As businesses adapt to the current restrictions, regulations, and consumer priorities, one solution rises above the rest: contactless ordering. Not long ago, you might have seen it occasionally from tech-savvy restaurants and forward-thinking companies; now, it’s virtually everywhere.
Keeping up with this particular evolution is necessary to sustain your customer base.
But how do you do it—and do it well? If you are looking to take advantage of the many contactless ordering benefits, our experts can help. These five contactless ordering tips will help you transition smoothly to the digital world of contactless dining.
#1 Create Ample Signage For Your New Contactless Ordering
Contactless payments have slowly been inching their way into the mainstream business model, but suddenly, we’re seeing a complete and total shift to contactless ordering and restaurant payment technology. Right now, this business move is seen as necessary—54% of consumers would switch retailers just to use contactless payment methods1—but the transition still presents a novel experience for many customers.
As you reduce staff in favor of a safer method, make sure you usher your customers into the new era of your business with clearly articulated signage, detailing the new contactless technology system:
- Advertising out front – Before customers even step foot into your business, they should know to expect contactless ordering. This approach should inform customers of what protocol to follow or websites to search up. What’s more, by advertising your contactless technology out front, you can entice wary passersby to enter your business (particularly those who would otherwise avoid busy establishments with lots of contact).
- Explicit pre-entrance instructions – To avoid customer confusion as they wander into and out of your business, you should provide comprehensive instructions for entering the establishment. Whether you advise them to wait in a line for a staff member to greet them or use an online check-in platform, it’ll clear up any uncertainty and potential spats as customers accidentally “cut the line.”
- Tableside protocol – Once inside, things can get a bit tricky when reinventing your dining experience. First-time customers won’t be familiar with how you run your contactless business and might be teeming with questions. When do I order? How do I pay? Will the server explain it all to us? Do I have to download anything? Answer these questions upfront, ideally in-person as you’re welcoming the party inside. You can then reiterate the protocol with clear instructions at each table on how to view the online menu, place an order, and make a contactless payment. Specify details such as:
- A step-by-step breakdown of how their visit will play out to pre-emptively dispel any potential confusion.
- What they should be waiting for, if anything (for example, “A server will be by shortly to help you find the online menu and contactless ordering system” or simply “Please scan this QR code to start browsing our digital menu”).
- How to address any questions or concerns, such as a Press for Help button on the table or an in-app chat function.
- The necessary actions to complete before leaving. For example, “Once you’ve paid your bill online, closed the tab, and received your receipt via email, you’re good to go! If you still haven’t gotten your receipt, please notify a staff member.”
- Clearly labeled zones – Use large signs to indicate “Order Here,” “Check-In At This Kiosk,” “Line Up Here for Curbside Pick-Up,” and so on. It’s especially important for pick-up-only establishments and other contactless businesses to focus on seamlessly directing traffic within their store. There’s no such thing as too many signs or too much explanation of where to line up, wait, order, pick-up, and exit.
#2 Incorporate Specials, Add-Ons, & Up-Sells Into Your Ordering Platform
How many times have you placed an order in a restaurant and the server has asked, “Would you like to make that a double for just a dollar?” or “Do you want to add a side dish to your main course? It’s only $2.99 extra.” When you place a contactless order, your business might lose out on these potential up-sells and add-ons.
Unless, of course, you include these same propositions in your digital ordering platform.
Using AI software to make suggestions about additional items can help increase your average check or cart size.2 As your customers navigate the contactless menu and add food items to their cart, consider adding pop-up messages such as:
- Upsize for just $1.99!
- Would you like to make this a combo?
- Here are some recommended pairings.
- Add one more entrée and get a free appetizer!
- Would you like to browse today’s specials?
With the right contactless technology, you can build an experience that mimics the face-to-face interaction of a server reading the specials, suggesting wine pairings with your steak, and asking, “Would you like fries with that?”
#3 Continue to Prioritize Well-Trained Staff, Despite the Technological Upgrade
With a fully optimized contactless ordering platform, it’s easy to let technology take over. After all, this kind of tech can seriously improve your business’ productivity and profitability with a relatively simple adjustment on your end. However, contactless solution platforms can only get you so far, and they’re definitely not impervious to errors and malfunctions.
