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How contactless food is changing restaurants

Published November 9, 2020

Contactless food delivery is reshaping the restaurant industry: What you need to do to keep up

More than nine months into a global pandemic, restaurants around the world are still making adjustments to stay in business while providing excellent customer service. And they can put contactless delivery near the top of what most restaurants—if they didn’t have it already—had to add to their operations, and that’s not poised to change anytime soon. In fact, even when the pandemic ends restaurants are likely to keep delivery services to increase their revenue and give their customers the service they’ve come to expect.


Meeting the contactless food delivery demands, first what’s new?

A lot can change in a few months. While initially having to come up with on-the-fly solutions, some restaurants are making big changes. For example, ghost kitchens and virtual eateries, which were already trending before the pandemic, are helping many restaurants stay in business.

For example, as reported by The Washington Post, when the pandemic hit BBQ Holdings, located in New York City, turned its four brands—one of them, Famous Dave’s with 125 locations—into ghost kitchens or restaurants without dining rooms. So, by simply  opening their kitchens, employees can meet burgeoning online and delivery requests and BBQ Holdings can keep their business going.


The four basics that restaurants still need to do to meet delivery demands

1. Give your customers a way to let you know that they don’t want contact

You can add a contactless delivery option to your app enabling pre-pay, doorstep delivery and curbside pickup and provide a place for your customers to add delivery instructions in the app or online. It’s a convenient and reliable way for you to communicate with your customers to find out how they want to order, pay and receive their food. Safety is a top concern, but so is ease, convenience and speed.

Four tips for making contactless delivery work for your restaurant
1. Give customers a way to tell you they don’t want contact. Add a contactless delivery option or a space for delivery instructions to your app or ordering site.
2. Pivot to mobile payments. Stop taking cash as a payment option to avoid hand-to-hand contact.
3. Thoroughly disinfect all food delivery packaging. Sanitize your surfaces and POS terminals, and double-seal your orders in disinfected packaging.
4. Use social media to promote your contactless services. Consider using short videos, too, to explain how your contactless options work.

2. Make a pivot to mobile payments and up your flexibility

While not every restaurant is doing it, you can stop taking cash as a payment to avoid hand-to-hand

contact and avoid spreading any germs that may be lingering on paper bills and coins. Contactless payments were already something your customers wanted and fortunately there are many to choose from. From mobile payment like Apple Pay and Google Pay to your own ordering and payment app to third-party apps like Grubhub and Uber Eats, there are many ways your customers can easily view your menu, place their orders, pay and receive their food and drink without having any physical contact with anyone in your business. Also, by using them you give your customers more ordering, pay and delivery flexibility and that goes for you and your staff as well, something every restaurant needs especially now. Discover how Chipotle Europe modernized its mobile experience by integrating a new customizable solution that met the needs of younger demographics, driving customer growth and loyalty. 


3. Remember safety first: Thoroughly disinfect all food delivery packaging

As the pandemic continues with spikes occurring around the world, your first priority has to be safety for your customers and your staff. Sanitize your surfaces and POS terminals, and seal your orders in clean, disinfected packaging that’s double-sealed. Consider adding a flyer or sticker thanking your customers for their support and reassuring them you’ve taken extra safety precautions with their order. It may also be worth adding a coupon to encourage further orders and providing your social media handles for future updates and offers.


4. Drive your contactless delivery business through social media

Use your free social media platforms to let your customers know that you have contactless food delivery. It’s a great way to promote your restaurant’s safety, generate business and promote your brand. For example, Yum China –– which operates nearly 9,000 Pizza Hut, KFC and other restaurants in the world's second-largest economy –– used short, informational videos to promote safe contactless delivery options on social media platforms WeChat and Weibo.

Speaking of promoting your brand, contactless food delivery presents a lot of new opportunities to do it. It’s actually an interesting paradox—while your customers are being forced inside, the massive uptick in delivery is forcing your brand to go outside.

So, while promoting your brand before mainly came down to the dine-in experience, your website and social media platforms, now the whole community is kind of your branding oyster. From packaging and menu changes to new touches like adding personal notes, you have ample new opportunities to promote your brand. And the creative thinking you use to generate new ideas may prompt you to retool it. Get more food delivery branding advise from Grubhub.


Here’s how restaurants around the world are implementing contactless payment and delivery

As the pandemic continues to disrupt the restaurant industry, there are ample ways to adapt so you can keep growing your business. From contactless offerings to promoting your brand through social media, there are plenty of ways you can meet your customers' demands.

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