Strict new coronavirus rules for restaurants and bars puts major focus on table ordering

Strict new rules for restaurants and bars to stop the spread of COVID-19 is putting a major emphasis on contact-free digital solutions, particularly table ordering.  

The UK government has introduced new rules on hospitality businesses in another bid to halt the virus, restricting them to table service only. 

Table ordering is seen as a key way to enforce social distancing. It avoids people queuing to place orders, congregating and interacting with staff at a counter or bar. Therefore, it limits close personal contact within venues, counteracting the potential for new infections. 

UK measures: Dine-in facilities restricted to table service only

All restaurants, pubs and bars operating dine-in facilities in England will be restricted to table service only, from this Thursday (September 24). The new rule comes as part of a raft of new coronavirus restrictions for the country. And the rules could last throughout the winter, for up to six months.

Announcing the new restrictions, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK has reached ‘a perilous turning point’ in the battle against coronavirus. He said similar steps would be taken across the other parts of the UK – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Hospitality venues in the UK will also be forced to close early, at 10pm.

The new UK measures come as a fresh blow to restaurants and bars there, while also bringing renewed focus to alternative solutions. Digital table ordering could clearly play a particularly important role in this. 

Strict new coronavirus rules for restaurants and bars puts big focus on table ordering - Waitress with mask

Restrictions in place around the world

The UK is by no means an exceptional case, with restrictions being imposed in many parts the world. These measures are designed to curb the so-called ‘second wave’ of COVID-19, as case numbers continue to rise rapidly around Europe and globally. 

Worldwide, there have been over 30 million confirmed cases and close to 1 million deaths from coronavirus. Therefore, governments are taking renewed and decisive action to slow the spread, with hospitality one area being particularly targeting for tighter controls.

Many other countries have been taking similar measures to the UK, with varying degrees of severity. In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published ‘Considerations for Restaurants and Bars’, providing a range of guidelines on hygiene and social distancing for hospitality outlets, to help slow the virus spread.

Meanwhile in Ireland, stringent restrictions on hospitality in the capital of Dublin were introduced last weekend. Dublin’s pubs and restaurants are now mostly closed, as the city has been moved up to Level 3 of the Irish government’s ‘Living with COVID-19’ plan. These measures forbid the operation of all indoor dining services in Dublin, as part of a response to case numbers continuing to climb in the capital city over recent weeks. 

The ban on indoor dining for Dublin will remain in place for a three-week period, until October 9, putting many of the city’s small businesses under severe financial pressure. The hospitality trade has actually been allowed to reopen further across the rest of the country this week, with case numbers more controlled. However, table ordering is mandatory in all hospitality businesses throughout Ireland. 

Crucially, takeaway services can continue to operate throughout the UK and Ireland, covering both collection and delivery. This is proven to be a much safer model when it comes to counteracting coronavirus. And it at least gives restaurateurs an opportunity to develop those streams of income.

How Flipdish table ordering can help 

With table ordering now mandatory in the UK and Ireland, restaurants, bars and cafés must move quickly to introduce the service. Even in countries where it is not strictly mandated, it can play a big part in helping businesses to ensure customer safety. While staff can also provide table ordering, it’s a labour-intensive process and therefore expensive to provide. It’s also not as safe as a digital ordering solution, in terms of preventing the virus spreading.

With Flipdish table ordering, your customers can order and pay from their table on their own by simply scanning a QR code, eliminating the need to queue and avoiding contact with staff. Flipdish web ordering and mobile apps can be set up easily and quickly to offer a table ordering service in your restaurant, bar or café. 

As it turns out, customers actually like to order digitally. They are embracing it more and more. Our recent survey showed that the vast majority (80%) of pub-goers who have used digital tools to order food and drinks want to keep using them in the long-term. 

Along with this, almost two-thirds of people (63%) said they are now more likely to visit a pub or a bar with a digital app. So the benefits are sure to last well beyond the COVID-19 crisis. Table ordering also has the added benefit of helping to drive up average order values

Table ordering is fast, simple and safe, meaning you can adhere to the rules wherever you are, while keeping your customers protected and satisfied.

Flipdish Table Ordering provides safe contact-free dining for restaurants, bars and cafés

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