Though pandemic may be changing the industry, technology is helping restaurants adjust to the new normal.

Despite ongoing uncertainty about how COVID-19 will continue to impact the world in the coming months, it is now becoming clear what kinds of impacts the virus is having on the foodservice industry. Of all the concerns facing restaurants and their customers today, perhaps the biggest is how brands can minimize the risk of spreading disease by eliminating touchpoints.

“Every individual has new awareness of how important it is to protect themselves and others from the spread of germs,” says Gordon Gardiner, CEO of TableSafe. “This is a recalibration that will last long after we develop a vaccine.”

Yet as restaurants reopen, both indoors and out, eliminating touchpoints presents a challenge for full-service brands, as the table-service model has traditionally required high levels of contact between wait staff and guests. This is especially true in the traditional payment process, which requires servers and guests to handle the same cards and receipts multiple times per transaction. Not only does this increase the risk of spreading a virus, but it also makes many consumers uneasy due to growing data security concerns.

“We’ve achieved a new level of safety consciousness, both in terms of health and payment security,” Gardiner says. “Consumer confidence on both fronts has to be restored. By improving the customer experience in both areas through touchless payment, restaurants can give their guests—and their teams—peace of mind.”

TableSafe Touchless payment allows guests to manage their own payments at the table, rather than relying on waitstaff. Because cards never leave guests’ hands, the spread of germs is reduced, and guests’ personal data is protected, instilling a higher level of guest confidence and comfort. Unlike guest payment devices that are attached to tables, TableSafe is portable, meaning it can be removed from each table and easily sanitized with a cleaning solution before each use without damaging the hardware. Additionally, its flexible payment options allows guests to choose methods that make them most comfortable.

“Customers want choices in how they pay,” says Geoff Hayden, TableSafe’s vice president of national sales. “Some will want a touchless experience and will elect to pay using their cell phones to scan a QR code or will want to use the TableSafe app—both of which allow guests to pay on their mobile devices without having to touch shared equipment. Others will feel more comfortable using a credit card, but doing so at the table so they never have to hand it to the server.”

Meanwhile, TableSafe offers strong benefits to restaurants, too. First, TableSafe integrates seamlessly with existing POS systems, such as Aloha, Micros, and more, keeping restaurants from having to make costly investments in upgrading their POS systems and extending the POS system virtually to the table. This enables the entire transaction to be completed away from the POS. Also, because TableSafe connects directly to the POS system onsite instead of through third-party cloud software, it reduces vulnerability to data breaches and continues functioning even when Internet connectivity goes out.

Additionally, because TableSafe empowers customers to make payments directly at the table, it frees up waitstaff to help other guests, reduces the amount of time it takes to process payments, and improves table turnover times.

“About 20 percent of a server’s time is spent completing the payment process and we’re freeing up that time so servers can focus on their remaining guests still dining, improving their level of service and guest satisfaction,” Hayden says. “That time adds up. On average, our customers have told us we’re saving them 15–20 mins per employee per shift.”

Hayden also explains that the LCD lights on the device provide a visual indicator to the host of where tables are in the dining process, making it easier to manage guest wait times. “We also help managers quickly validate tip reports with the POS report, saving up to 10 minutes per server at the end of their shift, and maintain digital record of signatures, enabling quick resolution of guests’ payment disputes,” he says.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has created new challenges for the restaurant industry, technology like TableSafe can not only help restaurants keep employees, guests, and their data safer, but it can also enhance a restaurant’s efficiency as they find ways to adapt to the new normal.

To learn more about how TableSafe provides a touchless payment solution while enhancing restaurant efficiency and increasing sales opportunity, visit the TableSafe website.

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