New Delhi: Online food aggregator and delivery platform Zomato is taking steps to minimise contact at restaurants as and when lockdown restrictions are lifted and consumers resume eating out.
The company said it is working towards adding new features on its app that will allow diners to use online menus, place orders, and make payments when they visit restaurants as it anticipates the covid-19 pandemic to vastly change consumer habits.
Zomato is working on adding these "contactless dining" features to its app, and is in the process of on-boarding restaurants willing to partner with it.
The company will roll out these features in India, the United Arab Emirates, Australia, New Zealand, Portugal, Lebanon and Qatar to begin with. The features will apply as and when lockdowns are lifted and restaurants commence dine-in operations.
The move, said the company, in a blog on Saturday, “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."
The contactless menu will require diners to scan a QR code on the table to explore the menu with dish and pairing recommendations. A new feature will also allow users to order through the app, limiting their contact with the staff.
Users of the Zomato app already online access to menus across restaurants. However, they will now be able to place orders using the app once they visit the restaurant.
As for payments, users part of the complimentary dining programme Zomato Gold, already use the app to make payments. The company is now working towards allowing diners to use the feature, albeit if restaurants agree to partner with the app to enable such features.
Retailers the world over are preparing for life after covid-19 that will, for certain, change the way people buy groceries, visit malls, cinemas, and eat out at restaurants.
Companies expect consumers to be apprehensive in the months following the easing of restrictions as concerns around safety and hygiene remain paramount.
As a result, retailers, including restaurants, are shifting the way they do business by ensuring minimum staff on the ground, and building better access for shoppers online.
“We anticipate that the food service industry, specifically the dining-out segment, will experience significant and permanent changes in the way it operates. Based on some recent consumer surveys, diners are ranking safety, assurance and hygiene as their top factors when they choose a restaurant to dine in," Zomato said in its blog.
The company is also building additional features on the app, “such as the ability to order multiple courses, and the option to pay for yourself or the entire table," it said.
It will also add safety features on the app wherein restaurants are able to self-report safety and hygiene practices. “Prompts on the Zomato app will reveal the restaurant’s hygiene records to assist in informed decision-making, and also allow consumers to report any deviations from what has been self-reported by the restaurant," the company said.
The success of Zomato’s initiatives, however, will depend on how the company is able to rally support from its restaurant partners, which were, until recently, up in arms against the food delivery platform's steep discounts and complimentary deals.