As the restaurant industry suffers through the first few months of systematic business and economic shutdowns, it not only shows a glimpse of what our world looks like now – but the impact it will have on our economy post-pandemic. The COVID pandemic has had left a line of closed businesses and restaurants in its wake, and after the pandemic is over, we will be waking up to a completely new operational and technological landscape.
One of the most obvious changes we will experience will of course be our payment solutions. We are so used to conventional methods such as paying with cash or credit cards – what happens when these become potentially dangerous carriers of germs? The new born awareness to concern over contagion will be a huge driver for technologies to be fully implemented: including contactless, tap and pay and mobile wallets. These more modern methods avoid person-to-person transfer. In fact, these technologies have existed in the restaurant industry for years and have been slowly adopted by many establishments.
Delivery & Customer Pickup
Its almost obvious that as we move forward with this pandemic customers will become increasingly more concerned about the aspects of food safety as well as the “labor chain” within the restaurant itself. When food is consumed within the establishment, it is likely to go straight from the kitchen and onto the consumers plate. Therefore, within this labor-chain there are people. When it comes to delivery and guest pickup however, the food is prepared, transferred to packaging, bagged, and then stored in a location somewhere outside of the restaurant environment for either a driver to pick up or the customer to do so themselves. The restaurant cannot control the 3rd party delivery driver, restaurants may look to deploy some form of locker system that can maintain the food at a proper temperature until the time of pickup and that can track, secure, and record who picked up the food and the time of pickup.
Fine Dining & Table Service Menus
Germs can exist on plastic surfaces for several days and the newly educated customer will now be more sensitive to the notion of being handed a menu that could have been handed to hundreds of people before them. What happens when consumers suddenly become more safety rational? Restaurants should look to provide an option for a guest to pull up the menu on their own device as well as look to leverage boost menu board technology wherever possible.Does this mean an alteration in the current serving model or perhaps new hardware to be developed?
Daily Health Checks (Temperature)
Not all safety concerns directly impact the customer however; many employees are hesitant to return to their jobs due to safety issues. Many employers will offer employee health checks, and offer safety measure like masks.
Anti-Microbial POS Screens and other device surfaces
Its normal that employees interact on a regular basis with POS hardware and other types of technology. Many of these surfaces are plastic and are breeding grounds for germs. Surfaces like a POS touchscreen, a KDS expeditor, or a biometric thumb scanner are just some common examples. Employers will now be forced to look at solutions, such as anti-microbial POS screens and improved cleaning habits in order to avoid passing on the illness.
Checklists & Alerting
Employees have the right to work in a safe environment. Until now we have looked at that more from a “wet floor, hot stove” as dangerous conditions, however, what about those not free of germs and spreading contagious illnesses to other employees? In the last few months, the risks and threats of the workplace have evolved, and with it so too should the technology we use. Many operators have developed automated checklists to re-work the tasks that ensure cleanliness and monitoring standards of the workplace. As well as key sanitation methods such as using sanitary wipes and hand sanitizer, gloves and so on.