COVID-19 has turned the restaurant industry completely on its head over the last four months, and unfortunately, these effects likely will not be short-term.
States across the nation are in different stages of reopening. In places like Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, indoor dining has become a reality again. The New York Metro area is limited to outdoor dining only, and Texas is closing bars and reducing restaurant occupancy as cases spike. No matter what stage of reopening a restaurant falls within, the reality is, there are complicated guidelines and restrictions in place that businesses must follow to remain open.
Bentobox, a hospitality platform that empowers restaurants with revenue-driving websites and online ordering, conducted a survey to gain insight about what customers expect from restaurants. They found that 88 percent of them expect restaurant staff to be required to wear masks and gloves within the first month of reopening and that their largest is the cleanliness of the tables and prepared food.
Sanitizing protocols and creating proper space between tables are just some of the complicated concerns restaurants are addressing. Even trickier? Figuring out how to safely interact with customers in such close quarters. To do so, restaurants are rapidly adopting technology to better communicate with customers and effectively resume operations.
Technology has long helped with convenience and efficiency at restaurants, especially when reducing costs, enhancing the customer experience, and maximizing labor productivity. It’s clear now that there’s an increased reliance on tech to keep people safe and healthy. Using technology enables customers to stay in their cars, abide social distancing, and limit hand-to-hand and face-to-face interactions.
Many restaurants saw just how critical technology support was during the pandemic. For example, Denny’s reported that between February and April 2020, the average unit volumes for off-premises sales more than doubled. Curbside pickup represented 57% of April transactions. Keeping up with high volumes of off-premise sales wouldn’t have been possible without durable technology.
Throughout the pandemic, and as we move forward, restaurants are heavily relying on online/in-app ordering, electronic menus, self-order kiosks, contactless payment systems, POS systems, and guest engagement apps to operate proficiently.
The truth about technology, however, is that all systems eventually fail. The pandemic has increased reliance on interconnected and cloud-based solutions, making restaurant’s network infrastructure critical for smooth operations. The same Bentobox survey mentioned above also highlighted the importance of technology, with customers indicating a restaurant’s website as the number one source to find the most up-to-date information and to utilize as the main touchpoint between themselves and the restaurant.
Operating in a pandemic is already an extremely stressful feat for restaurants. There’s no room for management to worry about network connectivity issues and equipment downtime. Access to efficient tech support, both remotely and onsite, is a key component to your restaurant staying afloat during this time.
In a post-COVID world, the restaurants that will succeed will be able to rely on tech to offer onsite, low-contact/no-contact experiences to customers. All of which isn’t possible without trustworthy IT support.
Sagent provides support in the case that any restaurant technology fails. We offer technical support, spares management, network verification, and technician deployment to keep your network up and running.
To learn more about partnering with Sagent for restaurant IT hardware support, please contact us today. We guarantee to reduce the break/fix repair time on your network gear and place technicians locally so your restaurant can have same day services instead of next day.