How to do Contactless & Off-premise Ordering
Online ordering, mobile, contactless.
Ordering is a critical part of the service, and guests today are very comfortable with the variety of methods available, whether it’s online ordering, an app, 3rd party food delivery, or via the phone. Consumers want to be able to order food regardless of location and with little delay. Omni-channel ordering capabilities have quickly become a must-have for off-premise service. Contactless ordering as restaurants re-open is going to be an important capability.
For the restaurant, that convenience can come with ups and downs. We’ve seen customers succeed using a variety of approaches.
A simple online ordering page on your website or linked to your website can be a straightforward and convenient method. A couple of things are important to consider:
- How does the menu get populated and updated? Ideally, this is automated so that changes in your restaurant PoS are reflected online without any intervention.
- What is the order workflow? It should go into your PoS software, to the kitchen, and into the package as smoothly as possible.
- How can guests pay? Online payment removes some friction and reduces contact when doing takeout or delivery orders.
More complex scenarios are handled with omni-channel PoS integration. Online ordering, 3rd party services, self serve kiosks, and mobile app orders can all be funneled into Squirrel and then managed appropriately.
Integrations like this can reduce the errors introduced by rekeying orders from 3rd party services, and help reduce costly mistakes while also expanding the capabilities of your organization.
Other innovative approaches include setting up Virtual Kiosks. These can be on the exterior of your restaurant, a sandwich board, online, or even at the table. Using QR codes, and/or NFC technology, guests can order (& pay) on their device without having to touch or use menus or other payment methods.
As restaurant dining rooms begin to re-open, it’s also important to consider the safety and effectiveness of servers. With many regions enforcing reduced capacity & the weather becoming more amenable, patios are also going to play an important role in the guest experience.
These factors combined make mobile device capabilities for staff a sensible option. By equipping servers with tablets that can be signed in and out for each shift and sanitized, establishments can reduce the risks introduced by sharing fixed terminals and provide servers with a more efficient way to cover the floor.
Finally, if you’re planning on staying with a traditional menu, consider sanitation workflows. Would disposable one-time menus make sense? Perhaps existing menus can be fitted into a protective case that is easily and frequently sanitized. There are numerous options, but having a plan in place and ready now will save confusion and mitigate guest concerns in the future.
Choosing a contactless or online ordering solution is a strategic decision. The platform may need to expand to accommodate on premise contactless ordering, or to be available on a wide range of devices. With our partners, we’ve developed some packages that add these capabilities with no up-front cost.