Seemingly all restaurant operators have had to adjust how they operate during the course of the pandemic, whether by enabling curbside pickup, designing delivery-friendly menus, redesigning a strip of sidewalk to accommodate tables in any weather, or otherwise. But even as we ease back into more normal conditions, it will likely benefit you to retain many of the changes you have made. For one, make your outdoor dining areas usable year-round with the help of solid structures, sturdy weather-resistant canopies, heat lamps and even those dining bubbles used widely last winter. This is simply about scrutinizing your entire real estate footprint so you are making money from each square foot. Along those lines, try flexing your space to better accommodate carryout and delivery orders during lunch, or offering promotions to remote workers looking for a temporary workspace or snack break during your quiet periods. Your takeout menu is another area that needs to hold strong with foods that travel well, coordinated cocktails and special touches like notes or candies included in the bag. Continue to seek out technology that will help you streamline ordering and payment, minimize lines and turn tables faster. Finally, maintain your efforts to show your commitment to cleanliness. Hand sanitizers should be ready for guests as they walk in your doors – and asking guests to sanitize their hands before they sit can help you show them you care about safety.
So many of our payments have become contactless in the past year – and businesses have felt the need to offer card-not-present payment options in an effort to maintain safety, enable off-premise food purchases and promote customer convenience. But as card-not-present transactions have climbed alongside food delivery orders in the past year, so have the opportunities for fraud. Research from Aite Group forecasts a 16.4 percent increase in card-not-present fraud this year. This fraud can hit restaurants with chargebacks that are difficult to dispute, but fortunately there are steps restaurants can take to help detect and prevent fraud. Overall, it’s about identifying patterns about your customers – who they are, how they are ordering, are and how they are finding you. Machine learning tools can help you identify what good customers look like – then flag those that look risky. For example, an order placed from a city other than the one listed as the delivery destination might raise a red flag for a restaurant business. ATM Marketplace advises having a fraud-protection provider that helps screen every transaction – and it’s important for the restaurant to partner with them to ensure the system is adaptable to the business. In a recent webinar entitled “How to Protect your Restaurant from Online Scammers,” Brittany Allen, Trust & Safety Architect at Sift, advised restaurants to use fraud detection systems that provide an activity log that lets them view a customer’s session history, and which use a single dashboard that eliminates the need to jump from tool to tool. Beyond that, Allen said a restaurant operator should know how different fraud alerts rank for their business – and what kinds of fraud similar businesses are facing. Finally, a system should allow you to take action somehow, whether to flag a suspicious transaction for further review or to stop a transaction from occurring.