Published August 7, 2020
Today, keeping your restaurant operations as contactless as possible is a must—it goes a long way to making consumers (and employees) feel safer, while giving your guests the confidence to return. But it isn’t always easy or profitable to do. Below are some tips for bringing contactless experiences to your restaurant.
But first: what does “contactless” actually mean for the restaurant industry?
"Contactless” or “touchless” means any part of the dining experience that previously required guests and employees to touch shared surfaces or closely interact—that now does not require that kind of contact, either through technology or a change in layout or operation.
It means everything from instituting digital ordering and payment to removing or reducing shared surfaces and objects, including screens and devices, physical menus, silverware, salt and pepper shakers, chairs, door handles and so on.
There are several different areas of your operation to consider when thinking through your contactless strategy, from the ordering experience all the way to the end transaction.
Previously, guest after guest would handle shared menus, which were cleaned either at the beginning or the end of the day or shift. Now, it’s critical to disinfect between every guest. One solution is to create disposable paper menus that double as a placemat and are discarded after single use. Another solution is to introduce digital menus: guests scan a QR code that loads the menu on their own device. You can also use digital or print signage at the table to display the menu without guests having to touch it to navigate.
With online and mobile ordering, you can put the power of ordering in your guests’ hands, from their own device. This could mean enabling your customers to place their order online or through an app for takeout or delivery. You can also add contactless to the dine-in experience with contactless mobile ordering at the table – so guests can see the menu, order their meal and pay all from their phone. This limits the amount of physical interactions in the ordering and payment experience, while increasing table turns and enabling staff to focus on delivering a safe and enjoyable dining experience.
Related: 3 things to consider when implementing online ordering into your operations
Contactless payment options are just as useful in making sure your guests and staff stay safe. “Contactless” or “touchless” payment means using mobile technology that allows information to be transmitted over short distances (as with NFC) without making physical contact. When you implement a mobile payment strategy, your customers can pay without handing their card over—this could mean simply waving their phone or NFC card over the payment device, or implementing mobile payment so guests can pay right from their mobile phone. This extra precaution will help them feel more comfortable, as they don’t need to come into contact with the card reader and no one needs to handle their card or cash. Check out things to consider when adding mobile payment into the dining experience.
Related: How to add mobile payment to your dining experience
Thinking about ways to introduce contactless into your restaurant experience? Click here to learn more about the different technology that can help you with that.
Restaurants are serving people who are more digitally enabled than ever before. So customers expect digital food ordering choices and on-demand options, compelling incentives and services that cater to their lifestyle.
As a result, we are seeing restaurants trying to reclaim their own unique customer base, engaging them on a personal level and appealing to that core demographic of customers who represent their highest value audience.
Loyalty is a great way to do this because it gives the restaurant the ability to identify those customers and communicate with them directly, in a way that makes them feel appreciated and special. They can re-establish a direct connection through communication channels and learn what will keep them coming back—instead of going to a competitor.