Is this restaurants'​ "new normal"​?

Do you remember how it feels to walk into a restaurant at 23:00 with no mask on and the only communication at the door is to greet the doorman? Yeah, me neither.

The press and the politicians are talking about the “new normal”, whatever that then means. But whatever you feel about the restrictions or vaccination passes or anything in that regard, we as humankind have adopted new ways to cope with the world whether we like it or not. Some of these habits will be trashed as soon as it’s possible, but some will stick, and merchants should think about this when thinking about future investments.

Working remotely or in “a hybrid” model will most likely be one of the stickiest and will cause dramatic changes too many industries. I personally feel that people will still want to be at the office because nothing beats human interaction, but sometimes working 1-2 days from home in a week just feels better. I’m not going to go to human resources here talking about the interaction between the teams etc, but what this does to the restaurants and especially for the canteens is something I might know something about. If previously the employee went to the office 5 days a week and went to the lunch to the same canteen at 12:00 on all those days, it’s not that anymore. One must still eat, but the canteen only sees a 40 % drop in their revenue as the customers are eating at home or at some other canteens closer to their homes. If the canteen has a compensated price for the companies and their employees, that will create some stickiness, but if the distance to the office is long, the compensation will not be a big enough driver for the workers to come to the office just for lunch.

Digital restaurant experience

This brings us to another topic that consumers don’t know that they want, but when they realize they do, they’ll love it. That’s omni-channel. As above, the consumer has some special price when he/she goes to this specific canteen, but if that’s not possible, then there are no discounts. Unless the canteen offers some omnichannel purchasing options. A digital service where the consumer can choose to pick up week’s food in advance, a home delivery, a pick-up point somewhere closer to pick up the food from etc. and the digital service will allow the consumer to use the same payments, discounts wherever he/she decides to order that food from.

How about the payments then? When was the last time you used cash? One theme park customer of ours recorded that over 90 % of the purchases last summer were made with a mobile app inside the park! When you add self-service kiosks to that, what do you think how much the regular points of sales were used? Mobile payments providers are boasting their 100% increase of mobile payments during the pandemic: READ MOBILEPAY'S ARTICLE HERE (in Finnish). Merchants should again think omni here; If the consumer has a profile online and there is a preferred payment method there, it’s very likely that the consumer would like to use that same profile in the physical world to store the loyalty points and to use the same payment method as in the online world.

I’m not sure if I feel different, but I surely will act differently now and in the future.

For further reading, please also check THIS out!

Author: Atte Kniivilä, CRO at Powered by Yonoton

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