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Many restaurants just started getting their feet wet with new technologies. But then, suddenly, COVID-19 thrust the entire industry ten years forward without very much warning at all.

Some restaurants embrace the changes and move forward, but sadly some smaller restaurant chains are still struggling. Many are now out of business.

The question is this: How can restaurants compete in such a fast-evolving climate? Even after COVID-19, the industry will never be the same.

COVID-19 has transformed the meaning of consumer convenience.

While it used to be convenient for a family to merely dine-in, they must now go online to check and see if the restaurant is even open. Then, they get caught up in restaurant reviews to help them make their decision.

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Additionally, more guests are checking websites to determine delivery and pickup options. Some customers worry about touching anything in a restaurant. Health food is a growing necessity. Even placing an order with a stranger invokes anxiety for some.

After a year of living like this, consumer behavior and comforts aren't going away. Society has a new appreciation for cleanliness, germs, and convenience, and safety has a new meaning. New ordering habits are likely here to stay. 

According to Accenture, "Consumers attitudes, behaviors and purchasing habits are changing—and many of these new ways will remain post-pandemic."

This list includes the top changes that are most likely here to stay for the entire food & beverage industry, including restaurants and coffee shops. 

electronic restaurant menus

1. Electronic Menus for Restaurants, Bars, and Coffee Shops

Many restaurants are adding "virtual menus" to their WiFi landing pages. When a customer orders, they can provide their email to log into WiFi and view the menu. This menu ordering method eliminates the need for guests to touch screens or papers that have been touched by many others. 

You can click here to see how electronic menus work with a free demo.

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2. Wireless POS

Let's face it. Writing an order down on a piece of paper and then providing it to the kitchen doesn't just increase the spread of germs. It also increases the likelihood of misreading an order and creates more room for error. Many restaurants and bars turn to wireless point of sale systems to provide order directives to kitchens in real-time, increase efficiency, and improve guest satisfaction.

touchless loyalty programs3. Touchless Loyalty Programs

As more and more guests forget to order with their loyalty phone apps, Bloom Intelligence is experiencing an increased demand for touchless loyalty programs.

Touchless loyalty programs can detect customer visits, whether they log into in-location WiFi or not. Then, when they log into WiFi for the first time, loyalty offers are emailed based on custom visit counts. Besides increasing loyalty and customer retainment, redemption is more comfortable to remember than mobile apps. Guests do not have to order with an app to get rewarded for their loyalty, increasing customer satisfaction.

You can click here to see how touchless loyalty programs work with a free demo.

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4. Touchless Ordering

Many coffee shops, bars, and restaurants turn to touchless ordering for both their customer's health and convenience. Customers can log into WiFi on their phones by providing their email address and then receive the page to choose their order on their own devices.

You can click here to see how touchless ordering works with a free demo.

touchless ordering

5. Subscription Services

To increase recurring revenue and provide their customers with value, many cafes and coffee shops turn to subscription services. These services deliver coffee and baked goods to guests, providing them with their favorite goodies in the convenience of their own home. 

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6. Delivery & Customer Pickup

Many customers have learned how convenient delivery and pickup services are, and that convenience won't completely go away after COVID-19. That's why it's increasingly important to provide efficient delivery and pickup options for customers while maintaining a focus on decreasing back-end costs over time.

changes coming to restaurant technology after covid-19 coronavirus pandemic

7. Website Focus

If your website does not have online pickup options available, you are leaving money on the table. Many restaurants and coffee shops are shifting their focus to their website to keep their guests from churning to competitors. Guests want to be able to pay for pickup orders online in advance. They prefer the convenience of saving time and getting in and out.

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8. Electronic Communications

If there's one thing many restaurants have learned from the pandemic crisis, it's that email addresses and phone number lists are gold. It's more important than ever to reach customers where they are. Restaurants must provide the personalized and automated messaging that they need to feel valued and increase their loyalty.

You can click here to see how automated data collection and personalized campaigns on autopilot work with a free demo.

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Of course, many other shifts continue to impact the food and beverage industry. The competition is rising, and reviews are becoming a higher priority. Many restaurants, bars, and cafes turn to Bloom Intelligence to provide automated positive review generation and learn more about their guests. Outdoor seating is making a big comeback. Healthy foods are in higher demand.

The success on the food and beverage industry depends on adaptability and ability to evolve.

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