Many industry sectors have suffered during the whole process of lockdown and as restrictions are eased from early July and as we slowly come out the other side, the face of restaurants and the hospitality sector will see a complete overhaul, but the question is what will it look like? In this blog we look at potential implications, the future for the restaurant industry and potential measures they could introduce.

For the moment many restaurants will be focusing on the“here and now” and recovery will invariably pose challenges for restaurant owners across the UK and in many cases this may be a slow burner. The truth of the matter is that the restaurant sector has never seen anything of this nature before, and the long term ramifications and magnitude for many won’t be known for a while.

Lock down forced restaurant owners to become pro-active with a“think outside the box” approach, whilst closing their standard day-to-day operations. Many restaurant owners implemented a home delivery service to maintain some form of income.

The reopening of restaurants after lockdown

The Government outlined that from June 23rd restaurants, pubs and bars could open, and from the 4thJuly a dine-in service would be made available. The introduction of the dine in service also coincides with the government relaxing social distancing measures to “one-metre plus” social distancing rule for spaces where two-metre distancing is unfeasible.

There are various restrictions included within this new guideline including the fact that restaurants in England will only be allowed to seat groups from the same household together on a table, anything outside this will not be permitted.

Restaurants implementing NHS Test &Trace programme

Customers visiting a restaurant will need to provide their contact details (including names) upon arrival so this information can be relayed to the NHS Test & Trace programme. The UK has been blessed with some beautiful weather during lockdown and wherever possible outside eating will be actively encouraged.

The social distancing measures implemented by the Government have been working but the layout and landscape for the industry will have a different look for long while yet and there still remains uncertainty on the implications of a second wave.

Statistics recorded in the Evening Standard article outlined that in March there had been a 3 percent permanent restaurant closures with April looking to hit an additional 11 percent of restaurants that will shut their doors.*

Consumer emphasis on food safety versus sustainability

There are many people who are missing the simple pleasures of eating out with their family and friends, but reports suggest there will be an element reluctant to visit a restaurant whilst uncertainty remains over the virus, and this is where owners will need to exploit and utilise takeaway and home delivery services. You only had to see the news when McDonalds reopened their drive thru restaurant facilities last month and the various videos on social media showing queues as long as 2 hrs in some locations so the demand for people to secure their favourite food is clearly there.

Guidelines also suggested restaurants will need to be kept better ventilated whilst implementing a layout that means tables are spaced out within the vicinity to maintain distancing measures. There appears to be shift pattern emerging in relation to consumer focus regarding food safety versus sustainability.

Restaurant owners will now see consumers looking for various requirements including customers who are on a budget and looking for value offerings, and those that are looking for a safer dining experience. The face and visual design of restaurants have changed since most of us have last visited them, and the introduction of concepts such as “pick up points” or “click and collect” need to be utilised. The amount of restaurants that have appeared on sites such as Deliveroo and Just-Eat has increased considerably recently so it shows that owners are looking at all avenues to raise brand awareness.

Some restaurant owners will benefit and invariably not all will survive meaning there will be less competition in some instances.

How will paying for a meal change after lockdown?

Table service is clearly going to increase, and many restaurant owners will need to adapt a new way of accepting payments. For the moment, the days of going up and paying for your meal at the counter are probably a thing of the past, and you’ll see many restaurants adopt a new payment facility. The card machine of choice for many hospitality sector is the portable card machine which allows you take card payments away for the base which is paired to the card machine using Bluetooth technology. Many will be familiar with the term “cash is king” but contactless, debit and credit card payments will be the choice for restaurant visitors going forward.

Why restaurants need to accept card payments after lockdown

Even before lockdown taking payments by card for restaurant owners was pivotal, now it’s essential. If you run a restaurant, food establishment or take away and you don’t take currently accept card payments, chances are that many customers will simply go somewhere else.

The ability to take card payments for restaurant owners is vast and diverse nowadays with a plethora of POS systems and card machines available for restaurant owners which in some cases can be integrated. Some restaurant owners will only be looking for a temporary payment infrastructure, in which case why not explore the option of short term card machine rental for restaurants or temporary epos hire?

Temporary card machine rental for restaurants

With the new era of dining underway, visitors are being encouraged to pay by card and not cash. Restaurant owners now need to decide whether their existing infrastructure for card payments will be able to support demand. Many establishments are now leasing additional contactless card machines to keep up with the anticipated demand. Card machine rental is available in various forms for restaurants including short term,long term options but also with the ability to purchase the hardware outright.

The advantage of using a short term infrastructureis you only rent the hardware for as long as you need it and everything is tailored around your requirement meaning you aren’t signing up to long rental agreements unnecessarily.

Acquiring additional payment terminals to support you during this surreal time could be a really solid investment but hiring a card machine will allow you to process contactless payments along with the traditional debit and credit card payments and our payment terminals are also compatible for Apple Pay and Android Pay. With super quick set up and configuration we take the hard work away from business owners meaning all customers need to do, is present their card or card-enabled smart phone to the reader and the money will be taken automatically from their account, up to the maximum limit of £45.

Are restaurants heading towards a cashless set up?

A cashless society has been prominently discussed for many years, but it appears safety concerns over cash handling during this surreal time may slowly be pushing the UK towards a virtually cashless society.

The pandemic has had a significant impact on trends and the way consumers are now paying for goods. The last 3 months has seen a dramatic shift towards online purchases primarily triggered by the fact many of us have stayed at home and have become reliant on online purchases.

What are your thoughts? Perhaps you work in the industry? As ever we’d love to hear your thoughts, comment below or email us at sales@wirelessterminalsolutions.co.uk

**https://www.standard.co.uk/go/london/restaurants/when-will-restaurants-pubs-bars-reopen-a4454236.html

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