Quick Guide to Contactless Online Ordering

With 88% of the United States now mandating that restaurants switch to delivery or takeout only, more restaurants are expanding their on-premise mobile ordering options to meet the COVID-19 mandates of each state.

On-premise mobile ordering is a contactless way to enable ordering and payment right from your customers’ smartphones whether they sit in their cars or pick up in-store. In an interview with Yahoo Finance, Yum! Brands CEO David Gibbs mentioned that China was first to innovate with contactless methods, providing sealed delivery bags to health and safety-conscious consumers amid the global coronavirus pandemic.

According to Gibbs, mobile phones are ideal for kiosk-type ordering because they do not have to come into contact with anyone else. This not only complies with social distancing requirements, it gives consumers a modern, convenient way to interact with your brand and saves your restaurant from having to invest in additional hardware.

By implementing cost-effective innovations with a quick turnaround, you are taking a proactive step in preparing for a future in which consumers may opt for contactless pickup even after the threat of COVID-19 diminishes. The key is staying open-minded, positive and forward-thinking. In a recent Restaurant Unstoppable podcast, Dean Small, the owner of a restaurant consulting firm, said that dine-in service may not return to normal until Q1 2021, since consumers will still be cautious once restaurants reopen their seating areas. In the meantime, Small emphasizes the importance of maintaining an emotional connection with your guests. During these tough times, that includes ensuring each customer knows you have safe-handling procedures in place like contactless ordering.

How to Start Accepting On-Premise Online Orders

Follow these easy steps to learn more about generating the QR codes you can print on signs, pedestals, windows, outdoor order screens, or any other spot in your parking lot that allows customers to drive up and scan them.

There are a number of different ways you can personalize online ordering solutions for your restaurant, including the following possibilities:

Virtual Drive-Thrus or Drive-Ins

All you have to do is generate QR codes for each parking spot you want to use for on-premise mobile ordering following these steps.

After this, you can:

  • Print QR codes onto one or a combination of the following: Signs, stickers, decals, or pedestals
  • Have employees bring out food to customers (customers can also pick up in-store)

Once this is complete, consider these tips:

  • Place A-frame signs to the left of each parking spot so drivers can easily pull up and roll down their window to scan the QR code with their smartphone.
  • To allow customers to quickly identify virtual drive-thru/drive-in parking spots, print QR codes on decals that you can stick to the ground of each spot.
  • Share your commitment to safe, digital ordering by posting your QR code on social media, allowing customers to scan, order and pay from their homes and pick up their food from your actual drive-thru by giving their name at the order speaker.

Virtual Kiosks

You can also create a virtual kiosk in your parking lot by printing out your QR code on a standalone sign. Cardboard A-frame signs would be ideal for this task, as they allow consumers to both walk and drive up to them and can be placed anywhere in your parking lot. This also saves you time, since you only have to use one central sign and can still provide a contactless way for customers to order.

If you already have an outdoor screen, you can also display the QR code here for a paperless method of setting up your virtual kiosk. Either way, customers will be able to avoid touching any screens other than their own smartphones – reducing the risk of transmitting germs and reinforcing your mission to provide safe ordering methods for your customers.

Signs in Your Window

If you don’t want to use other parking lot signage than what you have now, simply put the QR codes on the windows of your restaurant to allow customers to walk up and scan. Customers will then be able to order and pay on their phones and wait for their meal in their car – giving you the flexibility to have customers pick up in the restaurant or bring the food out to them.

With all three methods of accepting on-premise mobile ordering, customers will be able to browse your menu without worrying about spreading germs. Even when state restrictions lift, you can still use these solutions in addition to more traditional methods of ordering – providing yet another way consumers can interact with your brand.

PAR launched a new solution to address the challenges of COVID-19 restrictions called PARk it™, but these tips will work for all restaurants. If you want to learn more about PAR’s specific solution, check out our all new digital ordering page.