This year we have had no choice but to engage in shopping and dining at minimal levels and with minimal interaction.
The hospitality sector was one of the worst hit as our states began the roll out of strategies to flatten the curve of COVID19. With little time to adjust, many were forced to pivot or alter their offerings in order to survive.
As a result, the embracing of contactless technology by the food industry has been fast-tracked. I believe that even with the winding back of restrictions, these contactless food experiences will remain at the forefront of our hospitality offerings as well as the preferences of diners. There are 4 trends in particular which I believe will remain relevant and prevalent over Christmas and well into 2021.
1. Tap and order table technology and payment at the table
As we venture back into restaurant dining, tap and order table technology is an innovative option which allows customers to place their orders and pay their bill via a QR code on their smartphone. The investment for the integration of table ordering is minimal for restaurants with no app required and seamless integrations with their pre-existing point of sales systems. This allows these businesses to keep their overheads low as well as improve table turnover, another key consideration as many moved to capped booking times. This technological advancement supports the in-dining experience many consumers are still keen to have whilst providing a viable contactless option and something I believe will continue to become more commonplace in the next 12 months.
2. Drive through food courts
Contactless drive through ordering technology is the new wave of retail innovation that is helping retailers adjust their offering as shoppers navigate through the unprecedented pandemic in Australia. Many of our major shopping centres are now supporting 'Click & Collect' style drive through dedicated areas for their food retailers and consumers.
Customers simply select a food retailer from the website, place their order online and make a secure payment. Then, they drive up to a pick-up bay at the allocated time. Food is delivered straight to the car. Social distancing is maintained, customers can enjoy eating out and retailers can keep operating.
3. Contactless delivery - on demand delivery
This was a game changer for many of our clients when we rolled out Order Up, with the addition of Door Dash Drive this year. The concept is not only allowing traditional dine in/take away restaurants to capitalize on the trend of delivery but pivot in a time where the option to eat in has been limited. Restaurants and food service operators are reaping the benefits of a larger customer base by adding the hybrid offering. It opens more doors for these businesses who can now offer online, dine in technology, pickup and delivery through their own system and provides another quick, flexible option for the consumer. This one is a win win for everybody.
4. Google Food ordering - Google Search and Google Maps technology
A relative newcomer to the contactless technology space for the food service industry, this experience allows customers to search for a restaurant name or search term such as “thai restaurants near me” and be presented with a list of options in either Google Search or Google Maps. The customer can then proceed to place a takeaway order with just a click of a button via the button.
John Saadie is founder of Order Up