Customers will begin to have the same high expectations for full-service restaurants that they have for grab-and-go items.
As restaurants begin reopening, there are immediate reopening concerns and a long-term strategic response to the coronavirus. However, the most immediate concern for full-service restaurants is giving employees confidence that they can enter the premises and work safely. At the same time, it is essential to ensure guests that they can enjoy their experience without worrying about exposure to COVID-19.
Technology for today and tomorrow
Beyond the immediate reopening, it’s important to strategically address current and future safety concerns as well. Exploring future-proof technology that will keep guests and employees healthy and safe and the restaurant profitable in the long term will keep the business viable no matter what the future holds.
Automation to keep up with curbside pick-up and delivery
For the short term, it will be important for full-service restaurants to acknowledge the fear of going out to eat that may linger for a while longer. That means continuing to offer curbside pickup and delivery options and automating processes to keep this new business model running smoothly. This will be especially essential in the months to come and occupancy rules may vary from state-to-state. With reduced seating mandate, excellent take-out options can make all the difference to the continued success of the restaurant.
Customers will begin to have the same high expectations for full-serves that they have for grab-and-go items. That means accurate nutrition, ingredient and expiry labeling. Because this is beyond the skill set of the full-service kitchen staff automated labeling is the best option to provide accurate labels in an efficient manner.
For take-out and delivery, the onus is on restaurants to assure customers that the food is safe and continue to meet customer expectations of fresh food delivered quickly and accurately.
That’s another reason why automating food labeling for delivery and carryout—with complete information on ingredients, nutrition and time/date of prep—is so essential now and to future-proof processes.
To give customers more confidence in food safety, tamper evident labeling offers assurance that their food has remained untouched since leaving the kitchen.
Control costs, reduce waste, stay profitable
Fact: automated solutions limit labor needs and simplifies processes. Right now, controlling costs and waste is more critical than ever before both to recoup losses and help assure future profitability. Start with employing RFID to have total inventory visibility so that you can track usage and expiry in order to track minimize waste.
Use cloud based, customizable digital checklist applications for task executions such as cleaning and disinfecting the restaurant. Temperature sensors will track refrigeration to ensure food safety. These solutions store checklist data digitally and make it available for analysis and give visibility to completion and compliance. Eliminating paper logs simplifies kitchen processes and helps ensure sanitation protocols are being followed.
Sanitizing for success
The most pressing challenges for full-service restaurants will surround maintaining the sanitary conditions of the entire premises, which means every touch point in both the front and back-of-the-house must be cleaned and disinfected continually, and so that guests can see it happening.
Reminding employees of good hygiene rules is one thing. Making sure that they’re doing things like washing hands for at least 20 seconds, using alcohol-based hand sanitizer and have done so effectively requires a technical advantage.
In fact, enforcing hygiene rules in the new crisis environment will require additional protocols that help prevent COVID-19 spread as well as foodborne illnesses, such as norovirus, E. coli, Hepatitis A and Salmonella. Fortunately, the latest hand scanning technology can identify viruses and bacteria which informs associates that they must re-wash their hands, before the dangerous microbes are transferred from their hands to food they are handling and dishes they are serving.
On the road to reopening, full-service restaurants need to look for technology to solve problems that they may not have considered addressing prior to the pandemic. When it comes to serving the public, it’s essential to take every measure available to ensure the health of guests, employees and your bottom line.
Ryan Yost is vice president/general manager for the Printer Solutions Division (PSD) for Avery Dennison Corporation. In his role, he is responsible for worldwide leadership of and strategy for the Printer Solutions Division, focused on building partnerships and solutions within the Food, Apparel and Fulfillment industries. For more information, visit https://printers.averydennison.com/en/home.html.