Order and pay at home. Then eat at the restaurant. This is the option now offered in the 43 Normandin restaurants which, in a context of labor shortages, allow their customers in a hurry to be served quickly. Other brands are also toying with the idea of offering this type of service.
Posted at 2:34 p.m.
“I think we have gains everywhere,” says Jean Julien, vice-president of sales and marketing at Normandin, on the phone. The restaurant chain has been working on the development of this new service for more than eight months. Under the name of “Table Express”, this online pre-order formula – placed after having made a reservation in the room – eliminates steps for customers in a hurry to have a bite to eat before a show or for those whose children cry quickly. starvation once seated at the table. Consumers who choose this option will receive their plates “to the minute”, we are assured.
“In addition to being quick and easy for our customers, the Table Express lightens the workload of our service teams and optimizes preparation in the kitchen, which makes it all the more interesting in the face of the challenges known in terms of the restaurant workforce,” reads the company’s press release Monday.
Although some steps are eliminated, Mr. Julien insists that the service is just as personalized. “Table service is done by humans. It’s just that we go faster. We got ahead. Expectations are eliminated. »
Customers who have the whole evening ahead of them, for example, are not required to choose their meal in advance and can show up at the restaurant spontaneously, as usual.
New initiatives in the way of serving customers at the tables are likely to multiply over the next few years. “The labor shortage is forcing operators to think about different elements of their business model, to try to operate with good capacity, but with fewer hands,” said Martin Vézina, vice-president of public affairs. and governmental to the Association Restauration Québec (ARQ).
And many are trying to find ways to make it happen. Restos Plaisirs, a group that notably manages Cochon dingue, Café du monde and Madame chose, is currently carrying out tests in one of its establishments with an option similar to that offered at Normandin, confirms the CEO, Pierre Moreau. “These new technologies, which are essentially being developed to enable us to find solutions to the labor shortage, will force us to rethink our customer service,” he wrote in a text message sent to The Press. He is currently out of the country.
St-Hubert is also studying different scenarios to maximize service. “There are several new tools that we see arriving on the market and we are also looking at them,” says Josée Vaillancourt, Director of Communications for the St-Hubert Group. The pandemic is causing people to think differently and we have to adjust to new demands. The rotisserie chain even carried out tests with robots.
In Quebec, some restaurants are currently experimenting with Ordercube. The size of a Rubik’s cube, the device placed on the table allows customers, who only have to press it, to tell their waiter that they are ready to order or pay the bill.