Best Practices

What is Contactless Ordering?

Contactless ordering is here to stay. The Covid-19 pandemic saw a global shift to a zero-contact way of life. Curbside pickup. Mobile ordering. Online menu options. In-home delivery. Even as restrictions begin to loosen, restaurants will likely continue to offer contactless ordering.

Why? Because it’s a win-win for restaurants and customers! There are endless benefits of contactless ordering. With just their smartphone, customers can place and pay for their order, making dining out a more efficient process for all parties. 

Read on as we answer all your questions including what is contactless ordering, who contactless ordering is for, how it works, the benefits, and our best practices for implementing contactless ordering for a restaurant! 

Who is Contactless Ordering for?

Contactless ordering is for anyone in the restaurants and hospitality sector who wants to stay current and keep pace with consumer demand.

A 2020 study by Mastercard found that 79% of the respondents surveyed worldwide were using contactless payments. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, these respondents emphasized safety and hygiene as the most significant benefits of contactless ordering.

Mastercard also determined that contactless transactions grew 40% in the first quarter of 2020.1 Even as communities return to normal, customers will be accustomed to the efficiency and simplicity of contactless ordering, further accelerating this seismic shift in our industry.

How Does Contactless Ordering Work?

With contactless ordering, both your customers and your staff can maintain a safe distance thanks to what we call a QR code.

QR codes, which stand for “quick response,” are barcodes that can store up to 4296 characters in a simple square shape. These characters can contain data like a:

  • URL
  • Email Address 
  • Phone Number

Anyone with a smartphone can quickly scan QR codes to gain access to their encoded digital information, but the process might look a little different depending on your online ordering model:

  • Newer smartphones can automatically scan QR codes with the camera app.
  • Older smartphones can download a designated app to scan QR codes.2

When you make the switch to contactless ordering, you’ll create a custom QR code for your digital menu. You can place this QR code on each table or in a central location in your restaurant. When the customer scans the QR code, their smartphone automatically opens the digital menu. 

In addition, GoTab’s QR's can be spot-specific. So when an order comes in, the server knows exactly where the guest is sitting, whether it's inside, outside, down to the exact table location.

Some restaurants stop there and fail to offer a truly contactless dining experience. 

For full contactless ordering, you’ll need to use a comprehensive contactless ordering system. With this type of platform, your customers can view the digital menu and also:

  • Submit their order
  • Split the tab 
  • Split the tip
  • Pay for their tab

Your staff can also:

  • Edit the digital menu
  • Open a tab
  • Add to a tab
  • Settle a tab3

Contactless ordering is the way of the future, and it’s no surprise considering the endless list of benefits the practice offers.

Why You Should Implement Contactless Ordering

The benefits of contactless ordering extend to both the restaurant and its customers. Your customers will have a smoother, safer dining experience, and you might even enjoy more revenue! To that end, let’s review the benefits to offering contactless online ordering: 

Efficient Service

At GoTab, we found that operators who utilize our comprehensive contactless ordering system process three to five more transactions—at peak hours—compared to a traditional POS system.4

Why? Because it streamlines the entire process of dining out at a restaurant. Customers can:

  • Access the menu themselves
  • Open a tab
  • Order the food themselves
  • Share a tab with others
  • Pay the bill themselves 

Not only will your restaurant run more efficiently and at a lower cost, but your customers will also be happier, which leads us to the next benefit—customer experience.

Customer Experience

We’ve also found that customers prefer a contactless ordering system compared to the long waits for a server and burden of traditional ordering models.4 

During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, the name of the game was safety. Customers wanted to feel both safe and valued when they chose to visit a restaurant. In the future, contactless ordering will still improve the customer experience by offering comfort and efficiency (especially as it pertains to wait times). 

