Why Contactless is a Top Priority for the Restaurant Industry

For consumers and restaurants, contactless is now king.

In the wake of COVID-19, the restaurant industry has seen disruptors like never before, accelerating change in consumer behavior and expectations. Now, safety is a key concern for your guests and staff, and they need to know that it’s a top priority for you as well—so bringing “contactless” customer experiences into your restaurant should be high on your list. This e-book will explore different ways that technology can help you achieve contactless ordering and payment within your restaurant.
Prior to 2020, the restaurant industry was already seeing a shift in consumer preference toward digital interactions. But, the pandemic drove quick change and fast adoption to digital technology because it helped them dine in ways that were safe, easy and comfortable. As a restaurateur, you can use this preference shift to continue driving revenue in your dining rooms—and enhancing guest and staff safety— with contactless technology.
“Contactless” or “touchless” experiences reduce or eliminate the amount of physical interaction between guests, staff and objects that are passed between the two, such as credit cards or payment devices. One way to limit contact is by directing guests to use offpremise options that enable them to control order and payment through, for example, a mobile app— but you’ll also need to make your guests feel more confident when dining in.

Digital technology can help make customers feel safe.

So how do you incorporate safe, contactless experiences without completely changing your restaurant’s floorplan and operations? By embracing technology to deliver touchless experiences that enhance guests’ safety and still provide excellent customer service.

When evaluating your restaurant and areas that traditionally require contact, there are likely two processes you’re focusing on: ordering and payment.

First let’s look at reducing contact in your ordering process.
Restaurant menus are passed from guest to guest and could be a source of concern. Washing them between each use or printing new sheets for each person is a waste of time and money. Instead, you can eliminate the need for physical menus by allowing guests to view your menu online. To make it easy to access your online menu, you can provide a QR code on the table that they can scan with their phone that links to your menu or website.

Mobile ordering is not just for delivery.

You can take this a step further by giving guests the ability to also order their food using their phones. With mobile ordering technology, guests can scan a QR code unique to their table—which provides a link to an online ordering platform; there, they can view the menu and order their meal. Servers will know which order belongs to which table, and they can still serve guests without a hitch. Not only does this create a contactless experience for guests, it also helps your servers go contactless by not having to input orders into the point-of-sale. And, it increases order accuracy—the guests choose what they want with no room for mishearing, misremembering or mis-entering order information.

Instant menu updates

Another benefit of online menu and ordering platforms is your ability to update them in real-time. You can use this as an opportunity to ensure your menu is up-to-date on 86’ed items so your guests don’t get their heart set on a dish, only to be told 5 minutes later that it can’t be made. And, if you have daily or seasonal menus, you can keep those updated, too.

Contactless payments

According to a survey from Mastercard, 8 out of 10 consumers see contactless as a cleaner way of payment. Guests have been able to use mobile wallets, such as Apple Pay or Google Pay, to pay contactlessly for several years now. For quick service restaurants, having payment terminal devices that accept these transactions is a musthave option for your guests—and can even help speed up transactions in an EMV world.
For table service restaurants, using stationary payment terminal devices for contactless transactions may not be enough, simply due to the payment flows associated with these concepts. In the traditional payment process, guests are asked to hand over their card to the server who then returns with a bill folio and pen, creating multiple shared surfaces. But you can eliminate the need to exchange any items and give your guests control of their payment process through a mobile payment solution. There are two main ways to do this.
The first is to allow the guest to pay on their phone. The dining experience will remain the same, until the guests receive their bill which will contain a QR and/ or numeric code unique to that order.
Guests can scan that QR code or go to the website and enter the unique number on the receipt to pay their bill through their phone. Implementing these types of consumer-driven contactless payments can help your guests not only feel safer from a contactless standpoint, but also from a security perspective as servers are no longer taking their credit card out of sight.
If you want to take this a step further, you can integrate payments into the mobile, contactless ordering process mentioned earlier in this ebook. As guests order their meal, they can checkout, pay and tip all together, creating a completely contactless experience for your guests.

Improve table service efficiency.

All of these contactless experiences can also improve efficiency for table service restaurants. Most existing ordering and payment processes can be cumbersome with servers running back and forth between the point-of-sale and the table. But going contactless enables you to now focus even more on delighting your guests with greater personal attention.

A technology solution built for today’s—and tomorrow’s—restaurant.

NCR Aloha Essentials is an all-in-one solution with all of the technology you need to run your restaurant, end-to-end. It’s equipped with not only the industry’s leading point-of-sale solution to help you efficiently run your operations, but also with the digital-first technology you need to fulfill new customer expectations. From online ordering to taking mobile wallets to providing a completely contactless dinein experience, you’ll have access to the latest restaurant solutions, in one monthly subscription.

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