Going Touch-Free at Your Restaurant

Sep 30, 2020

While restaurants across the country are re-opening their doors to indoor dining (although perhaps not at full capacity depending on where you are), social distancing, heightened sanitizing, and overall elevated health protocols remain vital to these foodservice operations. Unfortunately, any mishandlings or failure of following rules can unfortunately lead to the spread of the virus in the facility, your workers, or even your guests.

Even if you have put in what you feel are easy and clear guidelines for your staff, it is much more challenging to control your guests’ habits. Whether they have thoroughly washed their hands before touching common areas in your restaurant is undoubtedly a concern. When it comes to processing payments, you know right away how often that credit card terminal or tablet is touched whenever a customer signs their name or touches that button to leave a tip.

Of course, properly sanitizing these machines between uses is crucial! However, isn’t there an easier way to go touch-free? Luckily, current technology has caught up to the contactless trend, even before the pandemic hit.

3 Ways to Go Touch-Free at Your Restaurant

Invest in a contactless terminal: There are a variety of credit card terminals– in fact, many these days–that have NFC (near field communication) enabled so that your customers can pay by just hovering their credit cards over the terminal to checkout or even to use Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay in the same manner. Call your merchant service provider or the hardware brand itself to inquire whether your existing equipment has these capabilities.

Call ahead: Consider encouraging patrons to call in their orders ahead of time and paying over the phone (or online) if possible to reduce the amount of contact. When they come in to dine, they can also expect speedier service because of this — a win-win!

Touchless kiosks: You heard that right! But you might be wondering, how is this even possible? How can you order something on a screen without even touching it? It’s all in the hands, ironically! Specifically, “hand gestures” that don’t require touching a device is what powers these contact-free kiosks from Kiosk Innovations and Ultra Leap.

Silicon Valley-based artificial intelligence (AI) provider, Sensory Inc., has worked on technology that allows the integration of both voice-based ordering along with vision AI into restaurant kiosks.

Given the current environment and so many interesting and cutting-edge technological solutions emerging, it will be exciting to see how future restaurants will look!