COVID-19 has undoubtedly thrown restaurant owners for a loop in 2020, causing many to experience heavy financial losses and even forcing some establishments to permanently close. Those who continue to tread water have had to adapt to the new normal in order to keep their livelihoods afloat. As restrictions have gradually lifted, restaurant patrons have had to rework their dining experience with safety as the top priority, implementing numerous health and safety practices—limited capacity, mask-wearing, and advanced sanitation, to name a few.
Aside from the traditional practices to ensure safety from a global virus, business owners across the country have adopted new restaurant technologies that not only ensure safety but boost efficiency and growth in unprecedented times. These tech-savvy trends aren’t going anywhere—83% of C-level executives feel that retail and dining will be changed forever by the pandemic.
Below are smart restaurant technologies restaurant owners should establish in order to stay ahead of COVID-19 during the coming months:
Online Ordering & Online Presence
Online ordering was gaining traction before the pandemic, and with the mandatory capacity limits in most restaurants, ordering online is more popular than ever. Not only do customers love the convenience of having their favorite restaurant’s food available to enjoy in their own home, but those whose business you might have lost due to virus anxiety can also safely remain frequent customers by limiting the need for face-to-face interaction. Online ordering is in short, an essential restaurant technology.
It isn’t enough just to have an online ordering system, however; you must ensure that online ordering is simple and easy, not only for customers but for employees as well. Your online ordering platform is a worthy investment because even as dining-in resumes as normal, your customers will still appreciate the convenience of checking online for menu items and prices.
With everyone social distancing, many are spending more time on their phones and computers; take this opportunity to create or expand your social media presence. Utilize social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to create brand awareness and catch the eye of potential customers. You can also take this as an opportunity to let everyone know that you’re open and inform them on what measures you’re taking to keep them safe. This will promote customer loyalty as well as draw reluctant customers in.
Mobile Point of Sale
Although summer has come to an end, many restaurants are still offering outdoor seating arrangements well into the fall months. In order to maximize efficiency and customer satisfaction, mobile point of sale is a restaurant technology that you don’t want to miss out on this season. Unlike the traditional, stationary POS systems, a mobile POS can be carried with you throughout your business to save you time and energy.
An added benefit of implementing this technology during a global pandemic is that it limits the travel of payment cards. Traditionally, when a customer pays, their credit/debit card is taken by the server across the restaurant to be processed. With a mobile POS, this transaction could become contactless; the card would never leave the customer’s hands.
Other benefits of mobile POS include:
- Speed of Service: Taking orders tableside streamlines the process and improves table turnover
- Increased Sales: Can be used to compliment outdoor seating and/or remote sales, allowing you to maximize profits
- Improved Customer Service: Staff can easily check prices, specials, inventory, and provide customers with a speedy check-out
Contactless, Mobile, and Pay-at-Table Technology
Restaurants should strive to offer alternate payment options in order to reduce direct contact among customers and staff. While paying in cash has become less and less common, it remains the preferred form of payment for many. What some might forget, however, is the high possibility for cash to transfer germs—and even viruses—from one person to another. Fall is just the beginning of flu season, and with COVID-19 still at the forefront of everyone’s mind, dining safety is still a concern, even among the lifting restrictions.
As mentioned earlier, restaurants can utilize mobile POS to process payments tableside. However, use of a card still poses some risk. With the establishment of contactless payment technologies such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, customers can easily pay with their smartphones. On the rise pre-COVID, it would be a good idea for restaurants to adopt contactless payments such as e-wallets not only for health and safety, but for customer convenience. It’s 2020, after all, customers will expect your establishment to be up to date on the latest restaurant technology.
No one could have predicted that COVID-19 would rear its ugly head in 2020, a year that ironically suggested clear vision. Restaurateurs must be adaptable, however, and what restaurant owners do next could mean the success or failure of their business. Investing in restaurant technologies like contactless payments, mobile POS, and establishing an online presence will not only keep your restaurant safe during a global pandemic, it will maximize opportunities to generate revenue in these uncertain times.
If one thing is certain, however, it’s that technology is driving the modern dining experience. These tech-savvy trends will only increase in relevancy as time goes on and will continue to benefit your business during COVID-19 and beyond. NCC provides solutions to new problems so restaurants can rise and meet the new challenges of today with COVID-19. Contact us now so we can help get your business back on track.