To that end, a long or frustrating line has a host of negative consequences like:

  • Diminishing the customer’s perception of the brand
  • Causing the customer to leave the line early, which researchers call “reneging”
  • Causing the customer not to join the line at all, which researchers call “balking”
  • Reducing the customer’s likelihood of returning5

Contactless ordering promises safe and happy customers. And what happens when you have satisfied customers? Better reviews!6

Higher Reviews

Restaurants who have integrated our system have on average half-a-star-higher Yelp reviews compared to restaurants who haven’t.4

In uncertain times, your digital presence as a restaurant is more important than ever. Customers on a budget or who worry about their safety will head to sites like Yelp first to screen potential restaurants. GoTab boosts word-of-mouth marketing on sites like Yelp, which leads to the best benefit of all: more revenue!

A Harvard Business School case study found that revenue increased five to nine percent for each additional star in an online review for a restaurant.7

More Revenue

GoTab users increase their revenue by 300% during peak hours compared to other restaurants. They also see larger orders and higher spend per customer, with an increase of 23% compared to the average check.8 

Combine those statistics with the increased revenue from better reviews, and your restaurant will be in the green.

Data Control

The benefits of contactless ordering continue behind the scenes. The contactless technology system provides you with accessible data that can inform decisions to help you scale. Here at GoTab, our comprehensive contactless ordering system allows you to understand and modify the end-to-end customer experience. 

Our data analytics aggregate insight in straightforward dashboards and include:

  • Week-by-week sales
  • Other metrics
  • Real-time customer feedback
  • Staff trends and performance4

The increase in data empowers restaurants to innovate their customer experience while emphasizing efficiency and growth. 

Technological Simplicity

With us, your contactless ordering can launch within 24 hours. And no, you don’t have to modify or replace your existing point of sale systems.

Our contactless system works on top of your existing point of sale systems so you can update your tech stack without confusing your staff or causing any potentially expensive disruptions in service.4 A high-tech contactless ordering system doesn’t have to be a headache to install and maintain.

Best Practices for Contactless Ordering

Many companies have made the transition to contactless ordering, and many more will continue to do so. That’s why it’s paramount you stay ahead of your competition by being mindful of how you implement the shift to contactless ordering.

#1 Staff Training

With the right system, the transition to contactless ordering can be seamless, but you should still make sure your staff feels comfortable with the new status quo. Put some time aside to train your staff on how the front-of-house operations will run with contactless ordering.

Also, make sure your staff understand the new traffic flow of the restaurant and the contactless ordering system itself so they can triage any customer questions or complaints while working with this contactless technology. It’s also important to cross-train staff so that they can be more efficient and provide a higher quality of service.

#2 Customer Support

The transition to contactless ordering might be alienating for some customers who are unfamiliar. Ensure you’re still creating a welcoming experience for your customers and that staff engage with them, even if it’s from a distance. Staff should greet the guests and be on hand to answer any questions or provide recommendations.

#3 Attention-Grabbing Imagery

Make your menu come alive by incorporating high-quality photos and videos into your digital ordering system.1 A high-quality picture of your award-winning tiramisu can be the difference between whether a customer orders dessert or not.

#4 Digital Footprint

With contactless ordering, the customer’s smartphone is central to their dining experience. Use this to your advantage by integrating a signup option for your rewards program into your digital menu. Consider funnelling customers to your social media platforms and review aggregates like Yelp. You can even offer discounts to customers who complete surveys, follow your social media, leave a review, or join your loyalty program!9


  1. FSR. How Restaurants Deliver Great Hospitality with Contactless Ordering and Payment. 
  2. Small Business Trends. How To Create a QR Code in 5 Simple Steps. 
  3. GoTab. Contactless Ordering & Payment. 
  4. GoTab. Our Impact. 
  5. The Washington Post. What really drives you crazy about waiting in line (it actually isn’t the wait at all). 
  6. Five Stars. 5 Things You Absolutely Need to Know as a Business Owner on Yelp. 
  7. Harvard Business School. Reviews, Reputation, and Revenue: The Case of 
  8. GoTab. Brand Guidelines. 
  9. Custom Business Solutions. How Restaurant QR Codes Offer More than Just Contactless Ordering. 
Tap Room Playbook: Check Your Experience

Tap Room Playbook Episode 2: 

When you really think about it, with everything managers need to do in a tap room, the hospitality aspect is often overlooked.

