How new Technology and Mobile Apps are helping pubs and bars reopen
There have been many questions surrounding the future of the hospitality industry with the easing of lockdown restrictions, particularly how businesses such as pubs and bars will operate with social distancing rules. With the announcement that outdoor areas and pubs with beer gardens could be allowed to reopen soon in the UK, these businesses have been making efforts to create a more contactless environment, such as providing personal protection equipment for staff along with table ordering.
When pub gardens and outside bar areas open up, the primary consideration will be ensuring the safety of staff and customers. The issue of how to keep customers safe whilst allowing for a profitable number of customers within the venue remains important.
Some restaurants are opting to place protective screens between tables to reduce risk. In Amsterdam, one restaurant has embraced “Pod Dining” where each table is enclosed in a pod ensuring only the server is able to come into contact with the diners at a two metre distance.
Chains like Wetherspoons have announced they will be providing staff with gloves, masks and protective eyewear while each venue will have around ten hand sanitiser stations that customers will be encouraged to use. Additionally, daily health and temperature checks will be given to staff before they enter the premises. Other simple ways of keeping a high hygiene standard include advising staff to hold glasses at the base and offering condiments in disposable sachets instead of reusable containers, as well as replacing glasses, metal cutlery and plates with recyclable plastic cups, paper plates and wooden cutlery. Additionally, there will be staff assigned to monitor the area to make sure that appropriate physical distancing is being maintained.
Technology and Mobile Apps
Other ways to maintain social distancing whilst dining in a pub garden or outside bar as well as limit contact between staff and customers include the increased use of technology and mobile apps. Star works with innovative software companies such as Flooid, whose Hospitality Solution’s thick client mobile app mirrors all fixed Point-of-Sale capabilities, such as enjoying real-time spot checks and one-click suggested procurements, taking orders and payments at the table, making inventory counts and ordering simpler, and collectively, minimizing wastage and enhancing accuracy.
Another is Tabology, whose smart apps allow customers to order food and drinks at their table instead of queuing up at the bar to order and pay. The order is sent directly to the bar or kitchen printer for preparation improving order speed and accuracy. This encourages customers to order more frequently and stay longer.
Additionally, offering tablet software to view online menus as well as enabling real-time table management, contactless payments and wireless receipt printing such as Accent POS’s Cloud based POS software have been shown to increase average receipt value and enhance service. AccentPOS’ existing functionality enables improved communication between staff and reduces cross-contamination through built-in process flows including, but not limited to, integrated payment. This reduces the need for waiting staff having to manually enter the monetary amount into the payment terminal. With online ordering and payment, pubs and bars can also leverage features such as digital coupons and loyalty benefits. Thanks to this, customers are encouraged to return with offers and discounts based on individual consumption habits.
Furthermore, many pubs and bars are beginning or continuing to offer takeaway and delivery options alongside dine-in. Hospitality software providers such as iZettle quickly moved to support the industry by suspending subscriptions for their iZettle Pro software and reducing online payment transaction fees until the end of June, as well as releasing a new web platform Forever Local to help independent businesses connect with their local communities.
It is likely these options will remain popular for the foreseeable future and with continued innovation from pubs and restaurants, relevant technology and apps to enable change as well as support from customers and their community, things may not be as bleak as originally imagined for business owners.