Contact tracing is an essential part of life these days, with many businesses requiring their patrons to provide their contact information in the event they need to be notified due to a COVID-19 exposure.
The restaurant industry is no exception. Restaurants see an abundance of turnover every day and it is very important that a record of each visitor and the time of their visit is properly recorded so if an outbreak is identified it can be better contained.
A lot of restaurants have chosen to collect this contact tracing information manually using pen and paper, which presents a couple of issues – not least of which would be longer wait times for patrons waiting to be seated and served.
Other issues with the manual collection of contact information include:
- Illegible writing preventing accurate identification of contacts
- Time wasted by staff inputting information into an online system
- Higher chance of contact information being lost before filing
- Potential of human input errors resulting in incorrect information being collected
A restaurant check-ins app provides an innovative solution to ensure restaurant patrons’ contact tracing information is accurately and quickly collected to ensure it will be readily available should it ever be needed.
But, how would such a check-ins app work?
It’s actually probably easier to implement than you’d think.
First, there is no "app" that needs to be downlaoded. Your restaurant just needs access to a shortcode number. A shortcode is essentially one of those five to six-digit phone numbers you typically see on billboards asking you to text a certain word or phrase to receive more information, a discount, or other sort of promotion. They are easy to read and easy to remember when you are driving and don’t want to use your mobile phone.
Once you have secured a shortcode number, the next thing your check-ins app needs is a designated keyword to associate with the collection of restaurant patrons’ contact tracing information. This keyword will be used by visitors to your restaurant so it should be fairly quick and easy to type out.
After you have associated your keyword with the shortcode number, you can then configure the message that will be automatically sent to patrons when they text in. This message can say whatever you like – it could be a “thank you for visiting us,” a reminder to wear your mask, or even a simple confirmation of receipt message. You may also wish to include an autogenerated visitor ID code that must be presented to the host before being seated as proof that the visitor used the check-ins app.
And then, that’s it! Other than creating and posting appropriate signage around your restaurant, you have your patron check-ins app set up and ready to go!
The beauty of an application that collects contact information from SMS check-ins is that you can be sure that you have the restaurant visitor’s correct phone number, as well as their check-in date and time, stored in an easy-to-read and easy-to-access format. This way, if a previous customer tests positive for COVID-19, you are able to pull the contact records for any and all customers who were in the restaurant on the same day, and around the same time as the affected customer. It’s as simple as filtering the check-in data by date and time and exporting the results as a file you can use to reach out to them. And you can do all this without you or your patrons having to download anything to your devices!
But what if there was a way to further simplify the reach-out process?
With the restaurant check-ins app, you already have all patrons’ contact information stored online, so wouldn’t it be easier to send out a mass notification to affected contacts rather than reaching out to them one by one?
The answer to this is always yes.
The check-ins app can be paired with a mass notification tool that you can use to send out an automated mass phone call to only those contacts that you have filtered out as having potentially been exposed to the virus. Sending out a simultaneous phone call to all affected contacts at once helps to ensure all customers are self-monitoring or self-isolating as required as soon as possible and lowers the risk of further spread.
SimplyCast has all the tools your restaurant needs in order to successfully deploy a non-downloadable patron check-ins app. From SMS software to a voice broadcasting tool, as well as a CRM for contact storage and a mass notification system for sending alerts, your restaurant can increase the safety of your patrons while still being able to provide quality customer service.
Click the button below to sign up for a demo of the SimplyCast platform and to see how your restaurant can easily implement a patron check-ins app.