Want to create a safe, hygienic and efficient restaurant? Follow this guide on contactless dining

February 4, 2022

In today’s post-covid landscape, safety is paramount. For businesses trying to navigate ever-changing restrictions and guidelines, it can be hard keeping on top of these. However if you run a restaurant, contactless dining should be a top priority.

If you have yet to implement some of the features of contactless dining, this guide will run through all the benefits and also show you how to get up and running in no time at all.

Table of contents

What is contactless dining?

Contactless dining allows people to eat in restaurants without close contact from other diners and restaurant staff.

Technology such as QR codes have actually been around for a long time and have transformed the way people pay and dine out in Asia. For years, diners have been able to use full-service kiosks to order, pay and dine out.

However, it was only after the covid-19 pandemic, that the restaurant industry really began adopting contactless dining solutions. In 2021 over 80% of restaurant operators began incorporating contactless processes.

With contactless dining, customers can view menus, pay for goods and read receipts all from a safe distance. There’s minimal face-to-face interaction with waiting staff which makes it the safest type of dine-in eating.

Why go contactless?

There are a number of advantages to the contactless dining experience. Not only is it safer, but you can turn around tables faster and increase your sales.

Coronavirus has accelerated the shift towards contactless dining. Research shows that in just a few years, the vast majority of restaurants will be contactless.

Why go contactless dining?

If you are thinking about going contactless, it is relatively easy to implement. You will just need to change a few things, but your restaurant will be much better for it.

What your contactless restaurant needs

The tools needed for contactless dining

Digital menu

The first thing you need to change is your restaurant menus. Regular physical menus are regularly touched by multiple people which can increase covid transmission. Paper menus are a better alternative, but using a digital or online menu is the ideal solution.

Creating a simple digital menu will suffice, but you can make the customer experience even better by creating a dynamic menu that responds to different times of the day.

If you are looking for an easy to set up digital menu platform, we have our own one at Pomelo Pay. It is completely free and will allow you to get online in just a few minutes.

You won’t need a website or any graphic design skills. But you will be able to create your own menu which you can easily modify at different times of the day.

With a digital menu, you can easily introduce and remove new dishes, run promotions and remove menu items that are out of stock.

A contactless menu is not only safer and more hygienic, but it will give you a great tool with which you can maximise sales.

Find out more: learn about the free Pomelo Pay menu maker 


You may have been to some restaurants and noticed that there are barriers between tables. You can also introduce similar social distancing measures in your own establishment.

However, the research behind this is mixed. Some studies show that having physical barriers between tables can actually reduce the airflow that is so important to reducing transmission.

Alternatively, you can rearrange your seating so that diners are not so close together. You can also encourage customers to stay in their seats by having them order from their table using digital menus.

Contactless ordering

Another process that can be transformed through digitalisation is the ordering process. This can be achieved through QR codes.

QR codes are an advanced kind of barcode. Once these have been scanned by the camera on a mobile device, they will take the user to a particular place - in this case a menu.

These QR codes can be placed at strategic locations, at the table, but also on the wall and outside the shop. Once they have been scanned they will take the customer to the menu which they can read as if they were online ordering.

If your restaurant is popular and suffers from long queues. Customers can browse the menu and decide on their order while they are in a queue - reducing the amount of time people are waiting.

When customers have taken a seat they can easily complete orders on their phone in their own time. There’s no waiting for servers and all orders are sent through perfectly to the kitchen.

With digital ordering, restaurants can also utilise virtual waiting which can help to reduce queues and minimise close interaction between customers.

Find out more: learn about Pomelo Pay’s QR codes

Contactless payments

The last element that you need to think about is your payment processes. You won’t be able to maintain your high standards if customers have to pay with cash or by inputting their PIN number on a card terminal.

In fact, there’s no need for your waiters to present a card terminal and use the same touchpoints. Instead, you can accept card not present transactions, which is where customers pay without presenting their physical card to your staff.

