'Contactless' dining to become the new normal in the post-COVID-19 world?

Brands are coming up with a 'contactless' dining option to address the changing consumer sentiments towards health & hygiene

e4m by Sanstuti Nath
Updated: Apr 23, 2020 8:32 AM

How would the post lockdown consumer be? If reports are to be believed, the consumer behaviour will be changed forever once the lockdown is lifted, with the people being more cautious and concerned about their health.

Keeping this in mind, hospitality brands like Dineout and Zomato have come up with a 'contactless' dining experience post lockdown.

As part of the new experience, both brands promise to provide menu, ordering and payments that are all ‘contactless’. This eliminates the need for menu cards and bill books, two articles that are often touched by guests, and are typically unsanitized and could potentially be a source of concern.

As of now, there will still be waiters to bring food to the table, but they’ll wear mask and follow all the hygiene measures.

Talking about the reason behind the new way of dining out, Gaurav Gupta's, Co-founder & COO, Zomato said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our lives in ways we had never imagined. Our everyday interaction with the outside world, with public spaces, the retail environment, and even with one another, has come under intense scrutiny. All of this is rapidly reorienting our understanding of personal hygiene and public health.”

He added that Zomato anticipates that the foodservice industry, specifically the dining out the segment, will experience significant and permanent changes in the way it operates, and some recent consumer surveys show that, diners are ranking safety assurance and hygiene as their top factors when they choose a restaurant for dine-in.

He further elaborated, “The situation demands all of us to keep safety and hygiene standards at the highest priority. Restaurants have forever been the world’s community centres, and it is very important that the staff and the premises follow best in class practices to keep their staff and their customers safe.”

Dineout is also providing the option of pre-ordering and contactless valet. To cut the wait times at the restaurants, diners could opt for pre-ordering to ensure that the food is ready by the time they reach. And, their cars will have to be brought in just as they complete payments. Digital valet will cut short the time spent at community areas to curb the spread of infections.

 Ankit Mehrotra, Co-Founder & CEO – Dineout, while speaking about the new service said, “As the world coupes with the physical & economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, our interactions with the outside world - be it with public/retail establishments, restaurants, educational institutions, and even with one other will transform forever with a strong focus on personal hygiene and public health. Keeping these post-COVID consumer demands in mind, we have launched the country’s first end-to-end contactless dining suite that will help restaurants survive in this reoriented market where diners would rank safety assurance and premier hygiene as top factors when they choose a restaurant to dine in.”

The consumer of post lockdown era will be over-cautious, about health, hygiene and stepping out in public, said Jagdeep Kapoor, MD, Samsika Marketing Consultants Pvt. Ltd, when asked about the new move of the dining brands. He added, “Indian consumer is very adaptive, and is always ready to try new things. In the post-Covid-19 world, there will be a heightened awareness about the surrounding among consumers and this move will put them at ease. This is also not going to change much, except for the stage of before use or consumption.”

WPP’s latest report COVID-19: India’s Sentiment & Impact on Brands supports Kapoor’s claims. The report also says that post lockdown, the consumer will become more concerned about their health and hygiene and there will be significant permanent behavioural changes in consumer sentiment.

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