Resurrecting The F&B industry

Restaurants strategising their operational model post-COVID, find inresto by Dineout’s Contactless Dining product suite beneficial.

Nisha Verma

Every monumental event in history has reshaped the world into being what we see today. Similarly, the onslaught of this pandemic has made individuals and businesses retrace their steps back to their drawing board. The effects, however, have transformed the restaurant industry and accelerated it into the future.

inresto by Dineout plays a vital role in revamping the industry from the inside with its array of advanced contactless technology. More than 10,000 restaurants like Radisson, Hard Rock Cafe, Subway, Conrad, The Beer Cafe, Mamagoto across the country are now using their technology to provide a safe dining out experience.

Tech is the only way forward

For restaurants, one of the primary objectives was to offer a safe dining experience. Inresto made it possible by offering seamless technology that removed non-essential human interaction and removed high touch elements. “If you are focused on the problem, you will only see the problem. But if you are focused on finding the solution, you will end up finding that and more,” says Ankit Mehrotra, CEO & Co-Founder of Dineout.

“We realised our vantage point when our B2B and B2C world collided. As Dineout, we gauged the inhibitions of the diners. As inresto, we built technology that removed those inhibitions, thereby helping our restaurant partners to reopen their doors confidently,” points out Mehrotra.

Building trust is key

A safe dining experience is key to build diner confidence and trust, especially now when people are sceptical of stepping out. Safe dining is what leads to loyalty and re-visits from diners today. A recent survey conducted by Dineout with over 1 million respondents, brought to the fore customers’ expectations when they visit a restaurant. The survey revealed that 96 per cent of diners preferred to be seated as soon as they reach. Old style menus are passé, and 80 per cent of diners prefer ordering through a digital menu. Even cash payments are a thing of the past, with 55 per cent of respondents saying that they would rather opt to pay digitally. Hence, the contactless solutions, offered by inresto, will play a key role in building customer loyalty. A six-step contactless journey powered by inresto product suite does the trick for restaurants to ensure a seamless experience for its diners:

  1. 1. Pre-ordering – Cut the wait times at the restaurants, as diners opt for Dineout’s pre-ordering feature to ensure that the food is ready by the time they reach the restaurant.
  2. 2. Contactless Valet – Avoid crowds, as diners are able to get their cars brought in, as soon as payment is done. inresto Valet aims to reduce time spent at community areas and increase driver efficiency.
  3. Contactless Seating – Make reservations online and simplify digital table allotment. inresto’s Guest & Reserve technology ensures capacity management at restaurants as per the government regulations.
  4. Contactless Menu – inresto’s digital menu solution DineIn uses Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence to offer dynamic pricing and customized offers at partner restaurants besides offering diners the options to place an order by simply scanning a QR code from their devices.
  5. Contactless Payment – Simplify the payment process for both the restaurant and diners. Digital payments via Dineout Pay removes the need to exchange cash and cards.
  6. Contactless Feedback – inresto feedback helps collect real-time response on the dining experience and helps the restaurant increase their Net Promoter Score.

“We built technology that removed inhibitions of diners, thereby helping our restaurant psartners to reopen their doors confidently”

Well-equipped for the new normal

Maintaining the utmost hygiene standards is paramount. Easier said than done. “We forecasted the need for standard hygiene checks and sanitation almost instantly. And decided to scout the best hygiene partners in the industry to help facilitate our restaurant partners to adapt and thrive in the new normal. Our collaboration with Equinox Lab, Rentokil & Zoono, QubeHealth and Staqu is directed towards ensuring a safe dining experience. We also curated a personal protective eqipument (PPE) kit that 70 per cent of our restaurant partners were happy to acquire from us,” shares Mehrotra.

“In the month of May 2020, we drafted a Whitepaper outlining the guidelines for the restaurant industry which was released by the Additional Director General of the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, Ms. Rupinder Brar. The Ministry recognised the merits of contactless dining as a confidencebuilding measure to bring back diners and reiterated the importance of following the recommended practices when it comes to restaurant operations to ensure a safe space for people to visit post lockdown,” adds Mehrotra.

This Whitepaper addresses key actionable points to create a contactless dining experience and enables restaurants to regain the trust of diners by providing them a safe andsecure environment.

Owning diner data

Data is gold at this time in the industry, as it not only helps restaurants to focus on personalising their products and communication, but also makes them gauge customer behavior for the future.