As with ordering, you can use QR codes when it’s time for your customers to pay. All they need to do is scan the QR code with their camera and they will be taken to a secure payment page.

At Pomelo Pay, we offer over 25 ways to pay including all major digital wallets and credit cards such as Google Pay, Apple Pay, Visa and Mastercard. If your customer wishes to pay with a cryptocurrency (BitPay) or a buy now, pay later platform (Klarna), they will be able to find their favourite payment method.

When the customer has input all their card details in their own time, they are free to leave. Everything is processed quickly without the need for any staff to oversee the transaction.

With Pomelo Pay’s point of sale (POS) solution, getting started is very easy - all you need is a smartphone. Once you have an account with us, your customers can begin paying through QR codes immediately. There are no monthly costs and you don’t need to wait for any hardware.

The benefits of contactless table ordering?

Maximise table turnarounds

Table turnarounds are one of the most important metrics for restaurants. Data suggests that restaurants can increase the number of table turnarounds by as much as 20%.

With contactless ordering, customers can decide their order in the queue, before they have even sat down. They can also send orders through immediately, rather than having to wait for someone to serve them.

When restaurants are at full capacity, contactless dining ensures that everything runs at peak efficiency with minimal waiting times.

Improve guest experience

For many restaurants, contactless table ordering will enhance the customer experience as it allows them to order, pay and dine how they want.

Customers can breeze through the ordering process knowing that they won’t have to wait long for their orders to be sent to the kitchen.

When it comes to payment, customers have all their favourite ways to pay, and they can pay when they feel like it as opposed to having to wait for a server.

Increase sales

Faster payments, quicker ordering and bigger orders mean that restaurants can increase their sales by as much as 10%. Contactless dining enables restaurants to transform their operations by speeding up the time it takes to place orders.

It’s generally accepted that customers paying with a contactless payment spend more than someone paying through cash, so this will also push sales upwards.

Also with digital menus, you can optimise high-margin items and run promotions at slow times in the day. All of this will allow you to boost average table spending.

Protect your staff and customers

Of course one of the biggest benefits is that you will be doing all that you can to safeguard your employees and your staff.

Omicron has been a particularly infectious covid-19 strain that has severely affected workforces in all industries.

By implementing contactless dining you can minimise human contact between your staff and customers and ensure that transmission rates are kept low.

Reduce errors

Moving ordering and payments to a digital platform eliminates errors, saving you time and money in the long run.

Orders are processed by the customer themselves, so mistaken and incorrect orders rarely make it to the kitchen.

As everything is recorded digitally, tracking orders and analysing performance also becomes easier and more efficient.

Protect your business

It’s been around two years since covid-19 was identified in China. Yet just this week the Prime Minister confirmed that we’ll be living with Plan B rules for the next three weeks.

For the time being at least, we will be living with some form of coronavirus. There is always the risk of more infectious strains and more stringent government guidelines.

Companies that covid-proof their businesses will ensure they are best placed for whatever the future holds. Implement contactless dining and you will be planning for the long-term.

Enhance marketing

Once customers have paid they can choose to get digital receipts sent to their email. You have their name and contact information which you can use for further marketing.

If you run loyalty programs you'll have a much better chance of getting your customer enrolled if you have their personal details.


Visiting a restaurant with your friends and family is a social event where you get to enjoy good food and great service from your waiter. With contactless dining, any physical contact and interaction with your restaurant staff are minimised.

If you run a high-end restaurant that emphasises a quality dining experience, then contactless dining may not be the right solution.

However, if you would like to protect your staff, customers and business, contactless dining is the perfect solution that will make your restaurant business more efficient, cost-effective and profitable.

If you would like to try for yourself what contactless dining can do, why not try Pomelo Pay's POS system. It is completely free to set up and you'll only have to pay a 1.49% transaction fee when you actually process a payment. Get in touch with us to find out more.