If you're reopening your restaurant during the coronavirus pandemic, there there are a bunch of technologies you can leverage to make dine-in and takeout service as efficient and safe as possible for your staff, and your customers. (Of course, the safest option is not to open at all, but we recognize that that's not an option for every operator.) To incorporate restaurant tech, the key is to think holistically: the most savvy operators aren’t just using one of these options, but many in conjunction with each other to offer the safest service possible. (In tech speak, they call this a business's "stack.")
Below are some key types of restaurant technology that can help you create more secure, sanitary dining spaces.
Ditch your paper or plastic menus for something customers don’t have to touch thereby lessening surface areas where germs can spread. Tabletop devices, such as iPads with static menus on them is one option, or you can give customers an online menu they can access from their own devices. Another angle is printing QR codes on table-tents or signage that push to your restaurant's menu on the customers' mobile phones.
Gone are the days of trendy bill holders like books and twee baskets. Nowadays the goal is to avoid touching a credit card or cash and the best way to do that is with contactless payment systems. This technology, think Square for instance, reduces the risk of contact while assuring customer and staff safety.
Using virtual reservation systems and waitlists lets your customers digitally sign up for their booking time and helps restaurants follow strict seating guidelines and avoid going over capacity.
For the fast casual business, installing self-service kiosks is becoming more and more commonplace. Even some McDonald's in the U.S. have installed ordering stands so customers don’t have to interact up close with staff.
Another cool idea that's not quite so impersonal? Smart-server buttons, which allow customers to ring their server on-demand, minimizing unnecessary approaches to the table.
With restaurant revenue shifting to off-premise dining and delivery, managing and optimizing inventory is more important than ever. Investing in restaurant inventory management and purchasing software can help keep track so you can boost revenue.
You want to ensure customer safety? Host an online event. Across the country, restaurants are getting creative by using tools like Zoom to increase customer interaction. Breweries are hosting virtual beer tastings, restaurants are offering online cooking classes, and even kids cookalong programs. But remember, your event needs to service a purpose.