How Restaurants Upgrade Their Tech To Meet Covid-19 Demands

Going contactless can boost sales and enhance the dining experience

It’s tough out there for the restaurant industry. Full-service restaurants have been hit particularly hard by the current pandemic, but in restaurants that have successfully reopened, contactless technology is helping many of them execute on-premises service more efficiently and safely, without diminishing the dining experience. 

To slow the spread of Covid-19, the CDC recommends not just wearing masks, but also regularly sanitizing or eliminating shared objects, and reducing the frequency and duration of contact with people outside our circles. By replacing or modifying parts of service with contactless technology, like replacing menus with QR codes, restaurants can minimize shared touchpoints and limit interactions between staff and guests while speeding up table turnover and rebuilding customer confidence in dining out.

Where can contact be swapped for tech in the customer journey?

One (more) thing that Covid-19 is showing us is that a lot of person-to-person contact can be replaced with virtual interactions. In restaurants, there are multiple aspects of the dining experience that can now be safely facilitated through technology.

There are at least 4 key steps in the customer journey where contactless technology can replace traditionally high-contact or high-touch aspects of service:

Guest feedback is another area that can be digitized, and feedback prompts can be incorporated into the payment process or can be made accessible at any point throughout the dining experience. 

Features to consider when choosing your contactless system

Where you choose to integrate contactless technology depends on the unique needs of your restaurant. A basic contactless system will include at least the following features:

  • Digital menu,
  • Contactless ordering, and
  • Contactless payment.

Advanced features that can streamline full-service dining include: 

  • Reservation and waitlist integration
  • AI-driven product suggestions 
  • Feedback prompts
  • Call-server functionality
  • Data analytics for real-time sales and product analysis

‘No app required’

Menu and ordering should be available for seated guests without having to download an app, even if you choose to build a unique ordering app as well. Loyalty and reward programs can incentivize guests to use your app for future orders and to order for takeout and delivery, but seated guests should have the option to simply scan the QR code to browse the menu, order, and pay.


Look for upfront setup, annual or monthly subscription, and per order or sales percentage costs, and look out for hidden fees.

POS Integration & Technical Support

If you’re using a separate restaurant point-of-sale, be sure that the contactless system you choose integrates smoothly with your kitchen and bar printing, reservations, and payment gateway. 

Access to 24/7 technical support can be crucial for restaurants that are open evenings and weekends. Make sure you know how much support is included and when it’s available.

Higher sales and more efficient servers

An added benefit of adopting self-service technology in a full-service setting is that it empowers guests to control their own ordering and payment timing. Especially when it comes to time-sensitive sales like adding an extra dish or a second round of drinks mid-meal, self-ordering can increase check averages up to 25% and cut down on delivery time to the table. 

Contactless menus and ordering also free servers to focus on ensuring that health protocols are being followed, guests are enjoying themselves, and that service runs smoothly.

Keeping up with shifting Covid-19 protocols and regulations can be time-consuming and complicated. Klēn for business offers a unique AI-driven solution that tracks and compiles CDC recommendations and industry, local and state requirements into an accessible format, making it a little bit easier to keep adapting.

Not sharing is the new caring

While contactless service seems at odds with our traditional concept of hospitality, because Covid-19 now features so prominently in consumer decisions, consumers seem to have a newfound appreciation for ways to limit contact without sacrificing service. 

Eliminating shared touchpoints, like menus, PIN pads, and pens, can help people relax rather than think about when that menu was last sanitized. Consumer priorities have shifted, and they now care most about how businesses are working to protect the health and safety of staff and guests.

Contactless feels safer

An October survey from Morning Consult showed that 40% of consumers now feel comfortable dining out, up from 33% in August. And, according to a recent survey from McKinsey, a majority of people miss eating in restaurants, but they’re anxious about doing so because of Covid-19 concerns.

Bringing guests back into dining rooms will hinge not just on the current regulatory environment, but on putting them at ease and reassuring them that your business is taking Covid-19 concerns and limitations seriously. We’re becoming hyper-conscious of what we touch, so moving to a contactless system, which allows guests to read the menu, order, and pay with only their personal mobile device, can offer them some peace of mind. 

Contactless service can be a key component in a restaurant’s risk-mitigation strategy, and can also be a deciding factor when someone is choosing where to dine out. With Klēn, customers can easily see which restaurants are offering contactless solutions and what other measures they’re taking to ensure the health and safety of both customers and staff.

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