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A Final Update on COVID-19

The Future of Hotel Dining Is Digital

Why taking your hotel dining process digital is the best way to reduce safety risks, streamline processes, and boost revenue

Over the last few months, every part of the hotel experience has been dissected, examined, and is now slowly being put back together to address the challenges hotels face due to COVID-19. Dining in particular is a tough area to rework. While hotel dining options and physical restaurant spaces can be limited, the entire process—from ordering to food prep to delivery—will always carry some level of risk.

During the last few months, some hotels have decided to temporarily shut down dining, or offer only pre-made to-go options. Now that the country is reopening, hotels are between a rock and a hard place when it comes to restarting dining efforts. You can’t afford to abandon any revenue streams, yet the last thing you need is for dining to create safety concerns or become a loss leader and a budget drain. Ultimately, the best way to drastically minimize risk while bringing hotel dining revenue back is to go digital.

Why? Three simple reasons: you can safeguard every single step of the process, streamline it, and boost your revenue numbers. Let’s break down how:

1. Simplify ordering with digital menus and mobile ordering.

Digital ordering is both safer and more convenient for your staff and guests. Printed restaurant and in-room dining collateral is difficult to sanitize and must be cleaned after every single use. With cleaning responsibilities already increasing for all employees, no one needs another item on the to-do list.

With mobile ordering, guests can view digital menus and order directly from a mobile app or an easy-to-clean hotel tablet. Not to mention that they can place their order in a matter of seconds, note their specific dining preferences, and know the order will be immediately sent to the hotel restaurant. Meanwhile, your food and beverage department can reduce time spent taking orders, easily make changes to the menu at any time, and completely eliminate any room for errors.

2. Optimize processes with automated order processing, billing, and analytics.

On the backend, going digital automates order processing—once an order is submitted by the guest, it lands directly in the queue for your staff to fulfill. During that time, guests can track their orders through the system. Meanwhile, the system is tracking all orders for staff and provides the food and beverage department with analytics they can use to optimize the menu, supply orders, and fulfillment process.

Which items are selling the best? The worst? How long do orders take to fulfill on average? How often do guests report problems/mistakes? The answers are in the data—and a digital hotel dining system does the heavy lifting so your staff has immediate access to insights that put higher revenue, reduced waste, and faster fulfillment times in reach.

There’s one last small, but critical feature of the automated backend. When guests order digitally, their bill can be automatically added to their folio, eliminating the need to exchange cash or cards with dining staff and enabling contactless deliveries.

3. Create trust and increase orders by offering contactless food delivery.

In recent months, many businesses have been saved by making the switch to contactless service. In one consumer study, 80% of respondents said they had avoided patronizing restaurants due to food safety concerns. But 66% of that same group said that if restaurants communicated changes like improved kitchen cleanliness, updated preparation procedures, and contactless food hand-off, it would strongly increase their likelihood of ordering from them.

And that’s just restaurants. Instacart, a grocery delivery app and early adopter of contactless service, saw a record 218% increase in downloads when stay-at-home orders started for many states in March. Mastercard reported in late April that they found 79% of consumers are using contactless payments during the pandemic, citing safety and cleanliness as the key drivers.

That’s all to emphasize: contactless service is not just a good idea. It’s the new consumer standard. Through mobile ordering, you can give guests an in-app option to select contactless delivery with just a simple checkbox before they submit their order. Or, you can simply notify them that you’ve transitioned to only contactless food deliveries for the time being. Either way, they get the reassurance that you’re taking their safety and the safety of your staff seriously. And as the study mentioned above shows, that leads to more trust and more orders.

Ready to learn more about how a fully digital hotel dining process can create safe, frictionless dining experiences for your guests and staff?

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