While shortening wait times for guests is typically seen as a quick-service restaurant endeavor, COVID-19 is changing what guests will come to expect from casual sit-down restaurants. New capacity constraints will force staff members to work more quickly to serve waiting guests, while guests will continue to be wary of crowded spaces and lines. Technology as a solution emerges as a winner clearer than ever in its ability to both improve operational efficiency and promote social distancing.

Lessen Crowds with Order-Ahead Technology

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s interim reopening guidance recommends that restaurants enable dine-in guests to order ahead of time to limit the amount of time spent inside restaurants, as well as to use technology to alert guests when their table is ready. In addition, 83% of diners would avoid crowded waiting areas, according to an April survey.

Meet your guests’ needs by placing kiosks in your lobby alongside disinfectant wipes. Presto Kiosk enables guests to pre-order items and pay for them before they have been seated. Guests can view their order history, browse full menus, and be notified when their table is ready. This leads to shorter wait times, larger check sizes, and more guest insights for operators. The same kiosk device can even allow guests to submit to-go orders on their own directly to the kitchen.

Turn Tables Faster with Self-Serve Technology

The service element now needs to be rethought of as being safe, easy to use, and speedy. Being fast is essential during this time because restaurants have limited capacity and they need to be able to turn over tables very quickly. As a result, restaurants need to rethink how they do business in a very short amount of time.

Self-serve technology—whether offered through tabletop technology or guests’ own phones—enables guests to order and pay without interacting with staff members. By scanning a QR code on their table, guests can view menus, redeem loyalty rewards, place orders, make payments, and submit feedback on their phone without needing to verbally communicate with staff. In addition, guests are able to place orders on demand without needing to wait for a staff member’s assistance. Guests can view their past orders and customizations, or filter menus by allergies and preferences, enabling them to place orders faster without seeking help from a staff member. Finally, they can pay their check and leave when they need to without handing off their credit card to a staff member.

Optimize Off-Premise Orders

It is important to be able to cater to your off-premise guests without impacting your dining room efforts. Off-premise channels will continue to experience high levels of strong traffic, and operators should focus on enabling social distancing via drive-thru, curbside, and parking lot technology.

For example, guests can pull into a spot in the parking lot and use a disinfected kiosk, or scan a QR code at the parking lot and place their order and payment without further assistance from a staff member. This frees up more staff members to work in the kitchen to accommodate for a higher amount of off-premise orders, increasing the speed at which both dining room and off-premise guests receive their food. Computer vision technology can detect when guests pull up in their cars for curbside pickup, enabling staff to drop off their food faster.

At Presto, we are eager to work with your operations team to determine a technological solution that will work best for your needs. Contact us to get the process started on surviving and thriving in the new COVID-19 normal.