Pivoting During the Pandemic: Bite Builds on Contactless Culture

It’s pretty safe to say restaurants had been moving more toward online and in-app ordering and payment long before COVID was a thing.

The rise of contactless ordering in restaurants is nothing new. It’s pretty safe to say restaurants had been moving more toward online and in-app ordering and payment long before COVID was a thing. 

When the pandemic clamped down on the world and forced restaurants to adapt or die, contactless ordering exploded in ways the industry had not thought possible in such a short timeframe. In many ways, 2020 essentially took the five-year plan concepts had been building toward and crushed it, turning those long-term plans into short-term realities. 

The pandemic has undeniably shaped the restaurant of the future, from QR codes and contactless ordering to payment, third-party delivery, and data-driven loyalty programs and analytics. Bite was there to help facilitate growth and expansion for their concepts, with kiosks and digital ordering software that gave restaurants a lifeline when they needed it most. Today, the company is sitting in a prime position to ensure guests receive the best restaurant ordering experience available with as little human contact as possible. 

We recently spoke with Emily New, Director of Growth for Bite, to learn how the company is simplifying life for guests and how their kiosks help address the industry’s growing labor issue.

So how did COVID-19 impact your customers?

Like a majority of the restaurant industry, our customers faced tough decisions regarding closures and downsizing. Many shifted to to-go only or limited the number of employees in-store, and Bite’s digital ordering suite was a critical resource for them, especially related to throughput.


What pandemic initiatives did you implement that your customers adopted and are now permanent?  

Bite has always provided top digital ordering software to help our customers create an elevated experience for their guests. It continued through the pandemic with an additional bonus of safety, thanks to the ability to have multiple socially distanced ordering points throughout our customers’ restaurants. 

Kiosks were on the rise as line-busting products pre-COVID. Has the pandemic changed how guests interact with them?

One of the positives of the pandemic has been an even higher rate of adoption of kiosks — guests are now searching for contactless ordering options out of habit and comfort. Some of our clients no longer find it necessary to have instructions on their kiosks. Guests intuitively know to scroll and swipe through products and offerings. A large part of that is due to the increase of technology in our daily lives from the pandemic.

How do products like contactless ordering and machine learning change the amount/types of labor needed? Can it help the industry respond to an ongoing labor crisis?  

Absolutely — one of the benefits of using Bite’s digital ordering suite is the decrease in labor costs. We believe that contactless ordering has moved from a nice-to-have to a must-have to help restaurants navigate the labor shortage. Bite clients can reallocate labor where it has the biggest impact on the customer experience, which isn’t always behind the ordering counter.  

What will be the lasting impact of the pandemic on the restaurant industry?

Restaurants have been forced to rethink what true hospitality is. Traditionally thought of as being centered around face-to-face interaction, it’s really about providing guests with what they need where they need it, usually on a device. Technology is here to stay, and with Bite you can create a custom, memorable experience for each guest, leading to higher satisfaction (and check sizes)!


What is Bite doing to continue innovating in 2021 and beyond?  

Our mission is to elevate hospitality everywhere, and that dictates our product strategy. We will continue to focus on ways to remove friction for guests when ordering and paying. 2020 and the start of 2021 have surfaced a lot of opportunities — stay tuned! 

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