THE NEW FUTURE OF CONTACTLESS HOSPITALITY
Hospitality and how we look after our customers have changed dramatically in recent months, due to new initiatives and safety protocols. Rakshay Dhariwal, from PCO bar, shares the process of end-to-end contactless customer service and how they ensure great hospitality is still being provided and maintained throughout the whole guest journey.
We, at PCO, have restructured our bar operations to focus on the safety of our patrons and staff. By optimising contactless customer service in our bar and embracing technology, we have found new ways to emphasize our core competency: delivering great, bespoke cocktails.
Our first priority was to take every measure and precaution to make patrons feel safe. By investing in technology for reservations, ordering and bill payment at PCO, we have removed all unnecessary interaction and minimized all necessary points of contact between patrons and staff. This contactless approach to customer service is not only essential for our guests’ comfort, but also for our staff’s safety.
ENTER CREATIVE CONTACTLESS
Luckily for us, our entry has always been contactless—with customers typing in the passcode of the week and entering the establishment. To ensure this mechanism is safe and adherent to new hygiene measures, we sanitize it after every use and automatically disable the system as soon as we hit capacity. Once inside, the guests are scanned with an infrared contactless thermometer and there is a hands-free sanitizer dispensing device for guests to use.
We have found that working with individual vendors and software platforms grants us the same benefits as going with one fully integrated system, at a substantially lower price. For reservations and seating, we use a software platform called LiveTable which allows us to track all guests who enter the establishment and assign them tables, based on their preferences. Once seated, patrons are not presented with any menus. Instead, AirMenus allows guests to scan a barcode and access the menu on their phone; PayTM, GooglePay and PayU allow guests to settle their bills through our online portals, meaning all elements of customer service are contactless in our bar.
THE NEW AGE OF COCKTAIL
While the concept of bars and ‘social distancing’ may seem incompatible, we actually believe it can give the cocktail culture around the world somewhat of a renaissance. As customers go out nowadays, their priority is not mingling or networking socially; rather it is to enjoy themselves with a close group of people and make the most of that experience. Quality over quantity. Great friends over casual acquaintances. Premium drinks over basic beverages.
To this end, we have re-engineered our operations so that each table has a designated “Cocktail Custodian.” This custodian introduces guests to the cocktail menu, takes their order and suggests bespoke touches, returns to the bar to make the cocktails, and then returns to serve them. By this, we accomplish two things: we introduce contactless customer service at each table, and we ensure the patron is getting an even more personalized and bespoke cocktail experience.
Our trademarked “Mood” Cocktail is one where the guest simply tells the mixologist what mood he or she is in, and we concoct a beverage that suits it. Our “custodian” approach allows us to be faithful to this completely personalized cocktail experience. While it does take more time to deliver the beverage, we can afford it as we are operating at a 50% capacity, as required by law, so we have more time to spend on each customer.
RESTED AND READY
Lastly, for customers who want to extend their experience of contactless customer service even further we have also introduced a pre-poured “rested” cocktail of the week, where the cocktail ages in our Oak Barrels or Clay Pots. To do this we create the cocktail and then allow this to sit in a barrel or clay pot for two weeks. This technique enhances the flavour of the cocktail and by allowing our guests to come to the bar and pick these drinks up themselves, they can be enjoy a beautifully aged drink that no-one else has touched in two weeks.
We believe we have found ways to make this ‘new normal’ work in our favour and help shine light on our premium beverages.
- Embrace non-human contact entry systems, such as bells, buzzers, codes etc
- Integrate software for reservations, ordering and billing
- Reduce the number of people interacting with each staff member by having the same mixologist take the order, make the drink and serve it
- Introduce pre-poured cocktails that are already rested for at least two weeks
- Work with several different vendors for different functions—reservations, menus and billing, to bring commission costs down
DARING DIGITAL: UNIQUE WAYS BARS ARE USING TECHNOLOGY
Becoming tech-savvy is the way forward - using technology within your venues, be it through service or customised drinks, can reap high rewards. Here are some exciting and ingenious ways bar owners are optimising digitalisation across the globe.
BAR CHAT EPISODE #15: GOING DIGITAL
From digital menus to QR codes, the hospitality industry has been increasing its digital offering exponentially in recent months. Digital expert Gavin Pathross and bar manager Liam Davey chat about the tools that can be easily integrated and introduced in your bar/restaurant.
TOP 10 HEALTH AND SAFETY TIPS
From contactless payments and re-imagining your menu, to reducing crowds and queues. Get our top 10 health and safety tips.
MASTERCLASS: AN EXPERT GUIDE TO BUILDING GUEST CONFIDENCE
Anna Sebastian and Ollie Margan discuss practical steps your team can make to put guests at ease, tips on to keeping culture alive and the importance of clear communication to keep everyone safe.