F&B Is Becoming More Agile Thanks to Connectivity
The COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented changes in every aspect of our lives, from the way we work and socialize to entertainment and travel. We also can’t over-emphasize how the pandemic impacted the F&B service industry.
Traditional food outlets where people went for self-service or drive-throughs have drastically changed their approach to serving their customers. Globally renowned foodservice brands, such as McDonald’s and Subway, were forced to create food-ordering apps to rival the likes of Uber Eats in the bid to weather the business-undermining effects of the pandemic, and Malaysia stands at the forefront in terms of implementation.
McDonald's "Order and Collect" app features in Southeast Asia for the first time in Malaysia
McDonald’s Malaysia has rolled out the “Order and Collect” feature on the McDonald’s mobile app for the first time in the Southeast Asia market. With this feature, consumers can choose how and where they collect their food orders, straight from their smartphones. According to McDonald’s Malaysia, providing the Malaysian market with the online feature is aimed to enhance the consumer experience.
The new app feature provides customers with four channels for collecting their ordered foods.
- Takeaway – This option lets customers bypass the long queues at outlets to take away their food items straight from the counter.
- Dine-In â€“ When a customer wants to dine inside a McDonald’s restaurant. Once they pick their seats, they order food from their mobile phones, enter the table number, and the staff will serve them their food at the table.
- Drive-Thru â€“ This offers an alternative for those who require quick, no-parking pick-ups. The customer will have to order in advance and make the collection on the restaurant’s drive-thru window two hours after payment, which can be made using Visa or Mastercard.
- Drive-In â€“ With drive-in, customers need to drive to their selected restaurant and park their vehicle before ordering on the McDonald’s app. The staff will then prepare their order and deliver it to their car.
As consumers’ demands and expectations continue to change, McDonald’s uses new innovations to satisfy them. Its new “Order and Collect” feature provides enhanced convenience by eliminating the hassle and time-consuming queues at restaurants. Besides, it’s a safety-first approach in an era when the world continues to grapple with the health concerns posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A pandemic-driven migration to seamless and contactless services in the F&B industry
Restaurants have been at the receiving end of the devastating effects of the pandemic, having been forced to close as governments attempt to curb the spread of the deadly COVID-19 and the emerging variants. According to Malaysia’s Restaurant & Bistro Owners Association, about 25% to 30% of restaurants in the country have shuttered their doors, with many businesses in the sector remaining in limbo.Â Those that have continued to thrive in these turbulent conditions are adapting to customersâ€™ demands for safer dining experiences.
Apps and contactless pick-ups
For example, PLUS Malaysia Berhad-operated rest stops have continued to remain open to serve travelers, but with conditions. These food stalls and commercial outlets ensure seamless and contactless F&B pick-up services through the PLUS app which enables customers to pre-order food items from participating stall operators and restaurants at 21 locations.
Scannable NFC-tagged recyclable containers
To facilitate sustainability in contactless services in the food-and-beverage sector, some operators have devised innovative means of ordering food. A restaurants in Toronto, Canada, allows their customers to collect their orders using NFC-labelled containers to confirm that they’ve returned the containers to selected “contactless pick-up” restaurants after use.
The role of connectivity in enabling F&B food ordering apps and contactless services
Think of F&B-focused digital technologies as restaurants in smart grids. Digital technology has been at the core of connectivity in the food and beverage service sector. As discussed above, digital transformation has changed in-store and online food ordering and delivery.
Consider the case of McDonald’s food app in Malaysia; technology has enabled the American-based fast-food brand to leverage digital technologies, such as personal computers, digital and mobile apps, 4G and 5G wireless networks to connect with their consumers, providing customers with the convenience of ordering and picking up their food orders based on their preferences.
Smartphones have become the most reliable means for restaurants to enable online food ordering and delivery (FOD). Behind it all is internet connectivity enabled by:
- High-speed internet access
- The rapid proliferation of smartphones
- Advancements in personal and interactive mobile apps; and
- A fast-paced 21st-century lifestyle and tech-savvy millennials
All the above factors have created the perfect environment for the adoption of mobile applications used by F&B operators. These FOD apps offer high convenience, providing customers with the choice of ordering their favourite food item whenever they want from a restaurant in their preferred location.
Due to connectivity, contactless dine-ins, food pick-ups, and payment systems have gone mainstream. Today, consumers can download a restaurant’s app, and once they reach the eatery, they receive push notifications to place orders and even track their order status in real-time. Once the order is ready for pickup, they receive another notification to pick up their order without coming in contact with the restaurants’ staff.
Keeping your customers fed and your business afloat
If you are an F&B operator looking to make a change, thereâ€™s no doubt that connectivty will play a greater role moving forward in keeping you connected with your customers and their needs. Allo will be there for you, ensuring you and others in your area have the connectivity you need to reap the benefits. If you’re ready to leverage connectivity to boost your F&B business, contact us today or phone us at 1300-38-8000 for answers to any queries you have.