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5 Restaurant Trends Driven by the Pandemic

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Topics: Restaurants

October 6, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the ways we live and do business. Within the hospitality industry, in particular, the pandemic has forced restaurants to adopt new technology to meet the needs of guests and create new revenue streams. Here are five of the hottest new trends that every restaurant operator should consider implementing if they haven’t already.

1. Online Ordering 

Online ordering, particularly mobile ordering, was already growing in popularity before the pandemic, and now it has taken off to new heights with consumers ordering take-out and delivery in record numbers so they can eat in the safety of their own homes. In order to reduce costs associated with third-party delivery services, savvy restaurant operators have turned to offering mobile-friendly online ordering right from their own websites.

Online Ordering with SpotOn

2. Curbside Pickup

In addition to offering traditional take-out and delivery options, many restaurants are taking a hybrid approach between the two. Curbside pickup allows guests to get food without having to step foot into a restaurant, while for the restaurant, it cuts back on many of the logistics and costs associated with offering delivery. Simply combining curbside pickup with online ordering or even a mobile card reader is often all the technology you need.

3. Ghost Kitchens

The pandemic has also given rise to off-premise-only restaurants, which rely solely on delivery and have no public entrance for guests to use even if they wanted to visit. The idea is to take advantage of the booming delivery market while utilizing smaller facilities and skeleton kitchen staffs to keep operating costs as low as possible. Savvy ghost kitchen operators further streamline their operations by integrating third-party delivery orders right into their restaurant POS.

4. Virtual Brands

Taking a page from ghost kitchens, many established restaurants are taking advantage of the facilities they already have to launch virtual brands. Indeed, it’s not uncommon to see well-known restaurants cooking up food for several virtual restaurants that only offer delivery. The idea is to get the most from the facility and kitchen staff you already have, while taking advantage of online ordering and the popularity of third-party delivery services. 

5. QR Codes for On-Premise Dining

QR codes have made a huge comeback during the pandemic. Multiple technologies have sprung up around the ability of everyday mobile phones to scan these succinct graphic codes. Perhaps the most popular option is Dine-In Ordering, which allows for no-touch menus and contactless payments. In short, the guest scans a QR code at the table to pull up the menu on their phone. They can then order and pay from their phone, with their order going directly to the restaurant’s POS system. In addition to helping promote social distancing and contactless ordering, it also helps improve table turn times for the restaurant and boost revenue.


Another popular variation for full-service restaurants is printing QR codes on receipts so that guests can scan to pay without having to pass cash or their credit card to the server. Even self-serve areas are getting in on the action, with fountain drink kiosks now giving guests the ability to pour their drink with their phone!

Does your restaurant need affordable new technology to adapt to the times? SpotOn can help! Get your free demo today to see how we can help you create new revenue opportunities and reduce costs.

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