaurants have done an incredible job of pivoting during this global pandemic. Practically overnight, thousands of eateries developed online ordering solutions, added curbside pickup options, and changed their menus to accommodate casual takeout.
And in anticipation of changing weather and as the temperatures dipped in the fall, many instituted new dining alternatives so that guests could still socially distance themselves while they dine in-person. Some of these scenarios looked like seating around outdoor fires. Others put up huge tents, typically more familiar at weddings than urban restaurants.
Now many are realizing the importance of contactless dining solutions which will be central to their businesses moving forward into 2021.
Instead of Hibernating
As reported by Eater.com, many restaurants have decided to “hibernate” or close for a short amount of time, to weather the winter. The food website describes it this way: “Restaurants will close to the public entirely, ceasing as much of its operations as possible to keep the business in a sort of stasis, spending only what is necessary to continue to exist (i.e., rent, mostly).”
As you can imagine, this might staunch the cashflow bleeding but it also comes with all sorts of ramifications for the business and its staff.
So rather than layoff employees and lock their doors, some have decided to invest in digital solutions instead to keep their kitchens open and their customers happy.
One way to pay the rent while nearly eliminating all staff is to do online ordering only from a brick-and-mortar. Many restaurants have shifted to this plan as a sort of pseudo-hibernation. The restaurant doesn’t allow any onsite dining, but you can still get your favorite menu items to go.
And one simple way to make this strategy work is to use a partner like OneDine. The online ordering and contactless payment solution provider help swiftly and easily set up digital ordering so that businesses can keep operating even amidst one of the worst eras in restaurant history.
How does OneDine Work?
With OneDine’s technology, guests can view a menu, order, and pay directly from their device, avoiding any POS contact — plus there’s no waiting on a server to bring the bill.
But OneDine is even better for restaurant staffers. The system easily integrates with existing restaurant software and POS systems so you can be up and running quickly.
Boon to Business
If there’s one thing restaurants could use right now it’s an insight into how their business is faring. Who is ordering what and when? How can they improve operations? Or lower costs?
OneDine’s efficient system gives restaurant owners the critical data they need right now to keep their businesses going, such as labor-saving technologies that can help improve cost savings. Not to mention the fact that OneDine enables businesses to generate customized messaging to guests’ mobile devices based on their unique dining profiles. It’s that kind of personalization a restaurant likely can’t manage on its own, but with OneDine it’s easy.
Evolves with Your Business
Perhaps most importantly, OneDine can evolve with your business, easily shifting from off-premise solutions back to in-person dining when you decide the time is right.
Guests can enjoy the ease of shifting from ordering their favorite menu items online to paying directly from the table once you’ve welcomed them back into your dining room.
And you can reward them for their loyalty through direct engagement with your own loyalty program — a valuable perk to those customers who have gotten you through the chilly months.
Best of all, OneDine is easy to get started, effortlessly syncing with most POS systems to make setup simple and fast. The ultimate solution for navigating the first months of 2021, it’s a restaurant’s best bet for a smooth new year.
Considering the difficult choice between operating and hibernating? Give OneDine a look. It might be the key to a better 2021.