Dineout’s onward march into contactless future of restaurants

Offering sterilisation kits, in-kitchen cameras to partners

NEW DELHI: The ongoing COVID19 crisis is paving the way for a ‘new normal’ as most industry experts are arguing. There is positivity about demand reviving sooner than later, there are going to be newer consumer engagement rules, redefined spaces, and modified demands from not just users but also stakeholders. One of the sectors to quickly get back on track, if China is an example to follow, is going to be the restaurants and related services. There is a lot of pent-up demand in the sector to be addressed;  however, a lot of investments in new technologies and ways of indulging a visitor will have to be introduced as there is going to be a lot of apprehensions in a consumer’s mind.

Taking a positive step in this direction, Dineout, one of the topmost digital products companies in the space, has started a slew of initiatives, with its Contactless Dining Suite, to ensure ‘contactless engagement’ at its partner restaurants. Not just that, it has started to extend these services to other categories as well, including hospitals, grocery stores, airports, and alcohol stores.

Dineout co-founder and CEO Ankit Mehrotra told “Even before the Covid2019 breakout, we were one of the largest tech providers in the restaurant industry, helping them from CRM to cost-management, to billing, etc. A total of 15,000 restaurants were already a part of our network, utilising our software.”

He added: “With contactless, we will have to understand that the idea is not to eliminate contact but make it lesser, taking it out from places where it can be easily avoided.”

Mehrotra explained that with this whole suite, restaurants of tomorrow will function as cinema houses, where one will be able to book the table in advance, and also pre-order food, in theory reducing the amount of time they will be spending there.

In addition to these services, there are going to be digital parking receipts and the visitors will be able to alert the valet to bring their car to the porch while paying the bill. The whole idea is to make the whole experience seamless, reduce time spent at crowded places, and completely take away the need to touch the menu, which is probably the most infected thing at a restaurant.

The exciting part about this the visitors will not have to download the Dineout app to avail these services.

Not just this, Dineout is offering its partner restaurants a yearly package, which will include a one-time set of PPE kits, sterilisation machines for utensils and cutlery, and software suite to manage the bookings and payments.

“All these services come at a very cost-effective solution. The charges depend on a case-to-case basis. We are in touch with around 3000 restaurants where we might be offering an initial six months or so of service for free on a trial basis,” Mehrotra told us.

Dineout is partnering with companies like Equinox to develop these features. It is also in touch with Google to develop certain other features like discovery and reservation models etc.

Some of the companies that have already partnered with Dineout for the Contactless Suite are The Park (Juhu, Mumbai), Hyatt (Pune), Holiday Inn (Delhi), Radisson (Hyderabad), Mad Over Donuts, Mainland China, Giannis and SideWok.

Mehrotra also added that in the next phase, their focus is going to be on architectural changes as well. “We are already working on increasing gaps between seats at partner restaurants. Going ahead, at more crowded places like QSRs, we are planning to install physical partitions. Most of the standing spaces in bars will be turned into seating arrangements to control the crowd.”

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