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How to utilise the right digital tools to run a restaurant in the face of COVID-19, with solutions that support health and safety measures.

COVID-19 will remain a reality as long as a vaccine or cure isn’t on the cards. While restaurants can neither change nor predict the course of the pandemic, they can equip themselves with the right digital tools to stay afloat. Despite the doom and gloom surrounding the impact of COVID-19, restaurateurs also saw areas of growth. In our white paper update that accessed the impact of dine-in restrictions in Singapore, 44.3% of restaurants reported digital transformation as one of them, with staff going through upskilling. 

As you move on from the initial fear and panic, through restrictions and an eventual reopening, learn to co-exist with COVID-19 by incorporating digital solutions that address regulations and restrictions, and support new revenue streams.

1. Utilise an online reservation system.

You’re already aware of the numerous benefits of employing an online reservation system. But in the face of a pandemic, the added extras are two-fold. Firstly, it’s an effective contract tracing tool, especially in markets where government-mandated check-ins (such as Singapore’s SafeEntry) aren’t available. As evidenced in the region, contact tracing has been instrumental in locating and minimising infected clusters.

With ChopeBook, you can access diner reservation details that are complete with contact information. These records build your digital diner directory, which then becomes an important tool in building your digital marketing strategy. Personalise experiences by collecting data including order and visit history, and diner notes.

Secondly, Chope’s booking widget allows additional fields such as health declarations, acceptance of terms and conditions, or acknowledgement of any restrictions or curfews. With these fields, you’ll get to inform diners about any restrictions ahead of their visit — they won’t show up surprised.

Automate processes such as instant booking confirmations and reminders.

2. Upgrade to an online table management system.

As a result of safe distancing measures, your restaurant now has to deal with limited capacity at each service. With the unpredictable nature of COVID-19, you would have to continuously amend the floorplan as and when such restrictions are lifted or eased. A table management system like ChopeBook is a handy and mobile tool to optimise your table layout, amend the floorplan on the go, and get clear visibility for quicker turnovers. 

You’ll also get a birds’ eye view of occupancy and upcoming bookings to better understand incoming demand from advanced reservations. In a COVID-19 world, this allows your front-of-house staff breathing room to sanitise surfaces and items in between covers.

Available on iPad, ChopeBook allows you to amend floor plans and access diner notes on the fly.

3. Take your queues offline to online.

The ideal COVID-19 world is a crowd-less one, and as a restaurant, it’s your responsibility to ensure that crowding is kept to a minimum. 

ChopeQueues allows diners to show up and take a digital queue number without having to physically wait in line. Diners will be updated of their queue status and waiting time without crowding around your restaurant. You’ll be able to seat parties based on group size, and automate processes such as calls and text confirmations. ChopeQueues gives you visibility on your e-queue while eliminating physical queues.

4. Adopt a contactless ordering and payment system.

Across service industries, contactless transactions are the way forward. Restaurants have been encouraged to refrain from using cash in favour of contactless and mobile payments instead. This is further extended to orders, with diners making orders online to minimise touchpoints and contact with staff. 

Upload your menu to your website or an order form, and place a QR code stand on each table. Like any good physical menu, ensure that you list the description and price under each menu item. Issue e-receipts and bills straight to the diner’s email inbox instead of physical copies.

Bring the mobile payment system to each table so that diners don’t crowd around the cashier.

5. Bank in on additional revenue streams by taking your business online.

While we rejoice at dine-in resumptions and ease of restrictions across the region, we can’t completely raise our glasses just yet. Don’t leave behind those alternative revenue streams you’ve built during the lockdown. Although restaurants can expect pent-up demand, there are still a number of diners who prefer to stay home, and here’s when they’ll need to rely on online retail to get by — as do you. 

Engaging with a delivery service such as Chope On Delivery ensures an end-to-end solution with an e-commerce platform, payment gateway, management dashboard, and logistics service. You can also raise your AOV by employing a minimum order requirement of your choice. Chope On Delivery also offers a single delivery charge for orders across concepts in close proximity and caters for special occasions by taking prepaid orders up to seven days in advance.

Delve into e-commerce by retailing food items, meal kits, and experiences. With a partner such as ChopeDeals, you’ll get to maximise distribution channels and create sales opportunities via Chope’s network of marketplaces.

Watch our Restaurant Restart Video Series to journey with an owner, manager, and diner of a restaurant as they pivot to Phase 2.

Subscribe to Chope For Restaurants for tips, advice and more how-tos. 

Download COVID-19 Restaurant Reopening Playbook

Adibah Isa

A digital and print journalist turned content manager for brands that believe in the power of storytelling.


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