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Future-proofing your pub as restrictions begin to lift

By Fionn Hart, UK country manager at Flipdish

- Last updated on GMT

Future-proofing: 'The post-pandemic pub experience is markedly different to what we’ve historically been used to, with businesses having to dramatically change the way they operate'
Future-proofing: 'The post-pandemic pub experience is markedly different to what we’ve historically been used to, with businesses having to dramatically change the way they operate'

Related tags: Food, Technology, Pub, Freehouse, Customers, Training, Staff, Coronavirus, app

As Boris announced the return of indoor dining from 17 May, the industry breathed a sigh of relief as pubs and bars were finally able to welcome customers over the threshold after a tumultuous year of lockdowns.

Despite impressive pivoting and innovating to keep these businesses afloat – whether by selling meal and cocktail delivery kits or adapting car parks and outdoor spaces – welcoming back customers safely inside has been the most important step for survival.

The post-pandemic pub experience is markedly different to what we’ve historically been used to, with businesses having to dramatically change the way they operate.  

While some of these measures negatively impact profit potential and overheads – such as social distancing measures and one-way systems – other measures may prove so convenient that they will become permanent fixtures. 

For example, digital menu viewing and table ordering via a QR code; not only helping to guarantee higher standards of customer and staff safety by reducing the opportunity of infectious disease transmission, but also removing barriers of traditional print menus. 

By digitalising these to be accessed on customer phones, management can alter prices, trial promotions and even test new menu items with minimum costs, while also reducing touch points. 

Boost footfall and profits

From a consumer point of view, research recently conducted by Flipdish has shown that this innovation is preferred by customers; indeed, as many as 80% of customers hope that online ordering will remain even after the pandemic has been and gone, with well over half (62%) saying they are more likely to visit a pub in future if they can order digitally. 

These stats show that ultimately this will increase footfall in the future and help drive higher profits.  

From a business point of view, digital table ordering reduces customer wait times, which in turn increases table turnover and higher customer numbers for several reasons.  

Flipdish research has also found that British punters want online ordering to stay to avoid queuing at the bar, with 45% of people wanting to optimise the time they had with the friends and family and 27% feeling safer in doing so. 

The ability to pay for drinks as you go using your smartphone also kills the “can I have the bill, please?” gesture and bill splitting exercise which can increase table waiting and staff time.

‘Different sense of normality’ 

Digital ordering also means operators obtain data which helps them learn more about regulars and customers to tailor menus and online experiences.  

If they’re not returning, the data allows owners to get in touch with personalised push notifications or SMS messages to help establish brand loyalty – something that is key as the industry recovers. 

The digitalisation of the pub ordering systems for indoor dining looks like it will become a permanent fixture that can both enhance the customer experience and streamline the business, without taking away from the atmosphere we come to expect.  

This summer and beyond will slowly see the return of a different sense of normality, but one where pub trips with friends, family and colleagues will remain at the heart of our social lives. 

Helping customers enjoy their time in our establishments more efficiently by embracing long-term change is sure to be a win-win all round.

Flipdish is everything you need to take orders direct from your own sites and apps, offer digital ordering from kiosks or phones, and grow your business with marketing and loyalty campaigns. Read our latest case study here.

Related topics: Technology

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