With the Unlock 1.0 rules allowing restaurants and bars to resume operations from June 8, 2020, India’s retail landscape will start looking a little bit like it used to in the early days of March, when the lockdowns had not been in place. But things will definitely not be the same as before Covid-19.
For the restaurant industry, the two-plus months of lull will be followed by overhauling and tech deployment to reduce human contact, maximise social distancing and put in place hygiene measures. This means the entire process of dining out will change and restaurant SaaS startup POSist is one of the first out of the gate with solutions for the new world.
The Delhi-based restaurant tech startup is launching two new products to help restaurants serve customers in the post-lockdown world. POSist cofounder and CEO Ashish Tulsian says customers would choose restaurant brands and outlets that have good hygiene practices and are able to generate trust through transparent measures and tech.
Talking to Inc42, Tulsian said POSist is launching QR code and WiFi-based ordering solutions as well as ‘postpaid’ dining features to help restaurants build trust and bring in repeat sales. Under the WiFi-based ordering feature, diners can place an order by connecting to the restaurant’s WiFi network and viewing a digital menu. Once diners register with their mobile number and place the order, a waiter will confirm the same at the table, and the order will be sent to the kitchen display system (KDS).
The feature also allows diners to re-order or add new orders through the digital menu. Diners can also choose QR-based ordering, where they can place orders from a code displayed on the table and pay for the order at the same time. For payments, customers can request bills directly on a smartphone. The waiter assigned to the table will receive the notification and send the bill to the diner’s phone along with the payment options.
“On making the payment, the receipt is automatically generated and a digital copy will be sent to the customer on WhatsApp and via SMS,” Tulsian said.
Launched in 2012 by husband-wife duo Ashish and Sakshi Tulsian, POSist offers a cloud-based restaurant technology and automation platform for restaurants. The company claims to serve over 8K restaurants in 20 countries. Its SaaS suite includes accounting software, online ordering support, digital wallets, cloud telephony, table reservation, loyalty programmes, and delivery integration with online food aggregators.
Talking about the impact of Covid-19 earlier, Tulsian had said that among its customers, revenue has been down by 96.5%. He emphasised that billing roughly went down by 96% on a daily basis across metros between March 22 to May 14, 2020. Tulsian claims up to 30% of its customer base is now operational, as compared to 10% during the third phase of the lockdown from May 4-17. Tulsian also emphasised that he expects most restaurants to open up by the end of July.
Addressing the adoption of new technology in the post-lockdown world, Tulsian said that the company has been piloting its “less-touch” products for some time and has seen good results in Goa, where operations of dine-in restaurants have been allowed for many weeks.
Tulsian also said that POSist is working on solutions ranging from managing the entry of customers to their exit. For instance, one of the solutions includes a car valet that links vehicle keys to mobile number. Similarly, Tulsian explained that this may be further extended to notify management of a customer’s arrival and get their table ready, making it a better customer experience as well as reducing touchpoints.
He has earlier been vocal of the fact that while fully contactless dining isn’t feasible, POSist is reducing the touch interaction in dining. “At the delivery level, we see food aggregators bringing great value in managing contactless delivery of food from the restaurant to customers doorstep.”