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Operations

Elevating the guest experience in a contactless environment

How to enhance guest experience with minimal or no interaction.
Photograph: Shutterstock

With some areas seeing dining rooms reopening, restaurants are now able to serve their communities in a larger way. But with reopening comes a new set of guidelines and regulations that operators have to take into account. Reduced capacity, cleaning requirements and other aspects of this new reality mean that operators will have to work extra hard to ensure their customers have the best experience possible.

But even as dining rooms open, operators won’t be getting the same volume of business they did before the coronavirus pandemic. With a significant portion of consumers reporting they’re still concerned about the safety of dining in, takeout and delivery will continue to be heavy hitters for restaurants. In fact, a survey released in late July by consulting firm AlixPartners found that full 80% of consumers reported ordering meals for off-premise consumption, up from 69% in the firm’s April survey. That means operators need to shift their focus to enhancing and upgrading the off-premise experience to ensure total satisfaction. These new hospitality touchpoints will be key in making sure diners still have great experiences, even if there is minimal or no interaction with staff.

Rethink the order pickup process

One way operators can ensure a great experience is by rethinking how takeout and delivery orders are handled. Some restaurants’ pickup process involves placing all pickup orders on the same shelf or in the same area, which means customers and third-party delivery drivers have to sift through a pile of bags to find theirs, touching many that aren’t theirs. Pickup lockers, however, are designed to be opened with a code unique to each order, so customers have access to their order and their order alone.

Since high-touch areas are a big concern for consumers, shifting to a contactless option, such as automated Order Pickup Solutions from Apex, can be a great choice for both takeout and third-party delivery orders. These pickup lockers feature a two-sided design that minimizes face-to-face contact between workers and customers.

Prevent crowding in the lobby

What’s more, Apex Order Pickup Solutions also prevent crowding in the lobby and help to limit interactions with dine-in guests. Customers and third-party delivery drivers alike can pick up orders swiftly and be in and out, rather than needing to linger in the waiting area while employees work to bring out their order.

Delivery drivers and customers receive a text or push notification when their order is ready, which contains the code they’ll need to open the locker compartment. By ensuring that delivery drivers and customers know exactly when to visit the restaurant to pick up their food, operators can eliminate groups of people waiting around in the lobby—groups that not only contribute to uncomfortable crowding, but that also signal a long wait to potential dine-in customers, who then choose to go elsewhere.

Meeting customers’ standards for both safety and service will be crucial in the coming months—even if they’re just picking up an order to go. By changing hospitality touchpoints and updating processes, including using contact-free pickup lockers from Apex, operators can feel confident they’re providing the best experience possible.

Learn more about Apex Order Pick-Up Solutions at apexsupplychain.com.

This post is sponsored by Apex Supply Chain Technologies

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