Just one year ago, social distancing wasn’t really a thing.
Restaurants used to be the one place people could totally hang out and have a good time with friends and family.
And it has become a buzzword, right next to the word “ventilator”.
Governments of the world took initiative and created social distancing guidelines for businesses to follow. While social distancing is great for safety reasons, it hurt a lot of businesses that thrive on social gathering.
Amongst the host of businesses that got hit by social distancing, restaurants had it the worst.
A lot of them declared bankruptcy two months into the lockdown and the others barely scraped by. Making any money at all became a really big deal.
If your restaurant is still open, I applaud you.
I’m sure you have had to dramatically change your daily operations in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
Luckily, in this post, I have outlined 5 self-service technologies that would help you do just that.
QR Code Menus
Print menu before and during covid-19:
Before Covid-19: Yay, let’s see what you’ve got for me today.
During Covid-19: Handing me a print menu, are you crazy? Do you want to get me infected?
That scenario pretty much sums up what has become of print menus since the coronavirus pandemic hit. What was once a harmless restaurant item quickly became a potentially dangerous one.
What can I say? I blame the coronavirus.
But there’s something better you can do than blaming – using virtual menus!
Digital menus, readable by QR codes, have stepped in to save the day. This self-service technology simply transforms your print menu into a digital form that can be accessed on your customers’ devices.
They work just like barcodes, just cooler.
All your customers need to do is break out their phones, scan the QR code, and your menu will show up on their screens. Then they can select a meal, pay for it, and have it delivered to them.
The great thing about QR code menus is that customers do not have to install any apps on their phones. And that’s because most modern devices come with a built-in QR code reader.
By the way, you should totally check out this digital menu creator. It helps you create your very own digital restaurant menu, and fully customize it just for your company.
Simply create an account and start uploading your company logo and menu photos. Afterwards, you generate a unique QR code that your customers can use to view your menu. Easy as pie.
Social distancing guidelines advice that people should keep a distance of about 6 feet from other people in public places.
Unfortunately, it can be pretty difficult to order a meal in a restaurant 6 feet away from the counter.
Or even form a line with 6 feet of space between each person. In some restaurants, a line like that would get to the moon.
Thanks to self-service solutions like self-ordering kiosks, customers can view your menu and place orders without ever interacting with your staff.
Self-service kiosks come in a variety of designs, but they usually spot a touch screen and a user-friendly digital interface. They also link directly with your POS. With this, each customer’s order is sent straight to the kitchen for preparation.
To prevent the spread of infection, some kiosks are built to hold disinfecting gels or wipes.
Additionally, there are some recent designs that can integrate with your QR menu. This means that customers can peruse your menu on their mobile devices and pay using kiosks payment platform.
Making payment is a crucial step in the customer journey. While many businesses accepted digital payments, restaurants still made transactions with cash.
Conventionally, customers either had to pay with hard cash or swipe out their credit cards to use the POS.
All that changed, no thanks to the pandemic.
Handing out cash or signing a credit card receipt meant customers would have to interact with restaurant staff. This is no longer acceptable for obvious reasons.
Contactless payment technology digitally bridges this payment gap caused by the current pandemic. With this, customers can make payments without interacting with any restaurant staff.
This self-service technology works wirelessly (hence the term contactless…). It uses radio waves or what is known as near field communication to link the customer with the payment terminal.
As a result there’s zero contact between the customers’ card and the checkout terminal thereby reducing the risk of infection.
Not surprisingly, a survey carried out by MasterCard found that 79% of customers around the world are using one form of contactless payment. The survey showed that contactless transactions had gone up a whopping 40%.
Most customers turned to ordering food online in the wake of Covid-19.
It was a smart move.
The problem is, not everyone is ordering online and some still need to visit the restaurant in person to order or pickup. This puts both the restaurant staff and customers at great risk.
Seeing this problem, smart restaurants have integrated online ordering platforms on their websites. Restaurants have also included a delivery service to help cope with this problem.
You should do the same.
You want to build an online ordering platform, if you haven’t already.
Doing this will help your customers place orders for meals from the safety (and comfort) of their homes. And have their orders delivered to them.
As a result, you’d have zero restaurant visits, zero phone calls needed, and a ton of business for your restaurant.
Reservation Management Platforms
In a similar way to placing an order, a customer can book a reservation at your restaurant. They can simply hop on their phones, find out what tables are free on what dates, and make a reservation.
Here’s the problem:
Not every restaurant has a self-service technology that helps your customer make reservations online. Therefore, customers have to visit in person to make the reservation or get on the waitlist.
This may lead to overcrowding and make it difficult for you to enforce social distancing.
Not a good spot to find yourself amidst a pandemic, don’t you think?
The solution is simple – online reservation management.
With an online reservation management tool, you can efficiently control the foot traffic in your restaurant. You will significantly lower (or even totally eradicate) in-person visits and better manage social distancing.
And so, you may want to consider designing and integrating self-service reservation management technology into your website.
They could take the form of third party apps or a digital waitlist.
You can use this technology to space out your bookings and control sitting times.
Covid-19 has caused the rapid (and massive) adoption of self-service technologies. What was once neglected and considered future tech has now become run-of-the-mill.
It’s safe to say that these technologies aren’t going away anytime soon. Customers will continue to use these digital tools for the foreseeable future.
And so, now is the best time to redesign your business operations around them.
For the moment, they are the safest bet for keeping your staff and customers safe while doing business.POSTED ON August 15, 2020