Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, people have been dining out (and in) differently. It’s clear now that contactless dining in restaurants wasn’t an early-pandemic buzzword:
- According to an article by CitrusBits, 46% of consumers expect restaurants to offer online/mobile or kiosk/tabletop ordering functionality, and 43% preferred mobile payment during the pandemic.
- Based on a report by Datassential, 82% of customers think it would be right for restaurants to offer contactless payment after pandemic restrictions are lifted, and 81% feel the same way about contactless ordering.
- In a global study by Mastercard, 8 in 10 respondents viewed contactless as a cleaner, faster, more efficient way to pay.
And the list goes on: contactless dining is here to stay. But what exactly is contactless dining, and why should I consider it for my restaurant?
What is contactless dining?
Let us start by defining contactless dining. Contactless dining is a simple, easy, and effective technological solution to dine-in service that removes or reduces points of contact between the guests, the restaurant staff, and the sharing of common items.
Of course, contactless dining is not meant to weaken the quality of the dine-in experience. Servers and hosts can still interact with customers and provide hospitality; In fact, with properly implemented solutions, servers will have more time to interact with their guests.
Contactless dining is supported by technology such as QR codes and NFCs to let customers view digital menus, order food to their table, and pay for their meals entirely on their own. You can see examples of this service on our own site through our contactless table service and mobile ordering pages.
Now that you know what contactless dining is, we can dive into what it can do for you. Here are 5 benefits of contactless dining that apply to just about any establishment.
5 benefits of contactless dining
1. Turn static menus into flexible ones
Imagine this: you printed 50 new menus for your restaurant. They look amazing, with all your best dishes proudly displayed on the front. But then, someone points out a typo. What do you do? Do you leave it and hope no one notices, or print out 50 new menus?
With contactless dining and digital menus, this is a headache you can avoid. Digital menus allow you to be flexible by changing the design, items, and pictures of your menu on the fly. This is even better for holidays like Valentine’s Day or Christmas, where you might want to offer special deals or bundle packages. With digital menus, you can adapt your menu to whatever your customers want to eat or whatever you want to offer at no extra cost. For example, you can emphasize certain menu items to try to get increased sales from high-margin products.
If you want more on digital menus, read 6 tips for creating the ultimate contactless menu.
2. Reduce customer waiting time and improve order accuracy
One of the most important reasons for implementing any solution in your restaurant is to improve the experience for customers. Contactless dining does exactly that by simplifying the ordering and payment process so that customers can get in and out with as little friction as possible. Thanks to contactless dining, customers won’t have to wait for servers to bring them menus or checks and can focus more on enjoying their meal and the atmosphere.
What’s more, by digitizing the ordering process, ordering accuracy improves because customers take the ordering process into their own hands. No longer will chaotic, noisy environments or muffled voices behind face masks cause misunderstandings between customers and the kitchen. This leads to both happier customers and less stressed kitchen staff.
3. Increase the quality of service and staff productivity
Without contactless dining, your staff spends much of their time moving from table to table; handing out menus, taking orders, distributing bills, and taking payments to name a few.
By letting technology take care of standard tasks, your staff will be able to focus on what makes them and your restaurant extraordinary, i.e., the quality of service and care towards your customers. By giving staff fewer responsibilities, they can be more productive and make sure that customers’ needs are attended to.
4. Faster table turnover and more revenue
Remember when we talked about reducing customer wait time? Well, that has the dual effect of speeding up table turnover. With customers using contactless dining solutions for rapid ordering and payment, your restaurant will be able to serve more customers in less time, effectively improving your bottom line.
Beyond this, contactless dining also improves your bottom line in another way. Customers order and reorder more when they order themselves. They enjoy the fact that they have more time to customize their orders, add extras, and think about what they want to eat. Without the pressure of a server, customers no longer feel rushed when making their orders specific and extravagant. This results in larger average checks and more profit for your business.
Speaking of profit, read Omnichannel ordering: Why you should take (back) control of your dining experience to see how you can create new revenue streams.
5. Shows your guests that you value their time and safety
This final benefit is less tangible, but important nonetheless. This last few years have been unpredictable, and people are still coming to terms with the realities imposed by COVID-19. Now more than ever, people value safety when eating out. After all, it has been reported that a majority of customers now rank safety above aspects such as affordability, taste, and even quality.
Beyond safety, customers also value establishments that share their concern for the health and safety of the community around them. By implementing contactless dining, you can show your customers that it is safe to dine at your establishment and that you care about making them feel at ease when frequenting your restaurant. Admittedly, this isn’t the only way to show your customers that you care. However, it is undoubtedly a great place to start.
Looking to try contactless dining in your restaurant? Click here to get started today.