“There won’t be a better time for restaurants to take ownership of their diner data. This means much more than sending them a personalized message. What most don’t realise is the true potential of this data which can be analysed to make future business decisions. With inresto product suite, we provide full control to the respective restaurant partners which helps them in business growth and diner acquisition,” shares Mehrotra.

Data points collected using valet, table reservation, delivery & takeaway, digital ordering and feedback can be accessed by restaurants to increase their revenue and decrease costs. Restaurants can develop loyalty programmes, run targeted campaigns, and analyse reports for profitability.

Making restaurant partners #aatmanirbhar

Leveraging social media platforms where diners tend to spend most of their time, inresto is on a mission to help restaurants get direct orders.

“Up until a few months back, social media was just a tool that was largely used to market the restaurant’s offerings to its patrons. Now is the time to utilise the wonders of this channel to the fullest and beyond.

Fullest, by sending regular and personalized communication while keeping in mind the diner attributes. Beyond, by using social media to get orders directly from the diners. We’ve made it feasible for restaurants to have an ‘Order Now’ button on their Instagram handles, that enables their diners to order food from the digital menu directly and instantly. inresto is the only B2B partner in India that has made Instagram integration possible for its partners.

By doing so we are making our restaurant partners Atmanirbhar, enabling them to monetize their own channel, and helping them avoid third party aggregator commission,” claims Mehrotra.

Another offering from inresto is to leverage WhatsApp for automated order fulfilment. “Incorporating WhatsApp as an official platform for restaurants shortens their ordering process and gives regular updates about the order status to the diners, thereby establishing trust on the world’s most widely used messenger,” he adds.

Delivery & takeaway: The knights in shining armour

Have you ever heard of five-star hotels delivering food at your doorstep, or ever thought about your favourite exclusive gourmet restaurant making sure that the dish you love reaches you in time? Today, this crisis has changed the way delivery, takeaway, and food pick-up operates.

“For the longest time, the Indian restaurant industry played it safe. Sticking to the basics, about 75 per cent of the organised restaurants operated with the dine-in model and very few dabbled with home delivery. But presently, they have an opportunity to hit a home run.

Numbers never lie. A CGA Peach report pointed out that in 2019, more than 50 per cent of the adult population in Britain had their food delivered to their doorstep. That’s about 28.6 million people. Restaurants across the world have started acknowledging the increasing appetite for home delivery and takeaway, while dine-in picks up a steady pace.

Similarly, in our country, many restaurants, especially luxury dine-ins who earlier shied away from delivery, have now curated delivery-only menus. This change in behaviour has a significant impact on the market and indicates faster recovery,” claims Mehrotra.

Emerging market for drive-through & curbside

Speaking on emerging trends worldwide and their ripple effect in our country, Mehrotra informs, “A report by Mckinsey & Co, suggested that 91 per cent of Indians have changed their stepping out behaviour. Similar patterns have been observed in the overseas market, in lieu of this, most restaurants with available parking spaces are looking to convert into drive-thrus.

In India, takeaway & drive-through occupied about one per cent of the overall restaurant industry as compared to 15-20 per cent in the US & European market during the pre-COVID times. However, given the current trends in India, it is expected to go up to 15 per cent over the next six months. An early adopter, Timbre, on the outskirts of Bangalore is using inresto’s contactless dining product suite to let diners experience an open-air movie theatre with delicious food served to them in their cars. This is a prime example of adopting technology and adapting to the new normal.”

inresto is the one-stop shop

“inresto is a step ahead of the usual ordering and billing platforms, which are multiplying at lightning speed,” says Mehrotra.

Restaurants which are looking at a fast recovery are keen on getting business from all possible platforms and there are one too many in the market. inresto Point of Sale (POS) is the only technology that is compatible with the majority of market players such as Zomato, Swiggy, PhonePE, Google, Paytm, etc.

We are bridging the gap in the marketplace and enabling restaurants to manage orders, logistics, delivery, inventory and billing from all such platforms at one place. Our aim is to collaborate and provide a 360 degree solution to restaurants,” he concludes.

Right investment

Owing to the crisis, the industry has witnessed unavailability of capital for investment. Restaurants need to assess the implications before investing. Investments made in the right technologies which enable business operations will result in fruitful growth.

“Over 10,000 restaurants like Radisson, Hard Rock Cafe, Subway, now use inresto, offering a safe dining-out experience”