Watch Now →
Tap Room Playbook: Kick A** Brands

Tap Room Playbook Episode 3: 

The best breweries pay attention to what their brand stands for. How do the best brewers bring their brand to life?

Watch Now →

Situated “in the heart of it all, yet tranquil enough to make you feel away from it all too,” The Limelight Hotel Snowmass offers 99 hotel rooms and 11 residences, as well as footsteps-to-gondola access in winter and summer — right in the middle of Snowmass Base Village.

The Situation

Especially over the last few years, the Limelight Hotels IT team had witnessed a significant shift to contactless technology in the hospitality industry. After evaluating friction points in the guest journey, aligning with modern technology platforms in their restaurant was determined to be an effective way to offer elevated contactless dining experiences to their guests while also evolving their technology platforms to continue to support long-term company goals. Limelight Hotel partnered with GoTab to provide an enhanced on-demand dining experience on par with the brand’s reputation for exceptional guest service.

The Solution

Reducing Staff Touch Points Without Sacrificing Guest Experience

Guests are now able to begin a tab from their room or the property’s restaurant by scanning a QR code, texting a link to friends or family members on the ski slope to add in their orders, then meeting up together at the patio or lodge to enjoy their meal and après ski festivities without interruption. By streamlining tasks like inputting orders and processing payments, this eliminates friction for hotel staff and allows them to focus on delivering renowned guest service for a memorable experience. Since partnering with GoTab, Limelight Snowmass has consistently seen higher check averages and sales.

“We found the Point of Sale platforms we were looking at offered the guest and staff limited opportunities to further reduce touch points or improve the traditional restaurant experience. The GoTab platform enabled the guest to take an active role over the flow of their experience while simultaneously reducing touch points and further streamlining restaurant operations.”Nick Giglio, Manager of Hotel IT Operations, The Little Nell Hotel Group

According to the Limelight Hotels team, some of the other platforms that were evaluated were either missing some of the pieces they were looking for, had weak customer support models, or had little willingness to develop integrations to existing hotel platforms already in place. To that end, GoTab integrated with cloud-based platform, Infor. Together, GoTab and Infor are providing dynamic solutions to support central, efficient service across hotel amenities and deliver exceptional guest experiences.

“Previously, guests would call down to the restaurant to begin an order from their room or while they were out enjoying the ski slopes. Using GoTab, guests can now place orders from anywhere on the resort, giving them the on-demand service they want without interrupting their day. GoTab empowers us to give control to the guest, reducing touch points and streamlining overall restaurant operations, making Limelight Hotel the resort of choice for Snowmass.”Nick Giglio, Manager of Hotel IT Operations, The Little Nell Hotel Group

Since introducing GoTab, The Limelight Hotel has seen a consistent level of upsells and items sold per check resulting in additional revenue capture. They have been able to maintain service levels in their restaurants during periods when there was reduced staffing available without significantly diminishing the guest experience.

The Benefits

Eliminate Phone Orders – Take Orders from the Slopes. Guests can start a tab from their room or on the mountain without interrupting the flow of their day.

Future-Proofed Technologies – Delivering elevated contactless ordering via integration with the Infor hotel management platform.

Eliminating Friction in the Guest Journey – Maintaining service levels during periods of reduced staff without diminishing the guest experience.

  • Eliminating Friction in the Guest Journey – Maintaining service levels during periods of reduced staff without diminishing the guest experience.
  • Eliminating Friction in the Guest Journey – Maintaining service levels during periods of reduced staff without diminishing the guest experience.
  • Eliminating Friction in the Guest Journey – Maintaining service levels during periods of reduced staff without diminishing the guest experience.
  • Eliminating Friction in the Guest Journey – Maintaining service levels during periods of reduced staff without diminishing the guest experience.

Request a Demo

Ready to experience GoTab for yourself? Sign up for a free demo and get qualified to receive a complimentary meal on us!
Request a Demo