There's no doubt that anyone running a hospitality business longs for the day when normal life can resume. But, until that day comes, it's worth considering how technology can help you reopen doors and serve customers in a covid-secure manner.
As of July 2020, the government guidelines for England state that businesses should maintain 2m social distancing but, where this isn’t possible, 1m is acceptable if accompanied by additional safety measures like face coverings. However, from 1st August 2020, businesses in England will be able to implement staff safety ‘at their discretion’.
Naturally, this ever-evolving rule book has sparked a lot of concern as to what hospitality businesses can and can't do. One of the many challenges pubs, bars and restaurants are facing at this time is how to offer their service in a way that keeps both staff and customers safe.
As thousands of businesses across the UK join the Government's Eat Out to Help Out scheme today, we take a look at four tools that can help hospitality businesses get back on their feet and serve customers whilst staying safe.
TableDrop is a free table service app for bars, restaurants, pubs, and cafes that’s available for both Apple and Android. All you have to do is create a profile for your business, advertise TableDrop in your premises and encourage your customers to download the app. Once downloaded, your customer will be able to find your profile and enter their name and phone number before placing their order.
If a customer is already signed up to TableDrop, the app will bring up your profile automatically as a customer enters your store by accessing their location data.
Here’s how it works:
- Customer downloads app
- Customer enters their name and phone number
- Customer selects table number
- Customer selects items from the menu to their order
- Customer sends the order to the TableDrop app at the venue
TableDrop removes the need for customers to approach the bar, queue at a till or speak to wait staff at their table, which leaves your staff at a safe distance processing and checking orders and payments.
Ombori’s customer flow management system allows stores to maintain control over the number of people in their store at any given time and offers a virtual queuing system that removes the need for in-person queues.
Virtual queues are a great way for you and your customers to maintain a safe distance whilst still accessing the service they came for. A wide range of businesses will find Ombori useful, including pharmacies, retail stores, supermarkets and more.
You will need to post and QR code or URL at the entrance to your premises that asks new arrivals to join your virtual queue. When customers scan the QR code they’ll be allocated a number in the queue and can return when they reach the ‘front’. This system avoids dangerous overcrowding in your premises and groups of people gathering outside your door.
Other features include:
- Real-time updates for customers and management (e.g. 0 in the queue, 9 in-store, max capacity reached)
- No download required (uses a web interface)
- Apple wallet integration
- Time slot booking capability
- Analytics and statistics that can be managed from the dashboard
- The option to open or close queues at any time
Ombori is the perfect social distanced virtual queuing solution, allowing businesses to create a low-risk environment.
3. Jisp App
Jisp App is an all-in-one contactless shopping and delivery service app. The app has become very popular in stores around the UK over the last couple of months, offering frictionless shopping and removing the need for tills by moving transactions online.
The aim of the app is to allow businesses to run ‘business as usual’, as much as they can, whilst remaining contact-free. Individuals are naturally – and rightly – shying away from using paper vouchers and cash, so Jisp App offers electronic alternatives.
Customers can browse a store’s inventory on their smartphone app, add items to their basket, pay for them in a contactless manner without standing in a queue, and opt to have them delivered to their home.
The well-known restaurant and take-away home delivery app, Deliveroo, has recently released a table service tool that will enable diners to order, enjoy, and pay for their food from their phones.
Table Service offers a contactless dining experience so your customers can enjoy their dining-out experience without worrying about contact with a server. Plus, it frees up your staff to spend more time on all that extra cleaning and on fulfilling those takeaway orders.
Deliveroo will provide venues who use their Table Service app with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which takes the strain of sourcing PPE off of your shoulders and adds an extra layer of protection for your staff and customers.
Table Service offers contactless ordering and payments, as well as 'test and trace' contact-tracing that will alert your customers and staff if anyone they’ve been in contact with has tested positive for Covid-19.
And if that wasn’t enough, Deliveroo is also promoting a pickup service, which enables your customers to order their favourite meal and collect it directly from your premises – saving your business money on delivery costs, whilst maintaining social distancing guidelines.
In addition to the above, there are plenty of ground-breaking tools and apps out there that you should explore, many of which may well change the way your hospitality business operates in the long-run. These apps will not only help you offer your products and services in a safe way – protecting your staff and customers – but can also drive sales in hard times.
About the Author
Georgie Peru is a content contributor for Hosting Ninja - a website dedicated to providing the public with valuable information, news, and reviews about web hosting. The team uses data that's personally analysed and tested to put together web hosting comparisons, reviews and blog posts that inform users about the best web hosting providers.