The COVID-19 has radically changed the way people consume in bars and restaurants. The measures imposed in the de-escalation, such as the replacement of paper cards by QR codes, have been extended in the “new normality”. The moment ‘forces’ the catering sector to reinvent itself and to bet on new forms of consumption more in line with the times we live in. At this point, it is striking that, in a widespread way, they have digitized their menus, an initiative that not only prevents contagion but also opens a range of possibilities for the establishment in its relationship with the customer.

The digitalization of the menu in these establishments has been the first step of the catering sector in the digital world. The situation rules and has led to a mini express digitalization of the companies in the field, but why not maximize this effort and explore all the possibilities that opens the digitization of the menu? We are talking about managing the entire relationship with the customer during his stay in the establishment and even taking it further and using it as a loyalty tool.

Nowadays, almost all hoteliers have digitized their menu. Most have done so using a QR code that, once scanned, takes the customer to the website of the restaurant where the menu is. This way is, by all means, a solution conditioned by the urgency of the situation, but with the certainty that for a long time the way of consuming in the bars and restaurants will hardly be like before. So, why not approach this digitalization from another perspective: an opportunity to ‘connect’ with a new consumer profile, concerned about the fear of contagion, but also tremendously digitalized.

Many consumers have downloaded for the first time any shopping app (retail, food, etc.) during the peak of confinement. By creating its own app, restaurants can offer a more detailed menu and include other functionalities as is already done in other sectors. Through the app the customer can order directly without the need for a waiter to go to the table, reducing the moments of contact of the customer with the staff and therefore the chances of contagion. But not only that, it also allows the business manager to operate with fewer staff.

In addition, customers can pay directly from the app. This speeds up the management of the establishment’s tables and avoids contact with physical money or POS, reinforcing the idea of a secure establishment.

This type of app, which is fully customizable, also allows a whole range of value-added services that can help build customer loyalty in these turbulent times. Thus, for example, once the customer is registered to view the menu or order, you can offer him discounts or promotions and even a points card. A whole new world of possibilities that helps establishments to improve the user experience, making it safer, more agile and more rewarding. Why not use this customer base, or at least keep it for the future, for a home-delivery service?

The COVID-19 has been an important revulsive for digitalization in all sectors, to which the restaurant industry has not been immune. The current situation is a tremendous opportunity for establishments to bet on entering the app world, in which their customers are already moving, facilitating the security that today’s consumer demands and providing a more comfortable experience. A necessity in the times we live in and in those to come.

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