Get appy in the new normal!

When it comes to summer, the British know how to have a good time. But with the massive upheaval of the last few months forcing us to adapt to the “New Normal”, Retail and Hospitality companies have had to re-think how to keep us all safe, turning to technology to encourage spending now as well as secure their future income.

With the common sight of queues now lining our High Street’s, Drive Thru’s and Shopping Centres, the hospitality industry has now started to reopen, albeit under stringent government guidelines. With the added pressure of the public also actively choosing to stay at home, maximising sales safely is a number one priority. If there was ever a time when a service needs to be quick and efficient, it is now. Thinking smart and being safe, all whilst remaining financially sustainable, its unchartered but vital waters every industry must navigate.

In the past our favourite pubs & coffee shops have always showcased summer menus, unveil glorious outdoor lounges, and of course, made mouth-watering seasonal drinks that quench your thirst just at the sight. But without putting a downer on it, Summer 2020 is not going to be a normal one!

Interestingly, but perhaps not surprising, is how companies have taken the plunge and start to invest in further technology and digital systems. Costa, for example, has released there Click and Collect system recently, where you can order your beverage ahead of time and it’s ready and waiting for you to pick up.

Pre COVID, it was revealed that 40% of 25 to 34-year-olds prefer to use their smartphone to order rather than wait in a queue, and 67% admitted they would buy more drinks whilst ordering on their mobile. (*1)

Some companies were perhaps hesitant about investing so heavily and others lacked any strategy at all. As the months have progressed, tech budgets have been forced to expand, with others racing to play catch up to stay relevant or suffer the consequences. Invest and hope is the last-ditch attempt to keep heads above the turbulent water. It is likely these investments will pay off, but it’s inevitable we will see casualties. 

2 out of 5 Brits (40%) said they would use technology to optimise their dining experience, such as choosing the exact time meals are served and nearly half of us (42%) would use technology to pick the precise restaurant table we sit at before arriving at the venue. (*1 | )

Mobile ordering apps and services seem to be the fashion of COVID-19. It is now possible in most situations to purchase something without ever speaking to another human being. The perfect scenario when it comes to stopping the spread of infectious diseases and a lifeline for some industries in some cases. 

JD Wetherspoon is another great example of how mobile ordering has improved the experience and is an example of a company forward-thinking before even COVID struck. They noticed that due to their order at the bar policy, it meant congested bar areas, impatient customers and staff rushed off their feet. The introduction of their app meant that customers could find a table, place their order, pay and have it brought to them without even having to lift a finger. They were able to increase their transactions through dedicating bar areas to deal with online orders. This means customers are not having to wait for queues to reduce before their online ordered drinks are made. In a post lockdown environment, they can hit the ground running.

Although COVID was not the impetus scenario for app ordering technology at Wetherspoons, the resulting benefits of reducing ques and inadvertently controlling the flow of people has become an invaluable benefit in this altered world we now live. Many companies have now established apps to book tables ahead of time, order and then pay, all supporting social distancing rules.

So, the question we ask is, is now the time you now bring in Celestra and use our experience to support you in this “New World?”