After all 78 locations of sports-themed restaurant Twin Peaks closed due to local restrictions in March, the company quickly changed the way it does business to adapt to the market. In doing so, the business showed the rest of the industry the intrinsic value and staying power of contactless technology.
Prior to the pandemic, Twin Peaks offered customers a second-to-none sporting experience. To comply with social distancing standards, the company turned to OneDine to make customers feel safe when ordering from the restaurant.
“Doing what’s best for our customers and our team members has always been our top priority. When we were planning how to reopen to our guests, we wanted to reinforce our commitment to cleanliness and change the dining experience at Twin Peaks to focus on safety, quality, and guest engagement,” Joe Hummel, CEO of Twin Peaks told Restaurant Technology News.
Restauranteurs of all concepts share Hummel’s desire to offer their customers a safe return to their restaurants. That’s why some have focused their efforts on creating comfortable outdoor seating areas to allow for a similar restaurant experience coupled with the safety of social distancing.
However, there are only so many architectural upgrades restaurants can make. And with the uncertainty of the future that lies ahead, restaurants are looking for ways to establish some consistency in their operations.
Enter: Touchless Technology.
Touchless technology offers restaurants a way to express clear expectations to their customers. Ones that say the restaurant values its customer’s safety over profits. This expectation is quickly becoming a part of the future for restaurants as well.
Dataessential, a data analytics company for food and beverage businesses, implored restaurants to give touchless technology a try in a recent blog post about navigating trouble created by the coronavirus pandemic. “Things that seemed like a point-in-time solution ended up giving consumers a taste of innovative and an easy solution, that will now have staying power over the long term,” the company said.
But, limiting contact between employees and customers is not the only benefit touchless technology offers restaurants. Other benefits include providing an easy way for restaurants to offer online menus, the ability for customers to customize their experience, and provide a way to ensure safety on-premise by taking a customer’s temperature when they enter.
And there are several companies offering these solutions to restaurants of all sizes. TOURTech, SpeedPro, and BrightSign currently offer restaurants a way to incorporate QR Code menus. The use of these menus has skyrocketed since local restrictions forced restaurants to dispose of their traditional menus. At the same time, these restrictions showed restaurants how much money that can save by ditching paper for electronic menus.
But, customers don’t always care about how tech-savvy a restaurant’s menu is. Their main focus is on how they experience their service. That’s why Server Products developed the Touchless Experience Dispenser, a dispenser that relies on sensor technology to give customers their condiments.
Several companies like Toast, National Cash Register (NCR), and Square have incorporated touchless payment systems to accommodate customer demands. This technology limits the spread of germs by distancing employees from their customer’s credit or debit cards.
Facial recognition technology also allows customers to “pay with their face” while also taking a customer’s temperature when they enter a business. Companies like PopID offer businesses an affordable solution for these problems. Currently, the technology is used in restaurants like Cali Burger, and plans to expand as the pandemic continues.
Several payment processing companies are also taking note of the increased demand for touchless technology. Visa currently offers cards with touchless payment compatibility. Mastercard is developing its Shop Anywhere and AI Powered Drive Through technology for businesses to offer customers high engagement experiences.
“As retailers and consumers navigate through one of the most disruptive periods in modern history, it’s clear that traditional business operations will need to evolve quickly,” Stephane Wyper, Senior Vice President of Retail Innovation for Mastercard said in a statement. “We’re committed to supporting our retail partners as they look to meet the unforeseen challenges posed by this new normal and provide their customers with a more digitally enabled, touchless, and secure retail experience.”