Contactless Delivery Options Expand Amid COVID-19 Epidemic

In PAR Technology’s 2020 Trends Report, delivery was identified as one of the ways consumers now expect to receive their food. Now, with COVID-19 making it one of the few options remaining in many states, delivery services are trying to find ways to reassure restaurants and consumers that delivery is a safe option. Over the past few years, restaurant owners set up their operations to accommodate this trend, but they could still rely on dine-in service. Over the past few weeks, the coronavirus crisis has forced many restaurant segments (including QSR, fast casual, and casual dining) to focus on contactless delivery, with more meals being enjoyed at home as Americans continue to self-quarantine.

When the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued coronavirus guidelines in March, most of the United States was unaware of how many changes were ahead. News outlets began talking about safe distance measures as they showed the valiant effort of healthcare workers on the front lines of COVID-19.

Incorporating proprietary delivery into your restaurant can be a costly and daunting task, and it isn’t an option for every business owner. Over the past decade, the growth in availability of open APIs like Brink POS means restaurants are able to utilize the cloud to accomplish this feat, by means of integration partners. Now, with states releasing social distancing mandates to slow the spread of the coronavirus, delivery drivers are following stricter precautions to make contactless drop-offs. This can mean leaving the food at the front door and ringing the doorbell instead of handing it directly to consumers, or developing new innovations.

The restaurant industry is addressing the COVID-19 pandemic by offering the following contactless delivery options:

  • DoorDash is making contactless delivery options the default, allowing consumers to text a picture of where they would like delivery drivers to leave their food.
  • Grubhub is encouraging customers to use the notes section of its app to make drivers aware of their contactless preference.
  • UberEats customers can send a message letting drivers know about their preference for contactless food delivery.
  • Domino’s is including the option to add contactless delivery instructions on their ordering app, and recently changed its ad campaign to depict pizza being left at the door.
  • Restaurants on Yelp are offering a contactless option and curbside pickup, and providing links for people to donate to those affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Postmates launched non-contact delivery as a checkout option on March 6.
  • McDonald’s started new delivery initiatives in February in some parts of the world, including taping to-go bags, sanitizing carryout containers, leaving bags attached to customer’s front door knobs so they do not touch the ground, having delivery drivers wear masks, and implementing stricter hand washing measures for its team members.

While keeping up with competitors to maximize profit is a primary goal of any restaurant operator, the coronavirus pandemic is forcing many restaurants to seek other avenues to meet the consumer demand now shifting from dine-in to takeout and delivery only. For more ways to offer contactless ordering in response to COVID-19, check out the following posts: