“Contactless” is the new comfort: How touchless technology keeps restaurant brands connected to customers

Published September 2, 2020

The comfort of your restaurant customers has always been a top priority. But now you have to consider things you didn’t have to before: How many of your customers feel comfortable dining in a closed space indoors? How important is it for you to have outdoor seating? How far apart do your customers really need to be to relax and enjoy their experience? Do most of your customers still only feel comfortable with take out, delivery or curbside service?

It’s a lot to think about. One way you can start to make everyone feel safer in your restaurants—whether you’re a small business restaurant with one or two locations or a mid-market brand with 50 or more—is to introduce contactless experiences for customers.

But, first, what is “contactless” in terms of the restaurant experience?

 

What contactless means for restaurants

Contactless restaurant experiences are those that don’t require a customer or employee to touch a shared surface or come into close contact, helping to limit the transmission of germs and viruses.

Creating a contactless or low-contact restaurant environment means thinking through all of the things your customers and staff touch and interact with, from physical menus and silverware to door handles and the payment device. It also means looking at how close your staff and guests need to be to effectively interact.

Contactless technology helps eliminate those potential transmission points. This allows restaurants to remove any potential friction or hesitations the guest may have and instead focus on providing great food and service. 

 

What does contactless mean for the guest experience?

Before the pandemic, brands had to be strategic in the ways they served their guests, whether on premise or off—but they didn’t have to focus on the minutia of the order experience, such as the constant touching of menus, the back-and-forth handling of payment cards or how much distance was between staff and guests.

Now, guests expect brands to focus on their health and safety too.

The good news is contactless solutions give restaurants a way to help reduce their guests’ potential exposure to the coronavirus. The technology enables guests to see a menu, place an order and pay from their personal mobile device. Other solutions enable restaurants to integrate off-premise online ordering into their operations, provide mobile order-ahead for curbside pickup via apps and more.

 

Contactless = comfort for customers

But, wait. Doesn’t “contactless” contradict what restaurants stand for? Aren’t restaurants built on being high-touch businesses? It’s a good question, because engaging with customers and providing memorable service and experiences has traditionally meant staying in constant contact with them, making sure every aspect of their time in your restaurants is satisfactory.

But while the word “contactless” at first seems at odds with the restaurant guest experience, contactless technology helps you serve them safely, in a way they increasingly prefer.

So, while the term may feel counterintuitive to an industry literally defined by hospitality, using contactless technology can actually deliver an experience that ultimately improves customer comfort. It’s what hospitality feels like today.

 

Contactless brings comfort not only to your guests – but your staff, too.

Keeping staff safe and minimizing contact across locations is top of mind for restaurant brands everywhere. By offering guests the ability to see menus, order and pay on their own device, you can reduce the stress of your staff—while increasing speed of service, both in faster order throughput and increased table turns.

It makes your operations more efficient, which is easier on your staff. And with your employees’ anxiety reduced, they can then concentrate on other aspects of their jobs, including making guests feel comfortable and welcome. 

 

Use contactless to improve the overall experience not only today – but in the future.

As restaurant brands continue to make operational adjustments, take the opportunity to re-imagine how contactless technology can enhance your guest experience as well as drive greater speed in your operations.

By implementing contactless, you’re giving guests more control of their experience, helping them choose the path that meets their comfort level best, contributing to a happy and satisfied customer.

Because at the core, the restaurant industry is about making guests feel comfortable and cared for—the definition of hospitality. And now you’ll be using contactless technology not only to facilitate this new kind of hospitality, but enhance it. By adding more choice, showing concern for your customers’ safety and comfort, and getting creative with other ways to engage, you’re giving your brand the opportunity to improve the overall experience for your customers, now and in the future. 

Need more information?