Hospitality operators are rapidly turning to contactless ordering and payment solutions to help navigate the long road back to normal from COVID-19’s impacts. While it’s a smart innovation that some say is long overdue, the reality is operators are responding to customer demand.
According to a survey done by Mastercard, 51% of U.S. consumers say they are using cash less often or not at all since the pandemic began and that nearly nine in ten (88%) Americans have adopted contactless payment over the course of this year.
“What we’re really seeing during this crisis period is a consumer behavioral shift to leveraging contactless products,” Linda Kirkpatrick, President of U.S. issuers at Mastercard, tells CNBC Select. “If you’re at a grocery store or a drug store where a consumer should avoid touching a terminal or coming into contact with the cashier, what contactless products really provide is an avenue to shop safely.”
While it’s clear that contactless ordering and payment is here to stay, many restaurant operators remain concerned about how this new service model will impact their guest experience. The reality is contactless ordering can improve both your guest experience AND your bottom line. Here’s why:
Contactless Service Lets the Consumer Take Control and Allows Restaurants to Elevate their Experience
The beauty of this innovative technology platform is that it provides guests full control over ordering, speed of service, and payment. No more awkward server check ins to see if customers are ready to order or the absolute nightmare of a party of 8 handing you 6 credit cards and a wad of cash with last names and amounts (that never add up) written on a piece of paper expecting you to split the check. This allows the customer to take full control of payment and eliminates the headache from a server’s perspective. It also allows them time to focus on elevating the guests’ dining experience.
With so much focus on what’s going on in the world today, it’s important to take steps to make sure guests feel relaxed, welcome and supported in their dining experience. Contactless dining is one major way of doing this and here are a few extra steps you can take:
- Elevate your servers to guides. Be intentional about how servers greet and introduce your guests to your establishment now that the ordering and payment process has changed.
- Be attentive to your guests’ needs. Just because they can order on their own, it doesn’t mean they don’t need your support navigating the menu or finding something new to experience.
- Encourage customization. Guests like to be in charge of what they order yet sometimes when ordering in person they get timid and don’t want to be “the pain with all the substitutions.” Make sure when you explain the menu you encourage them to use the contactless app to order exactly what they want so they are 100% satisfied with their meals.
- Be aware of your guests’ safety concerns. Assure your guests that your establishment is taking all necessary precautions to keep them safe. Provide hand sanitizer at every table, space out seating, sanitize the indoor air, only provide a paper menu if it’s requested, etc.
It Allows Operators to Really Get to Know their Guests with Rich Data
From a restaurant operator’s perspective contactless ordering is almost a dream come true. Why? Well for many reason but for one, because in order for a customer to order and pay from your establishment they must sign up for your contactless payment platform which means the restaurant will have on record the customer’s:
- Phone Number
- Historical Orders
- Favorite Drink
- Diet/Nutrition Preference and more
This allows your servers to truly get to know their table and suggest menu items based on what they really like. It also allows restaurant operators to do special things like personalized reach outs on a customer’s birthday and/or offer them rewards based on spend. Or send an email to all your customers who can’t get enough of your spinach dip appetizer and tell them about a special you’re running on it. It’s a Win/Win for the operator and the consumer!
On top of having detailed information on individual guests, contactless platforms such as Compeat partner, TabbedOut, along with Compeat, allows operators to get a holistic view of customer and sales information with metrics such as:
- Sales Per Hour & Per Shift (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)
- Tabs Per Hour & Per Shift
- Top Selling Items & High Margin F&B Items
- Product Mix (PMIX)
- Customer Feedback
- Purchase and Repurchase Patterns
Savvy operators are getting more personable with their customers and gaining greater insight and control of their end-to-end customer experience using metrics like these to manage their operations, improve their customer experience, and increase their profitability.
It Works in the Restaurants’ Favor
Contactless service will help drive revenue in several other ways such as:
Faster Table Turns. Contactless and more efficient ordering and paying offers multiple advantages to the house. When patrons are ordering right as they arrive or even before they arrive and paying as they leave it means tables are turning over faster and more diners are being served. In fact, industry stats show an 8 percent to 17 percent decrease in guest stay when using a guest facing device at the table. That allows restaurants to better optimize high-demand periods, keep waiting lists short and boost revenue.
Maximize Labor Cost Savings. Did you know that second to food costs, labor is the second largest cost for restauranteurs. Depending on a restaurant’s concept, labor costs can run as low as 25 percent or as high as 40 percent and during these times regulating your labor costs counts more than ever. Giving customers control of their dining experience through contactless ordering also means you need less staff members on the schedule to run each section so you can begin to see your labor costs drop!
Saves on Menu Reprints. Ordering through your app or QR code allows for eco-friendly menu changes in real time, eliminating the need to reprint menus and the danger that guests will attempt to order items that are no longer available. Happier customers equal a better dining experience, more positive online reviews and a higher rate of return visits.
Customers Spend More. Statistics show a 10 percent to 21 percent increase in check amount averages from consumers who order through mobile. The research found that people felt less guilty when they had a card on file because it was easier to make small, spontaneous purchases.
Save the Time and Cost of Writing Employee Checks. If your operation decides to keep the trend and go fully cashless they can choose to pay their employees through a service like rapid! PayCard that allow employers to eliminate paper checks and drive 100% electronic payroll and helps employees to get quick cashless and touchless access to their pay.
Contactless service is key to smooth operations during Covid and post Covid. There are too many benefits to ignore. Do the research and adopt the right contactless service that works best for your operations and your customers.