26.7.2021

Contactless Dining 101: Everything You Need To Know

Written by Aine Hendron

Online Ordering v2

Contactless dining allows a seamless ordering and dining service designed to suit both customers and restaurant staff. It’s a futuristic service that puts the power into the hands of the customer, enabling them to order from their seats while employees focus on fulfilling their needs and delivering a top-quality experience. Not only that, but contactless dining is also in high demand, with more than 1 in 6 customers saying that they want QR codes for added safety and convenience when dining out post-pandemic [1].

Keep reading to find out what exactly contactless dining is, why you need it, and how you can integrate contactless dining into your restaurant today. 

What is contactless dining, and how does it work?

In contactless dining, guests scan a barcode or enter a URL that leads them to the restaurant’s menu or website. Restaurants upload their full menu, including prices and nutritional information. Guests can then order and pay online, making customizations and leaving notes as they go.

As you’d imagine, there’s no need for close physical contact with contactless dining. Because customers can simply order at their own pace, staff aren’t required to take their order or payment - it’s all done online. 

It’s extremely straightforward and user-friendly, but contactless dining is more advanced than it appears. Payments are processed online and require no action from the restaurant. With Epos Now’s contactless dining service, Order & Pay, money will reach your account within 2 business days, which is one of the most competitive processing times on the market. 

If the restaurant accepts the order, it’s instantly sent to their KDS or order-ticket system, cutting down wait times and the margin of human error dramatically. Restaurants can also send updates to customers, keeping them in the loop as they eagerly await their order.

Additionally, your online ordering service can be linked directly to your point of sale system for pinpoint financial accuracy. 

Why should I offer contactless dining?

Tableside ordering rose in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic. As restaurants navigated around social distancing and minimal contact rules, the need to offer a solution that adhered to these restrictions was critical. So, what are the benefits? 

It helps restaurants reach their full potential 

Never before has profitability and operational efficiency been more important than they are now. Contactless dining allows companies to flourish despite pushing for high customer turnover and facing staff shortages.

Time-consuming activities, like handing out and explaining menus, taking orders, manually entering orders to a POS or sending them to the kitchen, and collecting payment are all automated. Servers can focus on delivering quality service while the technology handles rest. 

Double security

Aside from making the customer experience more efficient, contactless dining adds invaluable layers of security. That is, it protects both customers and servers during the pandemic. 

We’ve witnessed a major upturn in contactless payments during the pandemic, as it’s been proven to be a lot more sanitary than handling cash. In general, reducing the number of shared surfaces between customers and staff has proven instrumental in reducing COVID cases in the hospitality industry. 

Adhere to these recommendations, and completely limit the number of shared touch points and face-to-face interactions as customers order and pay from their seats. Link to your POS software to take advantage of intuitive table management that can be programmed to fit social distancing regulations.

Future proof your business

Contactless dining comes with reams of benefits for businesses and buyers. The pandemic has caused businesses to completely rethink operations to meet new industry standards. Provide a solution that protects your business in stringent conditions and appeals to the safety needs of customers. 

Integrating with a contactless ordering and payment system is wholly positive - as it opens the door to a totally new experience. It’s one pandemic trend that most businesses should maintain. 

Improve your bottom line

As we’ve mentioned, offering contactless dining can provide more ways to earn money, but it can also save you a lot of money too. 

Discover more ways to serve your guests

Order & Pay provides more than a contactless dining experience. It’s a three-for-the-price-of-one integration that allows for tableside ordering, click and collect, and delivery.

Don’t let a reduced capacity harm your bottom line. All of these platforms allow you to take advantage of the same award-winning features:

  • Automatic recognition of popular food orders: This enables you to create more relevant promotional offers and discounts based on what customers like. 
  • Automated order and marketing list synchronization: Once customers input their information, they can easily sign on to your communications list. Send discount codes for future visits, happy hour notifications, or offer sign-ups to your loyalty program
  • Invite customers to leave a review for added exposure: Incentivize reviews with discounts on return visits. 

Save money and reinvest into your business

Many restaurants include a digital menu on their website, so why not offer them in-house too? An online menu is easy to maintain, and much more affordable than print menus. If something on your menu needs to be changed or updated, simply change it in your back office, reupload the correct version, and continue selling. 

Remain competitive by running temporary discounts and happy hours on your live menu. Prices can be modified to be lower or higher at set times, or manually adjust for a last-minute promo offer. You might want to upsell certain items by showcasing them at discounted prices. 

Increased operational efficiency

Staff can work a lot more productively since customers handle tasks like ordering and paying themselves, letting them refocus elsewhere. Order & Pay systems allow for a much less overwhelming experience for staff as they’re reintroduced to the demands that come with working in the hospitality sector. It can also mean less staff are necessary, as employees are freed from many of their duties. 

Going digital doesn’t mean sacrificing the quality of interactions with your customers. Rather, it reduces the amount of responsibilities placed on staff, meaning they can multitask less and take better care of customers while they dine.

Customers receive the same premium service they’re accustomed to, yet since they’re ordering digitally, restaurants can save money on serving and hosting staff. Staff are also less overwhelmed, as their tasks are a lot more straightforward. Eliminate costly errors with automated ordering and seamless communication. 

View your POS reports to assess sales and labor percentage to schedule more effectively. 

Experience contactless dining with an industry-leading POS system

You’ll need a point of sale system in order to offer contactless dining. Your POS is a core aspect of your business that effortlessly blends front and back-of-house operations together. Epos Now’s Hospitality POS is a multi-award-winning solution for those in the restaurant sector. 

Your online orders will automatically sync with your POS, feeding information directly into your financial reports, inventory levels, and CRM, saving you countless hours and resources.

If you use your POS for inventory management, your menu should already be online too. With Epos Now, master stock levels are automatically adjusted with every sale so you always have an accurate record of what’s available. If your POS detects something is running low, you’ll have the option of automatically taking it off the menu before customers can buy it online. 

The last piece of the puzzle is payment processing. Epos Now takes care of this element for you, as we offer our own merchant services. All major credit cards are accepted and are processed at one blended rate. Processing times are extremely competitive, just two business days, with business owners’ cash flow in mind. Epos Now Payments is a fully integrated payment processing system that also syncs directly with your reports. 

If you’re interested in learning more about contactless dining, click the button below to request a callback, and get your first 90 days free!

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