Due to the upheaval in the industry in 2020, restaurant operators are turning to their software developers/ISVs and restaurant IT solutions providers for help. As officials put a moratorium on dine-in service, restaurateurs shifted their operations to delivery and takeout — which are not managed efficiently with IT solutions designed for table service. Your clients now need new technology, including mobile printing solutions, to maximize operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.
Delivery and Takeout Are More Than Passing Trends
Research confirms that restaurant delivery and takeout increased during the recent economic shutdown. A CivicScience survey revealed that by the end of March, 36 percent of U.S. consumers were using food delivery services more than usual, up from 23 percent mid-March.
The reasons are clear. More people are staying home, either by government order or due to health concerns, so delivery makes sense for them. When consumers do venture out, they’re complying with social distancing guidelines, so curbside pickup helps them avoid lines.
Furthermore, as restaurants begin to open back up for table service, whether in a limited capacity in their dining rooms or in outdoor dining spaces, they will likely see the demand for delivery and takeout continue as well. Some people will continue to shelter in place due to underlying health conditions, and others simply will prefer to maintain their distance at this time.
Also, keep in mind that takeout and delivery were growing trends prior to 2020. There is no reason to believe consumers who have already adopted those practices won’t continue to take advantage of the ease and convenience of ordering ahead and having their meals ready when they want them.
The Advantages of Online Ordering Platforms and Mobile Printing Solutions
With restaurants shutdown or operations running at only a fraction of their full capacity for several months, owners and managers found ways to serve the greatest possible number of customers, efficiently and profitably, to sustain their businesses. Even restaurants that hadn’t offered menu items for takeout or delivery quickly adapted their menus and partnered with a third-party platform or implemented online ordering solutions to keep revenues coming in.
The ability to accept an online order, however, is only a part of a restaurant’s takeout or delivery operation. Your restaurant clients with new online ordering operations may be struggling with integrating orders with their point of sale (POS) or restaurant management systems. Integration allows the kitchen and food prep areas to receive orders automatically, rather than staff rekeying them or manually taking them to the kitchen. Restaurants also need efficient processes that ensure orders are ready on time for when the customer arrives or for delivery drivers.
Mobile printing solutions are extremely valuable to these operations. When thermal label printers, such as the Epson TM-L90 Plus label printer, are integrated with the restaurant’s system, staff can prepare labels with the customer’s name, items ordered and the number of packages for pickup or delivery. Labels help ensure the proper items are prepared and packaged for the order. Subsequently, integrated mobile printing solutions, for example, Epson’s mobile printing solutions that enable staff to print from smartphones, laptops, and tablets, minimize errors and delays, reducing waste and increasing customer satisfaction. They also help communicate the message that the restaurant’s brand is efficient, modern, and professional.
Mobile Printing Solutions for Better Curbside Experiences
In some cases, restaurants are allowing customers to place orders curbside by adapting pay-at-the-table devices. Servers, wearing appropriate personal protective equipment and maintaining social distancing, can use the devices to take orders and accept payment, eliminating the need for customers to stand in line at a walk-up window.
Mobile printing solutions allow servers to print accurate, legible orders car side to share with the kitchen as well as provide customers with receipts upon request. Thermal label printers also add value to these operations by allowing the food prep area to label takeout containers accurately and professionally for delivery to the correct vehicles.
Optimizing Processes to Help Clients Get the Most from their Investments
Solutions that optimize takeout and delivery operations can be smart investments for your restaurant customers. Even though stay-at-home orders are lifting, restaurants could face future restrictions if they are reinstituted. Additionally, some customers won’t feel comfortable dining out for some time. Online ordering allows restaurants to accommodate those diners and maintain relationships with all of their customers, regardless of how they want to engage.
To learn more about integrating your software applications with mobile printing solutions, visit BlueStar’s Epson landing page: http://www.bluestarinc.com/us-en/technologies/mobility/featured-products/epson.html