Completely contactless dining experiences are the way of the future, offering benefits for both restaurants and their guests. By employing certain technologies, such as a QR code menu and contactless payment options, your restaurant can drive staff productivity, capture new efficiencies, and boost guest satisfaction by providing the safety, convenience, and service that today's guests seek.
Contactless dining goes mainstream.
Contactless dining transformed from a fringe offering to a commonplace guests experience after COVID-19 disrupted daily life in early 2020.
Immediately, contactless dining applied to delivery, as guests embraced online ordering and mobile apps to order and pay for their food. The order would be set at the guest's door with little, if any, interaction with the delivery. During shelter-in-place restrictions, a whopping 82% of guests had chosen contactless delivery, according to Datassential's One Table report that surveyed guests in May 2020.
With large restaurant chains aggressively promoting contactless payment and delivery to combat pandemic-era concerns, touchless dining experiences pushed their way deeper into the nation's consciousness. And later, as restaurants resumed indoor dining after the initial wave of shutdowns and stay-at-home orders, the idea of contactless restaurant experiences moved from delivery into restaurant dining rooms and patios to combat anxiety about dining out. And now, it's well-positioned to stay.
The benefits of contactless dining for your restaurant and guests.
As dining rooms reopened, 1 in 5 consumers surveyed by Datassential said contactless payment would need to be available for them to feel safe eating at a restaurant again. Meanwhile, 1 in 7 said they would need contactless ordering. Datassential also found that many, especially millennials and Gen Zers, planned to continue using contactless payment in the future.
Those figures suggest that contactless dining experiences not only need to be present for today's guests but will almost certainly need to be a part of the plan moving forward if your restaurant is to meet their preferences and needs moving forward.
But rest assured, bringing contactless dining experiences into your restaurant provides numerous benefits, including the following:
- Guest safety: Contactless dining reduces health risks by minimizing face-to-face contact between staff and guests and by eliminating the need for guests to touch high-contact surfaces, such as menus, billfolds, or kiosks. In the Datassential report, contactless payment stood beside "extremely clean" restrooms and regularly sanitized common areas as the most important attributes to help guests feel safe in restaurant dining rooms again.
- Faster table turns: Two challenges that dining rooms faced included waiting for the server to take orders and processing payment. As guests handle ordering and payment themselves with contactless dining, those typical downtimes evaporate; the kitchen receives orders faster, and staff members do not have to re-enter orders into the restaurant's point-of-sale (POS) system. The result is quicker table turns, opening the door to more guests and more revenue.
- Greater sales and profit potential: Beyond faster table turns, contactless ordering also improves order accuracy because the guests themselves are inputting their orders directly into your restaurant's POS. This increased accuracy helps drive guest satisfaction and reduces food waste, thereby giving a jolt to your bottom line. In addition, your restaurant can build upselling and suggestive selling into the digital menu to increase ticket size and capture additional revenue.
- Improved staff efficiency and productivity: Front-of-house staff should become more efficient and productive on their shifts given they no longer need to toggle back and forth between the table and the POS to take an order and process payment. With greater staff productivity, your restaurant should be better positioned to navigate the labor shortages currently affecting the industry.
The simplicity of QR codes for contactless dining.
In the post-COVID-19 era, the QR code menu emerged as an invaluable ally to restaurants, as it enables guests to order and pay for their restaurant meal straight from their mobile device.
Once seated in your dining room, guests can scan a unique QR code at the table with their smartphone's camera. That will take them directly to your restaurant's digital menu. From there, guests can peruse your menu and place their customized order, which travels directly into your restaurant's POS and the kitchen. After enjoying their meal, guests use their mobile devices to complete the transaction and secure a digital receipt.
That's it! You empower your guests to order and pay for their meal without having to touch a physical menu or credit card. In addition, the typical—and often frustrating—wait associated with a server taking an order or processing payment vanishes. It's a safe, seamless, and convenient experience that benefits both your guests and your restaurant.
The case for continued contactless dining.
As on-site dining recovers from its pandemic-era depths, contactless experiences, such as those powered by QR codes and digital payments, are increasingly prevalent. It's a trend likely to grow even more in the years ahead, given the accelerated technological adoption ignited by the pandemic, as well as the rising appetite for safe and convenient dining environments.
Contactless dining creates a win-win for your restaurant and its guests. It not only addresses your guests' health and safety concerns but also positions your restaurant to operate more efficiently and, ultimately, more profitably.