The Pros And Cons Of Contactless Dining Technology

Editorial Team | How-To

The days of staff needing to wait on patrons’ hand and foot have gone as restaurants wrestle with innovations in contactless dining payment systems.

As restaurants steadily get back to a sense of normality and borders reopen to offer renewed opportunities to hire hospitality staffers, there is one remnant of the global pandemic that looks set to stick around.

Contactless ordering: the little QR codes housing digital menus and on-demand payment solutions have become a mainstay of the food industry and for some, the now preferred model for managing customer orders. Initial interest exploded during the lockdowns to provide more robust safety measures for diners, the technology has also become fundamental to many businesses just trying to make ends meet.

Although the hospitality industry is returning to a semblance of normality, restaurants are still required to follow social distancing guidelines and show that they can adapt their business to better curb the spread of Coronavirus. And contactless dining does this. It minimises the contact high touch elements of a restaurant with a host of other upsides too. Here are just a few pros afforded to the early adopters.

Bye Bye menus

Paper menus are far rarer than they once were as e-menus become the new norm. They are beneficial because they enable businesses to change prices across outlets or edit items easily and almost entirely remove costs pertaining to reprinting and/or replacing them.

Increased hygiene standard

Less contact means fewer chances of germs and nasties trading hands between customers. Both staffers and patrons can now rest easier knowing they are limiting the transmission of any invisible germs and reducing the risk of picking something up along with their morning coffee.

Ease of ordering

A contentious benefit but a benefit, nonetheless. Customers now have increased control over when they place their order and how they pay for it which has an added upside of decreasing the manual errors which may be caused by wait staff. Contactless payment solutions as a by-product can increase the speed of delivery and the accuracy of orders as a result.

Streamlining payment

A good contactless system has multiple payment offerings, enabling customers to pay easily and quickly without the need for a member of staff.

Speed up table turnover time

Because of these efficiencies, table times can be reduced dramatically which could be financially beneficial for restaurants such as cafes and corporate lunch spot that thrive on the high turnover of their tables.

Less staff

Overall operational costs can be reduced as contactless ordering systems mean fewer staff are required to services tables, increasing staff efficiency in the process.

Fraud protection

Contactless payment tech reduces the chance of hacking and card cloning as most operators are protected against fraud by the issuing banks.

Although there are many benefits for the customer and the businesses operators there are some noticeable downsides and challenges too.

Low acceptance

Spotty coverage, lack of perceived ‘service’, additional ‘payment’ charges, and a lack of technological uptake among seniors means there is still a proportion of the populous that is hesitant to take up the option.

Uncertainty for fit

Is it right for your business? There is no one answer as to whether contactless payment is a must for your business. There are still large swathes of the population that carry and favour paying in cash over the use of cards. Seniors and lower-income citizens also tend to withdraw cash. Australia as a nation is still holding onto cash in fact. During the pandemic, reports indicate that many people went back to withdrawing cash from the banks believing physical currency to offer safety against any economic turbulence.

However, if you’re in the business of fast food, have a large fast turnover dine-in capability or are struggling to find and retain experienced staff, contactless payment solutions could offer you a route to increased profitability. By minimising unnecessary interactions between staff and customers, your efforts could prove more profitable and efficient. Just consider other functionalities from providers to add additional converters for your business. For example:

  • Contactless reservations
  • Waitlist sign-up
  • Online check-in
  • Access to royalty and rewards programs
  • The ability to review past orders, save favourite customised orders, and reorder favourites.
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