States and municipalities across the country are reopening restaurants for in-house dining. New restrictions to minimize human contact and maximize social distancing are also being enforced. As customers return, they will have higher expectations for hygiene and safety. How can you ensure that you are meeting public health guidelines while providing a hospitable dining experience? We recommend first breaking down each step of the guest experience. Think about how you can minimize contact in each step. With some creative use of technology, you can reopen your restaurant safely, bring peace of mind to your guests, and even boost your sales.
Use Digital Waitlists
Even before the pandemic, guests were not pleased to enter a restaurant, only to be met with a lobby packed with people waiting for tables. Guests would often give up on putting their name on the waitlist, and choose to eat at the restaurant next door instead.
By offering a digital waitlist system, you can automate guest waitlisting, accelerate the check-in process, and minimize gathering of people in your lobby. Here is how it works: instead of waiting at the restaurant, guests can check in online using their smartphone. They can view wait-time estimates in real time and also receive a notification for when their table is ready soon. Guests can even browse the menu, and pre-order or pay for their meal, all from the comfort of their own car.
Offer Digital Menus
Reopen your restaurant with digital menus that can be viewed by guests on their own mobile devices. Not only does this reduce your staff’s need to disinfect or reprint disposable menus. According to a recent survey in April, 65% of US diners will accept no physical menus as a new COVID-19 rule. Digital menus are easy to browse and enable guests to filter the menu by dining preference or allergies. To get started, guests scan a QR code at their table with their phone. Your manager can easily update the online menu via a web portal.
Offer Contactless Ordering
The traditional ordering process requires servers to take orders from guests by hand. This goes against new social distancing regulations and does not keep your staff or guests safe. Why not allow guests to order items on their own using their smartphone? Guests can order items at any time to minimize contact with servers. Contactless ordering also increases check sizes and table turns. Guests can easily sign into their loyalty account to view past orders. The digital menu automatically updates based on the guest’s dining preferences and allergies.
Enable Contactless Payments
Think about the traditional payment process for a dine-in guest. A server often has to make 3 separate trips to a guest’s table to get their payment processed. By enabling guests to pay for the check with their phone at the table, you can reduce the need to disinfect credit cards and help guests feel safe. The guest simply scans a QR code with their phone to check out, without needing to wait for a server’s help. Staff also will not need to handle credit cards or cash. A single QR code can be used to give access to the menu, accept orders, and payments. Orders and payments will show up on your POS system based on table numbers, enabling your staff members to match them to tables.
Keep Up With the News
Reopening your restaurant during the coronavirus pandemic is a huge victory. But the battle does not end there. New information about the pandemic is constantly coming out. To stay ahead of guest demands and protect your community, follow existing and new local regulations that might impact your restaurant operations.
All of these tips for reopening your restaurant might be overwhelming to take in. The good news is that an all-in-one solution exists to meet all of your contactless dining needs. Presto is offering a free Contactless Dining Kit that includes all of the above features. Guests can be waitlisted, view the complete menu, place orders, and pay at the table—without the need for any human contact. Watch a short video to see how it works and reopen your restaurant in as soon as a few days.