As leaders in the hospitality industry continue to look for solutions that will allow them to reopen, safely increase capacity and continue to assure maximum safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, new restaurant technology is providing some helpful tools. In fact, customers are becoming more open to automated tools in restaurants as they are being put in a position where they have to trust that restaurants are following all COVID-19 protocols.
If businesses can show that they are implementing best practices, they can earn the trust of customers and gain more business. DragonTail Systems has introduced an AI Camera that verifies that employees are following all health and safety protocols. Restaurants can monitor whether employees are washing their hands, cleaning surfaces according to schedule and properly wearing gloves and masks. While this product might not fit the budget of every restaurant, it is an important way that technology is helping to support COVID-19 prevention efforts.
Restaurant Technology and Safety
Other existing technologies can also be used to support and ensure restaurant health and food safety. Bluetooth thermometers can make sure that meats are cooked properly. This can help prevent foodborne illnesses and reduce waste from food being sent back to the kitchen because it wasn’t prepared correctly. Digital tools and software can be used to help streamline safety checks and track food expiration dates. Automated alerts and checklists will help everyone stay on track. Similar systems can be used to track pest control and make sure that regular visits are scheduled. Finally, hot intervention provides an effective way to sterilize food and utensils.
Reusable Menus are a Thing of the Past
One of the biggest restaurant technology trends that has been accelerated by COVID-19 is the use of touchless menus. In the past, screens and digital menus were mainly used in fast food settings and didn’t belong in fine dining settings. However, surveys have shown that menus are one of the biggest safety concerns for customers. While some restaurants have resorted to one-use, disposable menus, this creates a major cost and isn’t exactly environmentally friendly or sustainable. Menu boards can work in some situations, but aren’t ideal for businesses with extensive menus. As a result, touchless menus and mobile ordering apps are becoming an increasingly popular solution that satisfies the needs of both restaurants and consumers.
Technology and the dining experience haven’t always gone hand-in-hand. Part of going out to eat is enjoying great service and automation and other technology tends to detract from that personal feel. However, consumers are becoming more open to the idea of contactless dining and other machine interactions. Ultimately, consumers don’t mind additional technology replacing humans if it means that they can safely dine out again.
Many of these technologies were already available prior to the pandemic. However, their popularity has been given a significant boost by the need for increased safety measures in the wake of COVID-19.
Experts anticipate that these tools will continue to be used even after restrictions are relaxed and lifted. Ultimately, the coronavirus and health fears have forever changed the way we live, including how we experience food and dining.
How can technology help to ensure protocols are being followed?
New tools like the AI camera from DragonTail Systems can provide recordings that show whether safety protocols, such as hand washing, regular sanitizing and glove and mask practices, are being followed by employees.
What are some technologies I can implement to ensure safety in my restaurant?
Bluetooth thermometers, LED alert systems, digital quality and safety check devices, electronic pest control tools, hygiene tracking and hot interventions sterilization are all available to help with health and safety.
What is the most prevalent technological shift seen in the restaurant industry?
There is a major shift away from reusable menus to touchless menus, apps, QR codes and other tools that eliminate the need to provide customers with physical menus.
Are people more tolerant to automation and technology amid the pandemic?
Yes, while dining out is a more personal experience that relies heavily on interaction, customers are becoming more open to contactless service and automation if it means better safety and protection.