With Big Tech like Amazon offering a tasty £3,000 sign-up bonus to attract Christmas staff, the hospitality industry is set to be dealt another blow to its staffing numbers.
But, many companies in the hospitality industry are still apprehensive to make the switch to QR code order and pay at table systems, despite the positive impacts this could have on their business. Fionn Hart, UK Country Manager at food ordering platform Flipdish, looks at the common misconceptions surrounding table service technology to try and further understand why restaurant owners would be choosing to opt out, especially during a time when they need it most.
A lot of the scepticism around QR code ordering technology appears to come from the pandemic, when many hospitality owners were forced into quickly using second-rate QR code order and pay technology, as table service became the norm, and in some countries, the law. Unfortunately, identifying that business owners needed help and fast, this caused a QR code ordering gold rush, with people creating rushed solutions with bad technology, which ultimately created a poor experience, as well as wasted time and money.
But it doesn’t have to be like this, a good QR code order and pay system allows customers to view the menu, order and pay all online in advance, while also synching with your existing POS system. It gives customers the ease and flexibility to add items to their basket, view meal deals, add sides and drinks as they go, plus order and pay with a digital wallet like Google Pay and Apple Pay.
When looking to invest in QR code ordering technology, hospitality owners will need to spend some time researching legitimate and good technologies. This can easily be done by reviewing customer case studies, looking at who else the platform has on their books, and doing a demo or trial. This small amount of time spent ensuring you find a reliable and intuitive ordering system will soon pay dividends, with increased order values of up to 30%.
For instance, order throttling, which allows you to space out orders so staff won’t be overwhelmed, is one of the many features of table service technologies that can be used to save time and increase restaurant efficiency. A necessity for many restaurant owners at the moment as they continue to suffer from staff shortages, with 45% of restaurant/cafe owners confessing that they are having to ask staff to work longer hours and 47% having to work longer hours themselves to fill the gap.
This can be seen in the case of a Flipdish customer, the Beaumont Arms, who manages to serve 640 outdoor seats from one small bar using this very technology.
When asked about how implementing table service technology had transformed his business, David Robertson owner of The Beaumont Arms said: “A lot of publicans have come in to see how I’m doing it and they think I’m absolutely bonkers with the amount of tables I have outside and the world’s smallest bar. Flipdish helps us do that.” This is just one of many examples of how table service technology can be used to transform the way restaurants operate during the staff shortage and beyond.
However, while table service technology is designed to help assist restaurants when they’re overwhelmed or experiencing staffing shortages, their intention is not to replace staff.
While QR code table ordering does free up floor staff from some administrative tasks, such as dropping off menus, explaining menu items, confirming quantities and taking payments, this does not mean that staff are no longer valuable or necessary for restaurant operations. In fact it’s quite the opposite, as staff – however limited in numbers they may be – are now available to focus on other tasks that help provide an excellent customer experience, such as meeting and greeting guests, answering questions and providing high levels of attention to detail.
This can be shown in the data with a recent Flipdish survey showing that 80% of pub-goers wanted pubs to keep ordering on their phone even after guidelines change. While in Ireland, a recent CGA Reach survey on consumer behaviour cited that 41% now prefer to book, order and pay through technology. Showing that people are beginning to adapt and even prefer the efficiencies brought about by QR code ordering technology, including the increased customer care they receive as a result.
While some customers will never warm to app or website-based ordering out of home, one of the benefits of QR code Order & Pay technology is that you can provide a mix of services to cater to the various tastes and preferences of consumers. For instance, even though traditional printed menus are becoming less common, a trend vastly accelerated by COVID-19, QR code-based ordering allows the customer to experience limited physical touchpoints, less waste and quicker service. Restaurants must, however, ensure that they still provide the option of physical menus for those who do not have the relevant technologies to access online menus or prefer to continue to have physical menus.
This highlights the ways that good quality QR code ordering technologies can work cohesively to support restaurant owners during uncertain times, without compromising the customer experience but enhancing it.
By Fionn Hart, UK Country Manager at Flipdish