Digital ordering for restaurants is typically associated with off-premise channels, such as ordering for takeout via mobile applications or third-party delivery platforms. While digital ordering for the dine-in experience has been around for years, it has not gained large traction in the industry. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for full-service restaurants to adopt order at table technology. Consumers remain wary of dining in at restaurants, and new social distancing regulations are difficult to navigate for an industry that has traditionally relied on face-to-face contact between guests and servers. Learn how digital ordering can help your restaurant adapt to operating during the pandemic, as well as discover its additional operational benefits.
Meet New COVID-19 Regulations
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends restaurants to use digital menus as much as possible, while several municipalities in the US are even requiring the use of disposable or digital menus. Restaurant menus typically contain multiple pages and high surface area, and are therefore not as easily disinfected as a tablet or phone screen. By bringing digital ordering to your restaurant, you are showing guests that you are abiding by public health regulations, thereby gaining their trust while also keeping staff members safe.
Guests are expecting and demanding this change as well. According to Datassential’s April survey, 92% of US diners like the idea of disinfecting or disposing menus each time, while more than ⅔ require it. In fact, 65% of US diners will also accept no physical menus as a new rule. Additionally, 86% of diners will want to maintain distance from other diners, suggesting that they will want distance from staff members. Digital ordering enables guests to place orders without interacting with staff members.
More Convenience for Guests
With digital ordering technology at the table, guests can place their orders on demand without waiting for a server to come to their table. Digital menus also offer guests the flexibility of filtering menus by allergies and preferences. Guests can sign into their loyalty account, allowing them to easily claim rewards or view past orders. In addition, self-offering eliminates order inaccuracy, and a guest can easily review an order and its customizations before placing it.
Larger Check Size
Guests placing their own orders “tend to engage with the menu longer and spend 15% to 25% more,” according to restaurant analyst Peter Saleh. When guests are in full control and can order on demand from their table, they are likely to interact with the menu more. Guests can easily order refills or dessert without needing to flag down a server. Finally, technology never forgets to upsell additional menu times to your guests. You can configure your digital ordering system to offer recommendations based on past orders. A guest who is logged in will see menu items that they are more likely to order first, increasing their likelihood of ordering more.
Faster Table Turn
The system used to enable ordering at the table—such as order-and-pay tablets or QR codes—can also enable pay-at-table functions. Guests can view the full menu, order, and pay when they need to without waiting for a server. Servers no longer need to make several trips to the POS terminal for each party of guests, therefore streamlining your operations and increasing table turn speed. This will be crucial in light of new capacity limits. Technology plays a key role in keeping restaurants profitable and efficient, while facilitating an end-to-end contactless experience for guests.
Know Your Guests
If your guest has created an account or opted in, your restaurant can have guest information in your own hands and incorporate personalization into your marketing. Did a guest enjoy a particular dish, or do they have a special occasion coming up? You can entice them to return by sending them a personalized offer or message. Personalization will be key to keeping you and your guests connected and promoting brand loyalty.
How to Get Started on Digital Ordering
Quick adoption of digital ordering will be essential for your restaurant to operate at maximum permissible capacity and regain guest traffic. Technology enables your restaurant to serve guests in the dining room with minimal human contact, thereby meeting new guest demands and protecting staff members. Presto has launched a Contactless Dining Kit that will help your restaurant to meet new local regulations while giving your guests peace of mind with an end-to-end contactless dining experience. The kit is free and can be set up in less than an hour. Complete the order form to get your free kit and succeed in your reopening.