To say the restaurant sector is under stress today would be an understatement. Just emerging from a bruising lockdown period due to the coronavirus pandemic, the industry is welcoming diners who are cautious about health issues and excessive contact with waitstaff. For some restaurants, the pressures of the current moment may be too much. Many will not survive.
Restaurants that can find innovative ways to serve customers cost-effectively while satisfying new social distancing expectations should find themselves thriving despite a difficult environment. Giving diners the ability for customers to order food using QRC codes and mobile apps can be transformative in this regard. QRC ordering, as exemplified by Komidaz, enables a struggling restaurant sector to emerge successfully from the pandemic. It is poised to be the next big thing in restaurant technology.
Diners are Reluctant to Visit Restaurants
Even as the immediate threat of COVID 19 retreats, restaurant customers are still apprehensive about dining out. Research done in the UK revealed that 57% of people surveyed felt uncomfortable visiting restaurants post lockdown. (YouGov). This is for good reason, as 30% of adults in the UK are over 60, which is a prime demographic for diners. (YouGov) The United States market is similar as [RESEARCH} suggests. Restaurants that can minimize contact with waitstaff will be at an advantage in attracting their customers back. This where QRC ordering has great potential.
How QRC ordering works
Unlike the traditional, “Hi, my name is Steve and I’ll be your waiter” approach to serving food in a restaurant, QRC ordering involves the diner scanning a Quick Response Code (QRC) into his or her phone upon being seated. The code triggers the downloading of a mobile app that presents the diner with the menu, specials, drink options and so forth.
The diner uses the app to order his or her food. The restaurant receives the diner’s order information through its version of the app—the “back end”—and delivers the food to the table. The diner pays for the meal using the app. The app integrates with the restaurant’s Point of Sale (POS) system and enables the restaurant to offer mobile takeout and order ahead services.
Low-contact QRC ordering also solves a huge problem restaurants deal with every day, which is finding and retaining good labor. Last year, labor difficulties arose out of a tight job market. Data from the National Restaurant Association shows that the turnover rate in restaurants was 75% in 2018. Today, the opposite is true, but problems persist.
Why QRC ordering is a good for the restaurant business
QRC ordering provides a number of distinct business benefits for restaurants, both in today’s pandemic and in the future. For one thing, it’s arguably better for customer experience. Diners might even prefer ordering with an app. Indeed, seventy-three percent of restaurant goers agree that restaurant technology improves their experience. According to McKinsey, customers who shop online and are accustomed to the convenience of apps now expecting the same experience in restaurants.
In health terms, having very little contact with people is very appealing. This applies to both restaurant staff and diners. Customers may not want to touch a printed menu or engage with a cashier. The cashier doesn’t want to talk to people and handle cash all day, either. Everyone is at greater risk of getting sick in that mode of doing business.
Low-contact QRC ordering also solves a huge problem restaurants deal with every day, which is finding and retaining good labor. Last year, labor difficulties arose out of a tight job market. Data from the National Restaurant Association shows that the turnover rate in restaurants was 75% in 2018. Today, the opposite is true, but problems persist. With many people trying to find work, restaurants will be overwhelmed with applicants and have trouble sorting out who is worth hiring.
Profitability improves with QRC ordering. A quarter of menu prices are attributable to labor. (Trinity Capital 2018 Q3 report) Fewer waitstaff translates into a labor cost savings, as does less reliance on cashiers. The process of taking and delivering the order speeds up, so tables turn more quickly. Fifteen percent of restaurant revenue is lost because of wait time. (Jele, Debjit, Rene, Journal of Operatons Management 2018) There is also less potential for errors and fraud, the latter being an unfortunate reality of having too many poorly-vetted and under-supervised employees handling customer orders.
Making a QRC ordering solution work is about more than just installing an app. The app is just one part of a bigger system that processes orders, integrates with POS systems and manages customer data—securely and in compliance with privacy laws.
The use of apps increases the restaurant’s potential engagement with the customer, too. Traditionally, once the diner has left the restaurants, he or she may never return. The restaurant has no way of establishing a relationship for repeat business or take-out service. With a QRC-based app, the restaurant gains a way to follow up with the customer regularly, creating the potential for repeat business.
The app also provides data about what the customer likes to eat. This is quite valuable. Armed with data, the restaurant can target the customer with special offers on items he or she prefers, rather than random promotions. Traditionally, restaurants have had trouble getting this data, with 29% of restaurants relying on manual comment cards. (Toast)
What makes for a good QRC ordering solution?
Making a QRC ordering solution work is about more than just installing an app. The app is just one part of a bigger system that processes orders, integrates with POS systems and manages customer data—securely and in compliance with privacy laws. Komidaz provides the kind of dynamic, scalable back end that makes the app on the customer’s phone perform to the benefit of the restaurant.
Komidaz’s backend application is cloud-based, so it can grow and flex with changing requirements. It enables the restaurant operator to manage the menu, handle orders and promotions and communicate with customers. Because it is cloud-based, there is no investment required for hardware or software. The restaurant can start using the application right away, without having to install it or hire people to manage it.
The next big thing
As restaurants struggle to reopen and regain the level of business they enjoyed before the pandemic, they must embrace new ways of doing business. QRC ordering enables restaurants to attract a clientele by keeping contact to a minimum. This services to allay fears that dining in a restaurant could be a health risk. QRC ordering also drives greater profitability, mitigates the difficulties of recruiting and retaining waitstaff and offers a path to greater engagement with diners of the long term. For these reasons, QRC ordering shows great promise to be the next big thing for the restaurant industry.