How to Set Up Contactless Dining With ChowNow’s Online Ordering
As the restaurant industry continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, regulations and recommendations keep changing. Since March of this year, countless restaurateurs have had to immediately close their dining rooms, lay off staff, quickly adopt online ordering, and overhaul their menus. Now that many local and state governments have eased shelter-in-place restrictions and allowed businesses to open up, restaurant owners need to adapt once more. The new normal will involve social distancing, personal protective equipment, and new technology to facilitate contactless dining and reduce the risk of transmission.
Your to-do list for reopening is almost certainly daunting, but we’re here to lend a hand. If you use ChowNow for online ordering, it’s surprisingly simple to set up a process for contactless dining.
All you need to do is add a “Dine-In” menu item via your ChowNow dashboard. Your guests will then add this dine-in item to their carts and—depending on your preferences—indicate the size of their party or choose a table indicator for where they’ll eat their meals. Neither guests nor staff will need to learn to use a new technology, and you won’t have to make any additional investments at a time when cash is especially tight.
Not a ChowNow client yet? Schedule a free demo to see how our commission-free online ordering platform for dine-in, curbside, pickup, and delivery will help your restaurant thrive.
Here’s how to set everything up.
Step 1: Navigate to the “Add Item” section of your menu editor.
- Log into your restaurant’s ChowNow Admin with the same login you use for your ChowNow Tablet. If you don’t remember your password, you can simply select “Reset Password,” which will send instructions to the email address on file.
- Hover over “Locations” in the top panel and select a location. Then choose “Menus” on the right hand side, find the “Item” tab at the top, and select “New Item.”
Step 2: Begin to fill out the information for your new contactless dining menu item.
This is where you’ll specify instructions for your guests and set up any options you want to offer them.Show Details
- Add a name and description for the menu item. Here’s what we suggest:
- Item Name: Dine-In
- Description (if using table numbers): Add this item to the cart if you’re dining in with us for a contactless dining experience! Please add your table number via the choices below so we know where to drop off the food. You’ll receive two confirmation emails. The first will let you know we received the order, and the second will confirm the estimated ready time.
- Description (if specifying party size): Add this item to the cart if you’re dining in with us for a contactless dining experience! Please specify the number of guests in your party so we can seat you comfortably. You’ll receive two confirmation emails. The first will let you know we received the order, and the second will confirm the estimated ready time.
- Within the “Category” section, choose the green + button and create a “Dine-In” category.
- Select the menus that you would like this option to appear on.
- Within the “Serving Portions” section, select the green + icon. Delete the word “Regular” and price it at $0.
Step 3: If desired, add table indicators.
You can use any type of table indicator you’d like—just be sure that the tables are visibly labeled for patrons. You can also just choose to call out customer names instead of using a table indicator system. If you don’t want to use a table indicator system, skip this step.Show Details
- To start adding table indicators, naivgate to the “Edit Item” options on the right side of the screen, and select the green + icon next to “Menu Options”.
- Within the “Name” section, write “Table Numbers” (or your preferred identifier).
- Select the regions this should appear (for most single locations there will be one option).
- Uncheck the box below “Shared” and hit “Save.”
- Make this a required field by specifying a minimum choice of 1. To only allow diners to select one table, enter a maximum choice of 1.
- Select the green + button next to “Options” below your newly created category.
- List the table number (or other indicator) for $0.
- Click the green + button next to “Option” to add a new table number until all of the possible table numbers are listed.
Step 4: Save your new contactless dining option and place it at the top of your menu.
- Once you’re done creating this new menu item, make sure to select “Accept” to save the item and update the menu.
- Click the “Menu” option on the left side again and drag your “Dine-In” category to the top so that it appears at the very top of the menu for customers. This way, they can instantly see it to understand that it’s an option and add it to their carts.
Step 5: Promote and share your contactless dining feature online and offline.
Of course, now that you’re reopening your doors, you should announce your new online ordering option to your customers online via your website, social media, and email. Once your guests arrive at your restaurant, make the contact-free dining process streamlined by creating posters that guide them through the steps navigating to your online ordering and placing a dine-in order.
While you can write the link to your website on these posters, it’ll also be helpful to create a QR code to let guests instantly access your online ordering. They just use their smartphones to scan it, and they’ll go straight to your ChowNow menu. It’s simple to generate your own code and add it to your promotional materials. Here’s how:
- In the ChowNow Admin site navigate to the HQ Level by hovering over the “Location” tab at the top of the page and selecting “Headquarters.”
- Then select “Integrations” from the far left side. Locate the section labeled “Linking to ChowNow Ordering,” and copy the URL listed next to where it says “Your online ordering page address for your website is.”
- Go to a QR code generating website like QR Code Monkey. Paste your ChowNow ordering URL into the box beneath “Your URL” and make any other optional customizations you would like.
- Once you’ve generated the QR code, save it to your files and add it to collateral and displays for your customers.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact your ChowNow Restaurant Success Manager or the Support team for help. If you’re not a ChowNow restaurant partner yet, go ahead and schedule a free demo to see how we’ll help you grow your dine-in and takeout business.
Want more techniques for maximizing your ChowNow menu? Check out our post about real-life menu optimization stories, and take a look at our four tips for growing your restaurant’s revenue using your online menu.