The New ‘Night Out’

sign at pub informing customers they are closed due to COVID-19

This weekend pubs and restaurants across England will be re-opening for the first time since March. While many of us have missed a nice cold beer with friends, the thought of having to comply with strict rules and regulations will be enough to put many off going out. As you might expect, we have come up with a technology-led solution…and it’s very simple.

At RGS, we’re intent on creating imaginative technology solutions to solve everyday problems. Throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, we’ve invested time into developing innovative ways to help large and small businesses get back on their feet as smoothly as possible. Adapting to new working practices, though daunting, really isn’t so bad if the technology gels together.

While it’s clear to us that technology is the answer to many of our new problems (video calls and instant messaging have enabled thousands to continue working effectively from home), we also understand that this technology has to be scalable and easy to deploy in times of rapid change.

Fortunately, this suits our way of thinking.

Our team are always ready to swiftly create the next technology solution in response to complexity.

We call it Imagineering. And it’s all about bringing ideas to life and fixing your problems through imaginative software engineering.

To exemplify how we can do this (and because we’re desperate to go back to the pub), we’ve started to ‘imagineer’ a prototype for an app which could transform the future of pub-life. While customers may still be sceptical about the authoritarian nature of the new regulations, our tech can help make the return to a slightly distorted reality as comfortable and convenient as possible.

With our new technology, comes a simple and seamless customer experience. Here’s how nights out would look with the help of our new app:

  • The hospitality venue (whether it’s a bar, pub, or restaurant) installs the app and registers their premises. They upload the food and drinks menus, set their opening times, and they’re ready to open.
venu details - menu
  • Before the night begins, guests would download the app onto their mobile phone, register and log payment details ready for the night ahead.
  • Once the customer has decided which pub to visit, they can quickly log on, select the pub from a list, and view their availability. They can then reserve their table instantly for their desired arrival time.
Venue summary
  • Before arrival, customers can browse the menu and pre-order a round of drinks and/or food.
  • As soon as the order is placed it will be charged to the customer’s chosen payment method.
  • Upon arrival at the pub, a host at the door scans the QR codes within the app for every customer – this will confirm their reservation and register their entry (ideal for track-and-trace requirements).
  • Customers will be shown to their reserved table, where their order already underway to be brought out within minutes.
  • When guests want another round, they simply re-open the app and place another order, with payment being processed instantly.
venu details - menu
  • At pre-set closing times, the app can simply stop taking orders so that customers know it’s time to leave.

No fuss. And no unnecessary contact. Our solution works for guests and licensees alike.

For the licensee

For the pub-owner, the app can be easily integrated with any current booking or payment system to make service safe, quick, and efficient. There will be the one-time job of setting up to register premises and upload menus, but after that, the system does the hard work.

The interface behind the bar will show servers the current order queue so each member of staff can select the top item and expedite it as they become available – reducing confusion over which tables require service. Payment has already been taken, so there’s no risk there, and staff can function in an orderly and stress-free environment.

Plus, there will be an instant record of who was in the pub in case of a spike in cases – providing the required information for track and trace, and even the ability to notify customers who may have crossed paths with a positive case of COVID-19.

Looking forward

Thinking beyond the pandemic though (whenever that may be), this new integrated software could be a catalyst for positive change within the hospitality industry – acting as a conduit for offers and promotions, and an easy way to plan the next big night out. Gone are the days of waiting in queues at the bar to get served or travelling to a pub/restaurant only to find they have no availability.

While large pub chains may have the scale and resources to adapt their own mobile apps, businesses both large and small should consider the benefits of integrating a more holistic solution to post-COVID recovery. The provision of an adaptable off-the-shelf app that can be easily integrated into businesses of all sizes could transform how we think about going out by allowing customers to plan their entire night from the convenience of their smartphone.

Pub-goers will only need to log in once and set up their payment method and they’re set for the rest of the night, with the additional peace of mind that they’re reducing their contact with others, and can be easily notified of any COVID worries.

If you’re interested in learning more about our prototype, or you have recently encountered a different problem which you think could be solved with technology, we’re here to help. Please get in touch with us to see if we can imagineer the technology you need.

Posted on 2nd July 2020 in Technology, Uncategorised

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