Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
Thanks to the effects of COVID-19, many small to medium-sized businesses have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. At one time, when Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs) were forced to shut down their physical locations, such companies were essentially forced to adapt or cease to exist. Sales numbers fell and customer service experiences completely flipped on their side, while managers were maneuvering their way over to thriving and keeping alive. Customers were staying at home, to shelter-in and stay safe from the spread of the virus and with that QSR trips decreased by 29%, which doesn’t seem like much at first, but it definitely hit this industry immensely. That’s when restaurants and quick service businesses switched over to the wide world of delivery to reimagine their customer service virtues and expand their sales reach.
Prior to the pandemic, online ordering and delivery made up such a small percentage of offerings coming from small and medium sized restaurants, but as we’ve found ourselves fully immersed in a global pandemic, it’s hard to imagine a world without these dining options. Loyalty apps, and digital ordering platforms are popular now more than ever, and it’s unlikely that they’ll stray away very far, after “the pandemic is over.” Now that online ordering services are so dominant in the hospitality industry, many researchers believe that brands will continue to invest in this array of POS systems to offer even more technologies that can be seamlessly integrated into original offerings and provisions.
According to research conducted by the National Restaurant Association’s State of the Restaurant Industry Report found that more than 53% of adults testify that purchasing takeout or delivery food is an essential way to live life, considering how necessary it is for restaurants to maintain and upkeep accessibility – opening up their channels to place food into the hands of customers through whichever means possible – curbside pickup or delivery, all with the option of completing the order digitally.
When it comes to processing orders, a restaurant’s fulfillment journey is placed at an utmost importance, because if at any time, workers are to get backlogged from a lack of communication, it can result in a downfall for all. In order for success to occur, restaurants must place their attention towards the efficient streamlining of their workflow, rethinking everything to ensure that accuracy is acquired at every step. With an intuitive Point-of-Sale system, a strong website & digital ecosystem, and even the customer service standing, workers can categorize predefined cooking times to prioritize orders, the natural preparation of tasks, and ultimately provide alerts to the kitchen staff if an error were to occur, no matter the nature of its size.
Depending on the location, not all restaurant locations may have access to delivery drivers or drive-thru windows, so at that time, it would be up to the QSR to develop a different mode of delivery. Curbside Pickup is a common method for those who are able to pick up their order, through a contactless interaction that is both seamless and safe at the same time. QSRs can unlock the power of connected devices such as smartphones, to access beacons and tracking points that can monitor where the customer is “in line.” Thanks to this capability, restaurant workers can gain real-time insights on the status and whereabouts of the customer in mind, cutting down on hectic queue lines and hangry (hungry + angry) customers.
Advancements in technology throughout the coming months will be a major make or break for customers and restaurants alike, especially during a global pandemic, but moreover, how will those trends and technologies be embraced after we head “back to normal?” It’s no secret that restaurants have maximized on the great digital acceleration, and such activity has helped to garner an increased state of engagement with customers. Restaurants and hospitality groups would be insane if they were to backtrack on their operational strategies and pull Digital Ordering, Curbside Pickup, and Delivery from their lineup.
The TEConnect Podcast Crew touched upon this ever-important topic back in beginning of the 2020 Quarantine lockdown and it’s still just as relevant today. Be sure to check out the episode if you haven’t already, where John and Dean link up with Josh Stanphill from Epson to dive deeper into how Online and Mobile Ordering have been an absolute game changer for the retail and hospitality industry when it comes to surviving.