As restaurants across the country continue to reopen under specific state-mandated health and safety guidelines, it is vital that restaurant brands leverage contactless technology and procedures to maximize operating efficiency, generate revenue and ensure employee and customer safety, at lower capacities. With an increase in expenses from employees to produce, and a decrease in regular customer traffic, restaurants need to take serious measures to adjust day-to-day operations and long-term business models to optimize sales amid these current limitations. Below are a number of tactic that operators can use to guide operational strategies as they navigate the road ahead.
Ordering & Payments
The opportunity today is for operators to leverage technology and supplemental resources to create a seamless ordering and payment experience that minimizes contact and cultivates consumer confidence.
With a continued emphasis on social distance, QSR and fast-casual restaurants have been working to accommodate any and all ordering and payment scenarios in a minimal contact manner, such as: delivery orders, order ahead for curbside pickup or in-store pickup, in-store orders, and more. While in-store traffic will likely be slower to increase as capacity guidelines are lifted, there is still plenty of opportunity to drive digital traffic, leveraging technology to meet consumer safety expectations and fulfill all operational needs.
Investments in a truly contactless ordering and payment technology, which encourages customers to use their own mobile devices, will be beneficial in order to promote customer and employee safety now and in the future. In lieu of this, brands must offer central table-by-table tablet devices to create a voice activated ordering experience and one-tap payment experience to minimize contact, limiting the contact from signing a receipt, picking up a hard copy of the menu, or touching a menu tablet or bill folder. With a failsafe system in place, customers will frequent where they feel most comfortable and safe, cementing the importance of a smooth, contactless service model.
Delivery & Curbside Pickup
Brands should focus on contactless delivery and pickup, investing in capabilities directly through the restaurant brand to ensure complete control and optimal branding throughout the experience.
QSR and fast-casual restaurants that offer direct, contactless delivery have an opportunity to better manage the customer experience by controlling the timing, safety and quality of the food being delivered. Brands must have a system in place that guarantees minimal food contact, communicates accurate, timely pickup and delivery times and isolates food before it meets the consumer, whether that means outdoor pickup stations or front door drop-offs. Every communication including payment confirmation and status updates should be sent via digital push notification to avoid any in-person contact.
Contactless service models can also cut back on third-party costs by repurposing employee skills to fit the current demand. Further, direct ordering, payment and delivery solutions provide restaurants with ownership of their data to drive customer engagement moving forward. Having real-time access to their own data trends, brands can adjust their business strategies to best cater to their personal customer base.