There is no way you could get me to go to a theme park right now. Too many people in one place, too much complacency and too many unknowns about where we are at with this pandemic.
However, theme parks across the country are pushing past their COVID-19 concerns to re-open. As they do, they are implementing new procedures to create social distancing and minimize viral transmission as much as possible. Part of those procedures is mobile food ordering.
Six Flags announced last week that it was rolling out mobile food ordering and contactless payment across all of its parks. Guests just need to download the Six Flags mobile app, which allows them to choose their restaurant, place their order and pay. The app then gives them pickup instructions.
Six Flags isn’t the first to offer mobile ordering. Disney theme parks, which haven’t opened to the public yet, have reportedly expanded their mobile ordering and contactless payment options as well. And for a while there, it looked like Disney was even thinking about delivering its food to the front door of annual passholders.
Beyond theme parks, mobile ordering and contactless payment are quickly becoming table stakes for any restaurant. Fears of becoming a coronavirus hot spot have restaurants doing extra scrubbing and removing contact points that lots of people touch.
In places like theme parks, which involve masses of people and lines, I also wouldn’t be surprised to see the implementation of something like WaitTime. WaitTime uses computer vision and AI to monitor room occupancy (so there aren’t too many people in one room), and can measure crowd densities so establishments can map out where they need to thin people out.
Despite mobile ordering and contactless payments, studies show people are still wary about going back to restaurants (I get it!). If they do go back to theme parks, it won’t be because they can suddenly order a churro from their phones. But if they can’t resist the siren song of roller coasters this summer, perhaps it will get more people more to adopt mobile ordering and use it across more restaurants.