3 Ways To Battle The Pingdemic
Just as it was starting to feel like we were heading towards the tail end of the pandemic, hospitality is now faced with a new foe... the so-called ‘ping-demic’!
By this we of course mean the astronomical increase in the number of people in the UK being told they need to self isolate by the Government Track & Trace app, which has resulted in a desperate shortage of hospitality staff, just as businesses were able to reopen fully.
Even pub giants Greene King have been forced to close 33 locations over the past 2 weeks due to staff shortages, so how on earth are small and independent food businesses expected to tackle, and more importantly survive, this latest issue?
As an online order & pay solution, we spend the majority of our time speaking to hospitality businesses of all kinds, hearing about their biggest pain points, concerns and challenges. Over the past week, we’ve seen countless hospitality businesses crying out for a solution to the problems being caused by the latest wave of COVID-19 infections, so we thought we’d reiterate some of the main benefits of an online digital menu, and how they can be utilised to help keep your staff and customers safe, and of course keep your business open!
Ditch Your Unhygienic Physical Menus.
Earlier in the year, it was reported that 48% of surveyed Brits said that they would actively avoid touching physical menus when hospitality venues reopened from April, and we were with them! Has this changed in the 4 months since? No, and having spoken to countless hospitality business owners over that period, it’s clearer than ever that actually, physical menus could be gone for good, particularly thanks to the current ‘ping-demic’ and the need to minimise contact between staff and customers!
I’m sure we’ve all been to a pub or bar where the laminated menu is slightly sticky, and the corners are grubby and beginning to peel. Gross at the best of times. But as customer expectations now reflect a massive increase in hygiene awareness across venues of all kinds, providing a more hygienic alternative is now actually determining the overall experience of your customers, and therefore the success of your business.
Providing an online digital menu is the way forward. Not only does it keep everybody happier by cutting out contact with potentially unhygienic physical alternatives, it also means that your customers can browse and order via their own mobile device, an option which 59% of consumers would now prefer since the pandemic began.
Plus, it stops that awkward moment where someone at the table ‘accidentally’ starts looking at the drinks menu to decide what they want for dinner…
Give The People What They Want.
Everyone loves an online order, and no, we’re not referring to the Amazon addictions that we all developed over the various lockdowns (it’s okay, you can admit it). We’re referring to the 69% of consumers who have said they actually expect online ordering to be available in bars and restaurants for the foreseeable future. Online menus were on the rise before the pandemic, and have now become an essential contributor to creating a safe environment for your customers. Safe customers = happy customers. Happy customers = more revenue!
Social distancing measures may now be gone, but with the majority of people still opting to wear masks and take precautions, it’s obvious that your customers are certainly still going to be more aware of their proximity to your staff members. And let’s be honest, there’s a whole lot of people catching up on missed drinks and dinners, so you’re probably very busy. Unless you employ an octopus to serve your tables and cover for staff while they’re being pinged by the track & trace app, online ordering is going to come in very handy.
Around 75% of consumers have specified that online ordering makes them feel safer. So, giving them the ability to sit down and order from their phones straight away, with minimal contact with your staff members, is a sure way of kicking off their experience in a positive light. Pair this with the fact that minimising contact with your staff will help to reduce the number of them being kept off of work by the ping-demic, and your chances of keeping your business open and serving will be much higher.
Keeping It Contactless.
We all know cash has been dying out for quite some time now. The number of consumers wishing to avoid touching physical money when paying their bill in any venue sat at around 42% at the beginning of the pandemic, and has undoubtedly risen significantly thanks to the various spikes in cases over the past year and a half.
We’ve spent the last 18 months being told to wash our hands, so when you think of how many grubby paws a bank note can potentially pass through in a single day, it’s not difficult to see why people aren’t too keen to rush back to handling them right now… especially whilst sat down to eat (excuse me while I go wash my hands, again).
Add to this the previously mentioned health and social distancing anxieties that have undoubtedly remained since restrictions lifted, and you’ll discover that a massive 71% of consumers now say they would rather pay their bill remotely, than wait for service from a staff member.
Even having to wait to touch their card to a reader being held by a member of staff is going to shadow the experience of some of your customers, who of course want to leave feeling as safe and considered as possible. The Answer? Online, self service payments at the point of sale. And don’t think this means you’ll be missing out on service charge or tips, because both can be provided as part of the payment process, if you use the right system (wink, wink).
Our clients have been utilising the above benefits of their EMenu to help minimise the risks to their business throughout the pandemic. Keeping your staff healthy and your customers happy is of the utmost importance right now, so if you’d like to find out more about how we can help to keep your business open, contact us today!
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Sources: Kantar Wi5 2020 Report, Wi5 audience poll 2020, MCA for Ordamo June 2020, Wi-Q 2019, Mckinsey - Coronavirus poll 2020, Ipsos Coronavirus polling 2020, YouGov Coronavirus survey 2020.