Even as restaurants re-open, many are modifying operations to protect patrons and comply with regulations designed to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“We had to make some fast adjustments to how we run things,” says Lauren Fretz, general manager at Ashland Hill, a Santa Monica, Calif., restaurant that offers a casual beach vibe. The restaurant implemented counter service but needed a way for guests to enjoy themselves without having to constantly get up from their table.
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Ashland Hill started using a system called Order For Me that eliminates most physical contact between restaurant-goers and their servers. The system assigns each table a unique QR code that allows customers to view the restaurant menu in their mobile web browser and place orders — all from their smartphones and without downloading an app. Restaurants can add new QR codes if they add tables. If the kitchen runs out of a dish, it can turn off that menu item.
One table can include multiple tabs; if several friends are eating together, each can pay for their own meal. Order For Me integrates with the Stripe payment processing platform.
The largely tech-savvy consumers to which the platform is geared are accustomed to delivery charges, and the company intends to charge a small fee on orders. “We did decide to waive fees through the remainder of the year,” says founder and CEO Michael Jordan, “in light of the pandemic and current state of the industry.” The platform is currently used by several restaurants in southern California.
“It’s pretty user-friendly,” Fretz says. “With just a little bit of time, the staff has fully understood the process and guests are enjoying the ability to keep a tab open and order from the table.”