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Contactless Technology: 3 New Operational Models That Enhance Customer Service

August 19, 2020

Guest Ordering Trends,POS Tech

As restaurants reopen during Covid-19, contactless solutions have become necessary, especially since customers are looking to social distance, minimize staff contact, and avoid keypads, touchscreens, and cash. In fact, according to a recent report by MasterCard, contactless transactions saw 40% global growth, and CDC is encouraging touch-free transactions. Digital and mobile channels are now critical in enterprise businesses, not only because it’s the modern solution to ordering and transactions, but consumer behavior is significantly shifting toward contactless experiences.

Operators can easily implement Appetize contactless technology throughout their operations to ensure guest safety, increase order volumes, and enhance customer service using new touch-free models: Virtual Drive-Thru, Virtual Waiter, and Virtual Hawker. All three concepts utilize scan-to-order QR codes, like Virtual Kiosk, but in these models, QR codes are used in different locations throughout operations to put easy-access ordering in the most convenient spots possible for guests and to utilize all available real estate as efficiently as possible. This also elevates the dining experience with modern touch-free service options—and increases revenue. Studies show that customers spend 26% more through online ordering and return 6% more often to businesses offering it.

Appetize offers these virtual models and digital ordering through Interact Web. The web-based system makes ordering as convenient as possible for customers, since they do not need to download or install special software. By scanning a QR code, guests are taken directly to the ordering site without any additional steps. QR codes can also be embedded with location information, such as section, table, or seat number.

Take a look at these three virtual, touch-free models that are essential for your business.

Virtual Drive-Thru

Virtual Drive-Thru allows restaurants to use QR codes placed at each parking spot for ordering. After a guest has pulled into a spot, they scan the code with their phone from their car to instantly order. Virtual Drive-Thru turns every parking spot into an ordering location, which eliminates long drive-thru lines and cash handling for customers.

As soon as an order is placed, guests receive updates via text or check an Order Status Board viewable from the parking lot or curbside location. Once the order is ready, it can be delivered directly to the car, picked-up at a window, or the customer can be instructed to enter the drive-thru lane.

Virtual Drive-Thru is not limited to quick-service restaurants. Any operator, from quick-service chains to fine-dining establishments, can easily integrate Virtual Drive-Thru to add additional outdoor ordering options on premise.

Virtual Drive-Thru lets restaurants remove ordering bottlenecks and increases volume by allowing multiple cars to be handled at once rather than one at a time in a drive-thru lane, and by providing guests with an easy means to order for curbside pickup while on site.

Virtual Waiter

With Virtual Waiter, restaurants can place QR codes on tables (including outdoor seating) that allow guests to view menus digitally on their phone, eliminating the need for printed versions. Restaurants can also enable ordering from the digital menu, and options can be configured for delivery to the table or pickup at a window or counter. These configuration choices allow you to set up Virtual Waiter for different service levels, from guest self-service to full service.

In the full service model, the guest is seated and instructed to scan the QR code on the table to access the menu. Instructions can be printed at the table on signage with the QR code, presented by the host when seating the guests, or presented by the server, who can walk guests through the menu and point out specials and highlights.

Restaurants have the option to enable ordering from the digital menu. This allows guests to choose the level of service they desire. If the guest is a repeat customer or would like a more private dining experience with less staff interaction, they can make selections themselves and submit their order through their phone.

Even if guests choose the self-service option, servers can still access the order from a terminal or handheld device and can review the order with guests, make suggestions, adjust the firing order, and provide other services to enhance the dining experience— “I see you’ve placed your orders. Can I get you another drink, or might I suggest a wine to go with your meal?” For guests who want a traditional full-service experience, the server can still take guests’ orders and input selections for them via handheld device or terminal.

Restaurants can also decide when to require payment. In a QSR or fast casual environment, payment can be required before sending an order to the kitchen. In a full-service model, checks can be left open until the end of the meal.

Any business can seamlessly implement Virtual Waiter and can easily configure it to meet their needs. Operators can decide the options best for their business, whether a QSR chain or fine-dining establishment. The table below summarizes the main configurations and what service type each is best for.

Virtual Hawker


Virtual Hawker is Appetize’s digital ordering solution for in-seat ordering at large venues, stadiums, and arenas. With QR codes placed at every seat, guests can scan the code and order directly from their phone. This allows them to avoid crowded concession stands, and they won’t miss any action with the live game, concert, or event.

Venues can configure ordering options by seating section, so guests will only see available ordering options for their location. And like Virtual Waiter, seat numbers are sent with the order for fulfillment, allowing Virtual Hawker to be set up for delivery to the seat or for pickup at designated locations. In a delivery model, hawkers can fulfill the order and close it out via handheld device.

Virtual Hawker is a “win” for both venues and customers. The benefits of Virtual Hawker, like all the virtual models available through Appetize Interact Web, include reduced lines, increased order volumes, and easing of congestion. Customers can browse, make selections, and place orders at their own pace with no pressure from waiting in line.

What’s more frictionless than that?

Read more about Appetize’s touch-free solutions: