As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout picks up speed people are talking about a return to near normalcy by the fall of 2021. To be sure, there will be setbacks as governments and companies rush to re-open and people try to resume their lives.
What’s important now is for restaurateurs and hospitality industry staff to focus on short-term strategies that can help accelerate their business recovery. In addition to creative solutions that restaurants and vendors are implementing to deal with the virus now, there are a number of proactive measures that can be taken to be ready for the rebound. Here are a few of the ways where technology and effect communications can help ensure restaurants get their share of repressed culinary experiences.
Creative Use Of Technology
The following example is a sample of ingenuity in the hotel industry. By no means can the scale of this solution be applied to cleaning between guest seatings, however the technology could be applied to the pre-opening schedule. The effect could impact the hospitality industry, and many other industries, for years to come (or maybe forever). The health and safety of restaurant guests and staff will continue to be a top priority, and technology vendors are busy producing creative solutions to help.
The Westin Houston Medical Center is the first hotel in the U.S. to make use of LightStrike’s Germ-Zapping™ Robots to sanitize and disinfect its guest rooms and common areas to help combat the threat of coronavirus. LightStrike robots have been proven to quickly destroy viruses, bacteria, and fungi using intense pulsed xenon ultraviolet (UV) light.
The LightStrike robot uses intense germicidal UV light to disinfect rooms by quickly destroying microscopic bacteria and viruses that may be missed during the manual cleaning process. Operated by hotel staff, the robot uses pulsed xenon (a noble gas) to create intense broad-spectrum UV light, unlike older technologies that use mercury bulbs (mercury is toxic) to create continuous, single spectrum UV light.
Rely On Automated & Touch Less Tools
Restaurants with device neutral reservations systems in place will already have an increased ability to adapt changes in occupancy and demand for touchless tools. For those without ATL tools, it might be a good time to look into implementing one now or in the future, especially for extra help when the hospitality industry bounces back.
In addition to managing reservations, seating and waitlist, ATL tools can speed up guest check-in, waitlist enrollment and seating gaps to accommodate regulatory protocols in effect at the time. Such products should also provide overall occupancy limits that monitor seated table durations, together with in-coming reservations and waitlist demand, regardless of the traditional cover and group limits. In addition, the system edits or changes need to fully accessible to restaurant management and user friendly so they can quickly react to changing conditions.
Practical Applications For ATL Tools
Here are some examples how restaurateurs are using ATL technology.
• Staff using apps on their personal phones to walk the line outside the restaurant to check-in people with reservations and to add people to the waitlist.
• Some restaurants display the waitlist widget on their website so people can place themselves on the waitlist while on their way to the restaurant.
• Staff using their phones to update the table status to provide a manual visual aid to hosts. With POS integration, this update is automated.
• Updates to table status also refine the real-time wait quotes generated by systems who monitor seated duration times remaining, along with existing reservation and waitlist demand to provide hosts with actual quotes for different group sizes.
• Automated guest review requests that come directly to management and can be promptly responded to via text.
• Restaurateurs can stay actively engaged with guests, using bi-directional text messaging letting them know about any changes to their property or services, and offering help where possible.
• Restaurants with online ordering tools can keep their revenue stream open by offering delivery or pick up services, and advertise it across social media. A good idea we’ve recently seen is for restaurants to offer food and beverage promo codes for healthcare or other essential service workers, or free delivery options to hospitals or other healthcare centers.