Restaurants push for contactless dining as India unlocks

QR-based menus, which are among the many things the industry is planning. are seeing a lot of traction

Prasid Banerjee
Updated9 Jun 2020, 01:12 AM IST
Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

When Chaayos reopens its stores across the country, the tea inside will be made by Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled robots. Customers will be able to place orders through an app and these automated tea-making machines, called Chai Monks, will start preparing the tea according to the order.

The company also has an app that does away with the need for menus and bill books, or other payment mechanisms.

Both the robots and the app were solutions Chaayos had provided pre-covid, but it has added some features to the app, explained founder Nitin Saluja. One such feature will soon allow customers to schedule an order for takeaway, walk into a store at the scheduled time, and leave with the order after minimal human interaction.

Chaayos isn’t the only Indian eatery to look at contactless dining solutions. Most forecasts say there will be a reduction in walk-in dining after the lockdown is lifted.

Contactless dining solutions are picking up fast in India, according to food ordering and delivery platform Zomato. The company has joined hands with 20,000 restaurants for its contactless dining solution, which was launched in India a little over a month ago on 18 April, said Gaurav Gupta, founder and chief operating officer of Zomato.

The platform has linked up with national chains such as Nirula’s, Roseate House, JW Marriot, Baskin Robbins and Mad Over Donuts.

Zomato’s solution, like Chaayos, also does away with the need for customers to be handed menus and bill books. Customers can walk into a cafe or restaurant, scan a QR code on the table to get its menu, and place their orders. Payment is done through Zomato’s app so that people do not have to touch anything unless absolutely necessary.

QR-based menus, which are among the many things the industry is planning, are seeing a lot of traction.

Digital menu brand My Menu has made its QR Menu solution free of charge for any restaurant signing up during this period.

“I would say 80% of our new customers are primarily looking at just showcasing their menus in a digital contactless medium while still keeping the essence of their brand,” said Abhishek Bose, chief executive officer, My Menu.

The company grew from a little more than 350 restaurants in a “handful of countries” to more than 1,800 plus restaurants in more than 18 countries during the pandemic, Bose said. Its clients includes Taj Hotels, Radisson, Novotel, Ibis, Mercure, Royal Orchid Central, Oakwood Premier, Zone by Park and Biryani Batuta.

Platforms such as payments service Paytm are also trying to promote digital menus.

On Monday, Paytm said it has held talks with 10 state governments to make “scan to order” part of their standard operating procedure for business functions once the lockdown is lifted.

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First Published:9 Jun 2020, 01:12 AM IST
HomeCompaniesNewsRestaurants push for contactless dining as India unlocks

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