New Covid Rules Put Table Service At The Front Of The Queue
The new rules for restaurants and bars have put a new emphasis on the important of contact-less ordering.
In the UK, the government has introduced new rules that restrict hospitality businesses to only taking orders from the table. The aim is to restrict the chances of the virus from spreading. This is because modelling shows that the virus can spread at or near the bar area where customers are more likely to mingle.
It is believed that in hospitality, if the customer can have less reason to move within a venue, then the virus spread can be halted. Table ordering is seen as a way of limiting customer movement. It stops people going to the bar to place orders and interacting or passing each other on the way to the bar.
Announcing the new restrictions, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK has reached ‘a perilous turning point’ in the battle against coronavirus. Other steps are likey to be taken across the kingdom. In addition to the table service restriction, venues will need to close from 10pm.
What does this mean for business?
These restrictions are sure to cause new found uncertainty for business. Just a few weeks after the highly successful eat out to help out scheme started to get the the industry back on its feet, its now a case of full reverse gear.
These new rules are certain to impact consumer confidence. Will diners venture out as much as they did before? If they can't go to the bar will they order as much? And what about staff, will they want to serve customers, going from table to table, potentially putting themselves at increased risk? What about the all important Christmas bookings? What do these new restrictions mean for those?
The obvious impact will be increased costs. For many venues, the extra effort of servicing table orders will require more staff, especially for pubs and bars.
Will the customer feel as confident, knowing that to arrive and eat in a venue they will need to get close to a member of your staff on multiple occasions.
Track and Trace
What happens in a customer is found as Covid positive? Does this mean your staff will need to self isolate? Does that mean you need more staff on standby?
The christmas trade is a big one, will the new rules and restrictions limit how many people book those end of year christmas dos?
It turns out there is a solution
We are in interesting times, on the one hand the restrictions sound like the start of more problems. But it turns out things may not be as bad as you think. In fact for some now is a time to grow. How we might ask?
Customers Like Ordering Online
It turns out, customers like to order via their mobile phones. The modern customers is more and more digitally savvy. Already used to ordering everything online via Amazon or similar, your customers are in their happy place when all they have to do is tap an app.
Table Ordering Is A Thing
Ordering from the table at a restaurant is a real thing. Wetherspoons has been doing it for years. So have many of our clients. Customers like it and they tend to order more when using table ordering.
We once got a customer that found it funny to keep ordering peas. We we're completely fine with it as each order for peas made us a healthy profit. Turns out we we're the ones laughing to the bank on that one
What are the benefits?
Table ordering is a fast, convenient way for customers to place orders and in these times of forced table service, an App Based table ordering system has some extra benefits.
Taking an order from the table limits the number of "waiter trips" required to serve a single customer. There is no need to take a menu to the table, no need to take the order, nor is their a need to take a cheque to the kitchen nor return to the table to take payment. All of this is done via the app meaning less waiters. We calculate 25 - 40% less waiting staff are needed for the same number of covers.
Increased Customer Confidence
This crisis has shown one thing, that people still want to eat. The key is to make it feel safe. Restaurants that advertise a Contact Less dining experience are likely to see increased levels of custom. Customers want to feel safe, and what better way to make them feel safe by telling them they can order and pay from the table without needing to speak to a waiter.
Safe For Staff
App based table ordering also means increased safety for your staff. With Pen and Paper based table ordering, your staff need to make multiple visits to every table, each visit carries a risk. This isn't a prospect your staff want. Additionally all those extra trips place additional strain on your staff levels, what happens if a member of staff goes sick. App based table ordering reduces your reliance on staff and helps to keep them safe.
Larger Order Sizes
It's long been known that when customers place orders via an App, they tend to order more. This is because they will happily spend more time deciding what they want and will explore more of your menu. When a human is involved, most customers feel a small amount of pressure to give the waiter their order. Typically people give their "safe" choices. With an App we tend to see customers taking up to 15 minutes chopping and changing their order. The result, larger order sizes.
Using our app, our customers tend to see more frequent re-orders. This is because our app is designed to deliver an endorphin release in your customers when they first use it. This is a result of in app gamification, a proven concept used by the likes of Facebook and Twitter to improve app re-use. We have transitioned these principles into an App experience, something that can never be replicated via the traditional pen and paper method. An example of this is a simple Congratulations message when a customer completes an order, or an in-app achievement issues to the customer for completing certain tasks. Gamification is a phenomenon that the largest brands exploit, and now with Table based ordering, you can benefit from its effects too.
When you ask a customer to place an order via an app, two things are happening. The first is that they will place an order with you, the second and probably most important fact is that customer has now downloaded and installed your app, with your logo and brand onto their phone. It will likely remain on you customer's phone indefinitely (our apps have an uninstall rate of less than 3% per year). This means you've grabbed some valuable customer data that you be used to market future offers to your customer.
App based table ordering opens the door to new ways to interact with your customer. Fancy issues your customer a discount code, no problem. How about offering them a loyalty scheme, sorted. With app based table ordering, a multitude of new ways to interact with your customers and secure future re-orders become a real option.
How can we help?
The Dept Of Digital provides app based Table Ordering for restaurants, bars and cafés, enabling them to offer a safe, contact free table service to their own customers.