Since the Covid-19 pandemic started, food and beverage businesses have had to adapt to lots of social distancing rules. When there’s no lockdown, then restaurants, bars, pubs and cafés have had to find ways to offer food and drinks without the usual physical touch points.
Does the touch-free ordering setup have to incorporate obligations — it also needs to be very easy for customers to use. Luckily, there are now several contactless ordering systems to consider. So how do they operate?
QR code ordering system All it takes for the client is their smartphone (any Android or Apple device with a camera will do) and your QR code.
This system is for customers ordering in your premises, whether from a table, queue outside or entry for takeaway. It is the most hygienic way to get orders in your premises, as clients do not have to touch anything other than their own phone or stand in front of a staff member to place an order.
How it works:
You exhibit a QR code in the customer’s table, checkout, entrance or where the client is queuing. The code can be printed on card, a sticker, put in a screen holder or shown on a screen.
The client opens their phone camera app and scans the QR code. A browser page opens with your contact-free menu, where the client can add items to a cart, then enter card information manually on their phone to pay for the purchase.
Your kitchen or POS system will obtain the order instantly so you can begin preparing it, then bring it to the client in person. If the customer didn’t pay online, you also bring a card machine to accept the payment.
If you don’t have a QR code, you can alternatively display a URL that customers can enter manually on their phones, but this is more fiddly so there will be a risk that clients can’t be bothered and just leaves.
Customers can order on their phones by scanning your QR code while staff prepare orders.
Self serve kiosk
A self-ordering kiosk is a tablet or touchscreen monitor that customers can use to place a food order by themselves — just like ordering takeaway online, except they’re doing it on your premises, on your touchscreen device dedicated to this.
This reduces contact with your staff, but because customers need to physically touch the identical tablet, there’s a risk of virus transmission if people don’t wash their hands or you don’t clean the screen in between uses.
You display a tablet or touchscreen monitor with a self-service ordering menu in your entry or another convenient location in your premises.
Customers utilize the touchscreen to add items to a cart, then checks out by submitting the order or paying for the products.
The order is sent to the kitchen or POS system so the food could be prepared. When ready, you can bring the food to the customer in person. If the customer did not pay via the digital menu, you can charge the customer through a card machine.
This approach costs more for the restaurant, as it requires at least a tablet for the kiosk program. Big food chains such as McDonald’s are inclined to have a big self-service kiosk at the entrance with a card machine attached, but this may be too expensive for a small food business. Instead, you can get an app from e.g. TouchBistro to install on a consumer-grader tablet.
Where to get it: TouchBistro, Lightspeed, Revel Systems
Self-ordering kiosk for takeaway
Self-service kiosks can be big like at McDonald’s (pictured) or small tablet kiosks like TouchBistro’s.
Purchase systems for pickup
Order and collect is when a customer places an order online for collection at your premises. This is also known as’Click & Collect’ and ordering for pickup — the exact same thing.
This technique is for distant orders requiring payment online, usually on a web page or takeaway delivery platform.
The client goes to your site or page on a takeaway delivery platform.
The customer adds items to the cart, chooses the pickup option and pays for the order (tips can sometimes be added at checkout).
When the trade is successful, the business gets the order in the POS system or kitchen display system so that it can be prepared. An email or text verification is sent to the customer to confirm the order, pickup location and appropriate period of collection.
The customers goes to your location, asks for the order and shows the order confirmation (if needed). The order is given to the customer to take home.
Click and collect systems require a food menu and checkout system onto a website, web page or profile on a takeaway platform. The system enables people to procure food orders so they don’t have to order and wait in a queue for ages at your assumptions. When you receive a collection time by ordering the consumer knows exactly when the food needs to be prepared to pick up, so no time is wasted.
Where to get it: Connectpos, Lightspeed, Revel Systems, Square
Order and collect pickup
Click and collect is a favorite means to accept transactions remotely for in-house group.
Ordering for no-contact delivery
Lastly, it is possible to let people order online for no-contact delivery. Takeaway platforms like Deliveroo and Uber Eats utilize their own couriers for a high commission per order, but companies can also set up their own ordering page if they have couriers on hand.
How it works:
The customer goes online to order from your site, takeaway platform or standalone menu page at a web address.
The customer adds items to the cart, adds hints (where possible) and pays for it on line. Immediately, the business gets the order details so the drinks and food can be prepared, and the client receives an order confirmation via email or text.
The business cooks and prepares the order, staples an order ID on the bag (or marks it in another way) and hands it to the responsible courier.
The courier goes to the customer, rings the door bell or knocks on the door, puts the bag with the food down, steps back to honor social distancing rules and allows the customer afford the order in person.
Online ordering for delivery is the most suitable option for customers, since they don’t need to travel to the business to pick up the purchase themselves. Because it requires a courier to deliver the merchandise in person, it is common to have a shipping charge — making it the priciest option for customers.
Online takeaway delivery arrangement
People tend to use their phones for ordering takeaway for shipping.
Which is better?
During uncertain times like a pandemic, it’s extra important to be prepared for all situations. It is a matter of business survival to adapt quickly when a nation switches between lockdown and reopening of the hospitality sector.
Consequently, you do need to employ some of these ordering methods to make enough sales — but expect changes along the way as some technology become more popular than others.
When your business is allowed to accept customers for eat-in, the QR ordering setup is the cheapest and most hygienic. Purchasing from a self-serve kiosk takes a physical terminal that could be costly upfront or require a monthly fee. QR code orders are finished on the client’s own phone, which will not pass on germs to other folks. During a lockdown, delivery and pickup orders keep businesses afloat. Outside lockdowns, remote orders add to your profits on the whole.