If there was an official buzzword of the pandemic-era restaurant, it would be “contactless.” But as is the case with any technology that becomes an overnight trend, there are now so many contactless restaurant tech solutions available it is getting hard to tell them apart. That means the next few months will see these companies introducing new features in a bid to make their products stand out. One such is Order for Me, a Los Angeles-based company that offers contactless tech for dine-in and takeout service.
The system uses QR code technology, where users can enter the table code or scan it with their own device and subsequently pull up the menu. Like other contactless systems out there, Order for Me lets customers view that menu, order items, and pay for them from their own mobile devices.
At this point, such features are table stakes in the contactless dining room game, and so Order for Me has taken its system one step further. Users can also keep the bill open — the virtual equivalent of a “tab” — until they are ready to pay for the entire meal, which might include an impulse purchase like dessert or a second (or fifth) cocktail partway through the meal. Order for Me also lets guests split the check and tip, so that each person can pay their share via their own mobile device. All of this is done through a patent-pending ordering technology, according to an email sent to The Spoon.
While the ability to wait until the end of the meal to pay and tip might at first seem a small development in the world of the contactless restaurant, it actually has huge implications, especially in the dining room. The features allow for potentially bigger tickets for restaurants, which need all the help they can get right now in this time of reduced dining room capacity.
For servers, these features could also lead to higher tips. While anecdotal evidence, a server I know commented recently that he rarely gets anything above 15 percent with his restaurant’s contactless payment system because guests are tipping before the meal actually arrives or they’ve had any real chance to interact with him. That’s a rough lot for servers if they’re getting 15 percent no matter how well they do their jobs — jobs that might disappear if the restaurant closes because of a pandemic.
The other notable restaurant tech company offering customers the ability to keep a tab open is Paytronix, which raised $10 million earlier this year and announced its contactless software for the dining room in June.
So far, Order for Me is the only system we know of that also allows guests to split the bill. But given the way tech trends evolve, it’s only a matter of time before other restaurant tech systems incorporate that feature into their own systems.