Over the past few months, the world has had to deal with a phenomenon it really never expected. The disruption that the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the world has changed consumers’ lives, and its fingerprints will remain for a long time. Consumers have had to alter their lifestyles and the way they think, down to their most basic habits – including thinking twice before daring to order food.
Entire populations have experienced quarantine and other significant restrictions, but as countries begin to reopen, how consumers act (i.e. consumption habits) will change significantly. That said, restaurants are in a unique position to up their game as they work to bring customers back – and create a better experience than ever.
Here are some areas where restaurants can self-evaluate to ensure their customers are getting the contactless take-out experience they desire.
Contactless Carryout Will Become an Essential Part of Restaurants’ Business
In order to survive in the restaurant landscape, having a seamless practice for contactless carryout will be very important. This starts in the kitchen. When restaurants are able to connect their point-of-sale systems all the way through packaging and quality assurance, management is given a level of control that allows them to shift their focus to serving the customer.
Additionally, the ability to predict exactly when the food will be ready for pick-up through real-time updates is essential, particularly as consumers opt for contactless “virtual DriveThru” and other pick-up options. In fact, consumers say they are using delivery services (DoorDash, Caviar, GrubHub, etc.) more than they did before, with a majority saying they would be more inclined to order for carry out over delivery if given the option for a contactless experience.
Protection and Sanitation Are a Must
We’ve entered a period of time where the need for protection and sanitation have been greatly heightened and enforced, a requirement that isn’t going to go away. Those who can arm themselves with the right means and technologies to ensure consumers are getting the highest quality food will be at an advantage to their competitors.
In a recent survey, a majority of respondents said that food delivered not using protective gear would deter them from ordering from the same restaurant again. Additionally, a majority of respondents said that they would be more comfortable with delivery if they were able to monitor their order’s preparation from start to finish.
With the advanced technology that exists today, particularly with AI and machine learning, there is no reason why food preparation can’t be monitored from start to finish. When restaurants take the step to show their customers that they are adhering not only to basic sanitation measures, but are going beyond that standard to ensure 100% customer comfortability, they will come out on top.
Understanding Where Consumers’ Issues Actually Lie
The most important thing to consider is where consumers are repeatedly having issues with ordering out. If a restaurant can cater to their customers exactly the way they would as if they were dining-in, then the restaurant will be at an advantage. Nearly half of consumers said that they have had a poor delivery experience, primarily due to orders being wrong or incomplete, the order not being hot and fresh, and delivery taking too long – all things that can be easily addressed so that they never happen again. Now, as consumers look to carry out as their new “delivery,” these issues need to be controlled even more with the customer getting a glance at the order before they even leave the parking lot.
If restaurants can live up to the promise of giving their customers an experience they not only deserve, but expect, customer loyalty is going to flourish, and in turn, boost the restaurant’s reputation.