The backbone of your business is still your team—the human kind.
As you make the switch to this hands-off business model, train your employees to facilitate a smooth transition:
- User-interface assistance – Your employees may have to behave more like IT support for the time being. Train them to expertly navigate your contactless ordering system so that they can assist guests in the process. This is especially important for technologically challenged customers who may have a difficult time ordering with their mobile device.
- Troubleshooting and system override – Things can go wrong even with the most flawless ordering platform. If someone accidentally double-orders, forgets to add allergen substitutions, or even just changes their mind about their entree, they should be able to contact a staff member who can override their mistake. Without this option, guests may leave your establishment unhappy.
- Improving Guest Experience – Now that your staff’s time has been freed up by a virtual ordering system, they can put their efforts toward providing a safe and enjoyable experience for all their guests.
#4 Transition The Entire Experience Toward Contactless Systems
Contactless ordering is a great first step. But if you incorporate it into a system with contact-filled menus, payment, pick-up or delivery, plus paper receipts, you may be turning away some customers who are looking for a fully contactless experience.
If you’re looking to elevate your business from contact-ish to contactless, try adding these comprehensive services to your no-touch model:
- Check-in – Whether your guests are checking in for their reservation or indicating that they’ve arrived for their curbside pick-up, a contactless sign-in method can free up your hosts’ time and limit the amount of face-to-face interaction. Just be sure to provide clear instructions that explain the contactless solution process. For example:
- Scan this QR code to check in for your reservation. We’ll give you an updated wait time.
- Please stay outside until a staff member calls your party to be seated.
- In the meantime, browse our digital menu to prepare for your visit.
- Waitlist – Similar to check-ins, you may decide to create a virtual waitlist that automatically enters each party into the queue. Again, this limits person-to-person contact but also prevents human error and discrepancies between when each party arrived and the order in which they’re seated or granted entry. Just be sure to make the waitlist process extremely clear. Otherwise, you may have an upset guest who’s been waiting 30 minutes without even being greeted, not realizing they were supposed to input their information online.
- Menus – With digital menus, guests complete the entire ordering process on their personal devices or installed tablets. This also grants you the freedom to update your offerings regularly without any additional expenses.
- Reviews – A great way to build your business is through customer reviews. And what better way to solicit this feedback than through the same contactless platform that your customers have already been using? You can send out requests for reviews in the same email or notification as their digital receipts, and even offer promotions or discounts for writing a review before paying and leaving the establishment.
#5 Don’t DIY; Utilize A Fully Functional Contactless Ordering System Instead
A QR code to scan when you arrive, a website to locate the online menu, a mobile app to download to place your order, a Square card reader as a contactless POS, and automated text message receipts? All these different components can be a jumbled mess just waiting to unravel.
When each of your contactless elements is spread out across different technologies, you’re opening your business up to confusion, mismanagement, glitches, and other errors. Plus, your customers are bound to get lost in the various steps they have to take just to get through their visit.
For a seamless transition, seek out an all-in-one ordering platform that combines your restaurant’s menu, checkout, payment, plus other services you provide throughout the dining experience.
GoTab: Your Key to Contactless Ordering
For a full-service, fully functional digital ordering platform, GoTab goes above and beyond in transitioning your business to the contactless world.
With GoTab, you can increase profits while decreasing the need for constant in-person interaction with:
- Contactless, customizable menus
- Convenient online ordering from personal devices
- One tab for the entire visit to streamline dining
- Multiple options for secure payment
- Emailed receipts
- Pre-dining payment confirmation to minimize walkouts
- Mobile point-of-sale devices for card or cash payments
The best part? Your business can be up and running like a well-oiled contactless machine in just 24 hours. Embrace the future with the best contactless solutions.
- Forbes. Contactless Payment Systems Are On The Rise As Pandemic Changes Consumer Habits. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesfinancecouncil/2020/11/20/contactless-payment-systems-are-on-the-rise-as-pandemic-changes-consumer-habits/?sh=6aea883ce123
- Forbes. Phone And Online Ordering: How Restaurants Can Upsell Customers. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2020/12/16/phone-and-online-ordering-how-restaurants-can-upsell-customers/?sh=5ca0d2df4262