You need restaurant technology to fight COVID-19.
No sector of the economy has been hit harder by the COVID-19 pandemic than the hospitality industry.
And the only businesses that can hope to survive and prosper in the “new normal” will be those that make the fullest possible use of restaurant technology to rebuild the confidence of both customers and staff.
Fortunately, technological solutions are evolving rapidly in response to the threat, and businesses now have more tools at their disposal than ever before.
These are five of our favorites pieces of restaurant technology to fight COVID-19.
Online ordering was becoming increasingly popular even before the pandemic struck. And for obvious reasons, it’s now more crucial than ever to offer customers this option.
Curbside pick-up and home delivery services clearly depend on the online offer. But even outlets that are now open to full in-house service need to look carefully at the possibilities.
Traditional menus being touched by dozens of different hands in the course of a session present an obvious risk of infection.
Single-use or disposable versions are an expensive alternative for larger outlets, and old-fashioned chalkboards are often impractical for those that offer numerous menu items and a long wine or beer list.
Enabling customers to order through your website or app – even from their table – is one solution. But customers who patronize a number of different establishments may be reluctant to download yet another app to their overloaded cell phones.
The answer is the new touchless menus that you can send to customers’ devices immediately upon their reservation, and which requires no download.
Not only does this speed up table turns – especially important when operating on limited capacity. It also allows you to display and brand your food and drink offers to best effect.
COVID-19 has also accelerated the existing trend towards contactless payments.
Customers will increasingly demand the facility to use contactless cards and mobile wallets such as Apple and Google Pay; and businesses that do not adopt these technologies will likely suffer in consequence.
Fortunately, today’s restaurant POS systems make contactless very simple to facilitate and numerous integrations with popular payment methods are available.
Curbside pickup and home delivery offers have been a lifeline for many businesses during the pandemic. And it seems probable that many customers will continue to use them even as their favorite restaurants reopen for in-house services.
But these services also bring new health and safety challenges. Food is not delivered immediately to the table but instead packed and bagged to await collection by the customer or driver.
It will unavoidably pass through more pairs of hands and there will also be questions about its safe storage at the necessary temperature.
Fortunately, technology now allows for secure locker or kiosk systems that allow for the hygienic and secure storage of customers’ orders until collection. The system will also record the temperature of storage, the time the food was stored and the time it was picked up.
Restaurant POS systems have of course been around for many years. But they’ve never been more important than today.
Businesses already surviving on the slenderest of margins now face the prospect of trying to operate profitably at half capacity or less. And in these circumstances, the extra productivity offered by the very best POS systems is absolutely vital.
A good system will maximize your covers by speeding table turns and enable you to manage sessions with the minimum possible number of staff.
In the new normal of vanishing margins, it’s more than ever important to retain existing customers and motivate new ones to return.
Customer loyalty programs are a proven method of success.
And with modern POS systems it’s never been easier to set up an online loyalty and gift card program. You can then reward your best customers with digital gift cards instead of potentially risky physical ones, and allow them to earn and redeem loyalty points in an entirely contactless way.
In summary, while COVID-19 has been undoubtedly been a commercial disaster, it has also accelerated existing trends that were already presenting dynamic businesses with great opportunities.
We hope you agree that it’s important to use restaurant technology to fight COVID-19.