The industry has been turned on its head. Restaurant owners have been dealt a heavy, unanticipated blow and are scrambling to keep up. Though some restrictions are being lifted in certain areas, many are still not yet able to open their dining rooms. Those that have are doing so with limited capacity.
That doesn’t mean that restaurant owners aren’t still finding ways to achieve success, however. Thanks in part to the constant innovation of software developers, technology solutions have made it possible for the savvy business owner to adapt to situations as they arise—even those as dire as the COVID-19 pandemic—so they can overcome major challenges and stay profitable.
It is safe to say that we are operating under a new normal. The possibility for restaurants to fully reopen nationwide is still a long way off, and when that happens, things may not look exactly the same.
In response, Spark Solutions Group has been implementing changes to help restaurant owners that have been hit hard with the virus.
Here’s what we’ve been up to:
Ramping up Online Ordering
Now that in-house dining is limited and customers are more safety-conscious than ever, they are turning to online ordering for takeout. Even before the pandemic first struck, online ordering was becoming more popular by the minute. Once a customer convenience, this service is now a necessity for any restaurant looking to stay afloat during these uncertain times.
At Spark Solutions Group, we have significantly expanded our online ordering solutions. Now, even non-Heartland POS users can implement online ordering for takeout orders so that they can maximize their potential while still keeping customers safe. We’ve also implemented a curbside delivery functionality to our online ordering solution that makes it easier to identify the specific car to which each online order should be delivered.
Even though many traditional channels for revenue have shuttered, restaurant owners can find new opportunities. Most social activities and venues where large groups would normally gather have been all but wiped out. Customers are now hosting more events at their homes, which creates a high demand for convenient catering options. Spark Solutions Group is helping restaurant owners rise to meet this new demand by setting up specific catering-based online ordering for family meals and other large orders. So while you may not be able to host events on-premises, you can still help your customers host their own.
Implementing Contactless Payments
Right now, it’s more important than ever to keep your customers safe. Pathogens can easily be transferred from person to person when precautions aren’t taken and safety measures aren’t followed. While it’s not possible to completely eliminate the risk, there are steps restaurant owners can take to reduce the potential for spreading the virus. Going contactless is one of them.
Spark Solutions Group has been implementing and enabling contactless options for restaurant owners during this time in an effort to help keep customers safe, starting with NFC payments. We’ve enabled Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and Samsung Pay, which can help increase safety by limiting the number of devices or credit cards that must be passed back and forth from customer to server and vice versa.
Along the same lines, we’ve also been expanding contactless pay-at-the-table functionality. For restaurants in areas with lifted restrictions, pay-at-the-table technology allows them to continue offering table service while reducing face-to-face interactions between customers and waitstaff. We also offer EMV/NFC terminals for contactless payments at the table.
The one saving grace that kept this pandemic from completely decimating the industry is that it struck in a time where everyone is connected. Because of humanity’s innate drive to adapt and overcome, innovation has made it possible to stay engaged and connected with one another — even from a distance.
Spark Solutions Group has been implementing new services that leverage text messaging and mobile devices to further reduce face-to-face interactions. Where there were once crowded lobbies, there is now text messaging services that notify customers via SMS when their tables are ready or their orders are completed. Where customers used to line up behind counters, there are now mobile ordering devices that can take orders in non-traditional locations like sidewalks and drive-thru lanes.
Offering Expert Support
Few people have been unaffected by this pandemic. Nobody was prepared for how much daily life would have to change. With everything going on, it’s important to have a trusted provider with the industry knowledge to help your business overcome these challenges. Spark Solutions Group is here for your business in this time of uncertainty, with helpful guidance and powerful, flexible solutions that scale to fit your business needs.
Our professionals are well-versed in the industry, and can assist you with everything from identifying new solutions that help solve challenges, to guiding you on how to best utilize the technology you have so you can achieve your highest potential.
For more information on what Spark Solutions Group can do to help your business, contact us today!