Restaurant tech company Preso has released a Contactless Dining Kit to assist restaurants with social distancing measures as they prepare to reopen dining rooms in the coming days and weeks. The kit, which Presto is making available free of charge to restaurants, notably offers technologies to assist restaurants with contactless order and payment, according to an email sent to The Spoon.
In certain states, restaurants are slowly but surely reopening. Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, and others have all loosened stay-at-home restrictions to varying degrees, though restaurants are operating at reduced capacity and with stricter social distancing measures in place.
In a letter sent to California Governor Gavin Newsom, of which The Spoon has obtained a copy, the Redwood City, CA-based company outlined the technologies on offer in its Contactless Dining Kit. “As our state looks towards reopening for business, it will be important for restaurants to operate in an environment that can reassure customers about their personal safety,” the letter states, before going on to say that the new normal will be “very different” and that “technology can play a very critical role in enabling this new normal.”
For the Contactless Dining Kit, that technology primarily addresses how restaurants can ensure social distancing during the order and pay process in the dining room. That means plenty of contactless solutions. Presto’s tech stack already offered a number of contactless order and pay solutions prior to the pandemic; for its kit, the company has pulled relevant pieces of software and hardware and bundle them together.
The contactless menu option lets restaurants place a QR code sticker on tables, which guests can scan to access the menu. Any loyalty or rewards programs the restaurant runs can be integrated into the process. For those guests that can’t use their own device or don’t want to, the restaurant can also provide the menu via a Presto tablet placed on the table.
Restaurants can choose to have those orders directly integrated into their main POS system, which would definitely be the more contactless way to go. Otherwise, orders from diners’ devices land in a Staff Tablet and will have to be input into the POS system.
Finally, the kit’s contactless payments feature lets guests pay via their own devices or the aforementioned Presto tablet on the table.
Presto says on its website that it will ship a kit within three days of a restaurant signing up for one. Deployment takes “less than an hour in most cases” — though that doesn’t factor in restaurant staff having to learn how to work a new technology. On that front, Presto appears to be trying to make the switch to a more tech-centric dining experience as easy as possible for restaurants. Kits arrive with a tablet, 60 QR code stickers and table placards, setup instructions, and a web portal from which businesses can create and manage their online menus.
As I mentioned earlier, Presto is giving this pack away for free right now to restaurants. That’s a generous move, given the turbulent times, but it’s also a smart one from a business perspective. Presto is a front-of-house technology company, and at the moment, front-of-house players are fighting to remain relevant in a world where the in-house dining experience will probably never be the same. Allowing restaurants to sample its technology stack for free potentially gives Presto wider exposure across the sector and, so long as execution goes well, helps the company solidify its credibility as an important tech company in the space.
The company hasn’t yet said if there is a time limit on getting the kit, only that “supplies are limited” and that the offer is only valid while said supplies last.
That it’s chosen to focus on contactless order and payments is also a move that could pay off down the line for Presto. As a growing number of restaurant industry figures have said, contactless will be the way forward, and one of the most important parts of the restaurant experience to get right is ordering and payments.
If Presto can take some headache out of that process for restaurants with its technology, it could win over a lot of new and loyal clients as the foodservice world starts to reopen.