While its doors remained closed through 2020’s pandemic lockdown, the group planned how to reopen safely while continuing to capture the atmosphere and ambience it is so well known for. They wanted, not just to reopen, but to stand out from the crowd and become the place to visit post-lockdown.
To achieve this its goals, Group Manager, Rob Scott-South and his team began searching for a digital ordering solution; something they believed could prove central to the restaurant industry in a post-COVID-19 world.
They came across QikServe’s Preoday platform after a recommendation from one of the world’s leading restaurant chains. At that stage of lockdown, reopening was still some weeks away, but Ambiente Tapas saw the perfect way to make an introduction of the QikServe technology to customers. Having been taking manual orders and payment for takeaway orders, it launched online ordering. Immediately operations were smoother, and orders became less complicated for customers – and staff.
When Ambiente Tapas reopened its dining rooms in July, rollout of the solution continued and ‘Order to Seat’ was introduced at all four of the group’s restaurants.
Now, when customers make their bookings in advance of a visit, they are sent an email explaining the service. Upon arrival, and once they’ve been shown to their table, they. are asked if they’re comfortable with the platform and are given the opportunity to ask questions. They are then free to browse the menu, place their orders and pay at leisure, all through one portal. The customer’s table number is stored, so if they want further dishes, as is often the way with tapas, they can easily place further orders.
To make it even easier for guests to use the platform in the future, the group is considering the addition of table based QR codes.
Rob reports that integration of the technology into the group has been close to seamless and believes proof of how customers have taken to it can be seen in the figures. In July, 95% of orders were taken though the platform, and at one of its sites in York, that figure was 100%.
In the last month 8000 orders were placed using the portal, and the customer experience has been so good that 55% of guests have already returned for a second meal.
One of the biggest benefits for staff at the company has come from the switch to being a cashless venue. This has significantly streamlined the post-service period. Staff no longer need to manually count cash taken or balance different payment sources. Consequently, fewer accounting issues are encountered, and they can return home earlier – it’s proving a big morale boost at the end of a long Saturday night.
The benefits of being a cashless business are far reaching and go beyond staff satisfaction. With no money kept on site, security is vastly improved; there is no need for staff to take trips to the bank, while insurance costs are lowered because the business doesn’t have to get cover for the ‘theft of takings’.
In their own words
“When the pandemic required that we close, we felt socially responsible to do so for a period. Then in June, once the initial crisis reached a plateau, we started our dine at home service. It showed us what we’d suspected for a while, that consumers are ready to embrace digital ordering and payment.
Ours is a team that likes to innovate, and we have wanted to explore the potential of being a cashless business for some time. Working with QikServe has given us the chance to do so.
As an independent brand, we always look to exceed expectations of our customers, even those that visit regularly. We are using Order to Table, not just to ‘cope’ in the short-term, but to enhance our brand experience in the long-term. We believe this is the future for dine in restaurants.”
– Rob Scott-South, Group Manager, Ambiente Tapas
It’s not as catchy as: ‘When is a door not a door?’ (answer, when it’s a jar) but it speaks to the idea that in-car collection, and the technologies that support it, are flexible enough to bend to the needs of a business and its guests.
Delivery can be daunting to the uninitiated, and it might be tempting to sign up with a third-party ordering aggregator that offers the service, such as UberEats, but other options could suit your business and brand better. Here we present three different ‘levels’ of delivery, starting with the most basic – and cheapest method: doing it yourself.