Of all of the changes COVID-19 will usher into society, one of the most lasting and most prominent will is likely to be an aversion to touching shared surfaces, from door handles to pin pads. That aversion has only been part of the national zeitgeist for a few months, but has already accelerated the trend toward touchless payments.
About 47% of American consumers are expected to use mobile wallets in 2020. Even two years ago, half of the United States’ stores – approximately 5 million locations – accepted Apple Pay, and 4 million accepted Google Pay.
Before the pandemic, contactless payments’ biggest hurdle to overcome was security concerns, despite being more secure than traditional payment methods; but as public health concerns become society’s primary focus, lesser fears over security are likely to fall by the wayside.
The most common form of contactless payment, via the mobile wallet, has big upsides for businesses even beyond public health and consumer comfort. Digital loyalty cards can be seamlessly linked to the mobile wallet, positively impacting penetration rates. Digital payments will enable pay-at-table features and make on-the-go transactions more convenient. And stored-value mobile cards, like the ones Starbucks popularized, will become more mainstream, providing businesses with small, interest-free loans.
For more information on the benefits of touchless payments, check out this webinar: Is Touchless Payment the New Normal?
With even those states hit hardest by the coronavirus preparing to reopen the economy, restaurant operators are wondering what that means for their dining rooms. The close quarters that were considered intimate and vibrant just two months ago are unsafe and untenable now, meaning these businesses will have to completely reinvent themselves to continue operating in a post-Covid-19 world.
For many, that means investing heavily in technology that will minimize the contact a guest has with surfaces, from menus to door handles.
Paytronix CEO Andrew Robbins told The Boston Globe he predicts a new restaurant landscape where technology is even more prominent than it is today. He suggested we could see guests using phone apps and QR codes to access their menus and bills, and that order-ahead technology may be used for the dine-in experience in addition to takeout.
Over the last month, major brands across the hospitality industry have been announcing their reopening plans, sharing details of how they’ll keep guests safe.
In a trend happening nationwide, we continue to see a recovery among our restaurant clients. Looking at the week-on-week data we can see that the run of positive weekly results has continued, with each day an average of ~5% to 10% higher than the week before. Mother’s Day, however, showed two interesting trends. First, it was a massive uptick from the previous Sunday, but check sizes were also higher than visits, indicating that people visited more expensive restaurants, or at least were ordering food for more people at once.
There is always a bump for Mother’s Day, but the difference this year from the previous trend shows tremendous pent-up demand from the market. Clearly people wanted to spoil mom.
Still, when we look at the fixed-period chart that compares sales to a pre-COVID baseline, we can see that visits and spend are still down, but up from the bottom. We’re a long way from a full recovery, but the trendlines are headed in the right direction.
The Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell University estimates that the cost to restaurants for employee turnover averages $5,864 per person. There is also an ongoing labor shortage brought on by a combination of low unemployment, a decaying transportation system, and a lack of suitable housing near the nation’s urban cores. With minimum wages rising around the country it’s easy to understand why restaurants want to automate as much of the guest experience as possible. This is why Taco Bell is now paying some managers six-figure salaries.
Turnover in the restaurant industry reached nearly 75% in 2018, with quick-service restaurants registering higher numbers. Panera Bread reports a 130% turnover rate, while Chipotle says that turnover for its hourly employees is 145%. […]