3 Touch-Free Tech Solutions That Will Revolutionize Ordering

Before the COVID-19 pandemic changed the landscape of customer service irrevocably, contactless technology was a point of intrigue—cool and futuristic for those who had it. It was indeed a talking point which brought in waves of interested customers, but not strictly necessary for a business to thrive.

Now all of that has changed. Like never before, the marketplace puts a heavy emphasis on convenience, safety, and sanitation while simultaneously avoiding crowds and public spaces. Without contact-free solutions, competitors have the edge, and you might end up among one of the thousands of businesses that had to close because of COVID-19.

Touch-free solutions are more a part of daily life than many people realize. With homes already integrated with Alexa or Google devices and most iPhone users relying on Siri, society is steeped in voice technology. Many restaurants have equipped themselves with digital wallet payment methods and QR codes that allow ordering right from any mobile device, but what if all of this could be taken a step further? What if customers could order from your self-service kiosk, pay, and get their food without touching a thing?

It is more attainable than you think.

1. Heat sensors

We’ve written before about how Brooklyn Dumpling Shop integrated touch-free technology to open a viable, state-of-the-art business during the pandemic this summer, but let’s look more closely at how their kiosks work.

For some background, Brooklyn Dumpling Shop runs entirely contact-free. They consider themselves the “first Zero Human Interaction” restaurant experience around. A customer can pre-order on their phone or order from the kiosk when they arrive, wait for a three-light system to tell them when their food is ready, and pick up their meal from lockers that automatically disinfect themselves after each transaction. Few customers are allowed in at a time as an added precaution.

How do the kiosks work? They’re equipped with heat-sensing technology that detects people’s hands when hovering above the screen. The kiosk also detects a customer’s credit card using their body temperature so they can similarly pay without swiping on or touching machines that many other customers have used throughout the day. Interestingly, these thermal detection capabilities have also been utilized in companies that combat the spread of the virus by remotely checking users’ temperature to determine if they have symptoms of COVID-19. The technology is very multi-functional.

2. Motion tracking

Rather than registering heat, which has its faults and limitations, some restaurants have started implementing technology that uses cameras to track hand movements.

Ultraleap, with its recent acquisition of Motion, is one company that produces such technology. Together they’ve developed a device that uses an embedded infrared camera to track movement via ultrasound. It senses motions in the air nearby and modulates points of sound pressure at such a frequency that customers can “feel” the screen from inches away. It creates an invisible sense of “touch” that lets customers access the interface without actually sharing surfaces or spreading germs.

Advancing technology is a significant investment, but the economic landscape is currently in enough flux. It’s well worth the risk of getting such a massive reward in an otherwise unforgiving market.

3. Holography

Some inventors have taken “feeling” interfaces that aren’t there a step further and designed a holographic screen that projects outward and reacts to touch commands. In other words, customers can now see and feel kiosk screens in the air, inches out from where the interface is inlaid.

Holo Industries is a California-based manufacturer and distributor that’s discovered how to create a completely holographic ordering experience. It’s the stuff of sci-fi movies: Their high-tech software casts keypads, touch screens, and ordering displays in mid-air. It projects a functional, hyper-realistic image that people can feel and touch. Restaurants have to set the device inside the kiosk or counter and let their customers begin the self-ordering process without worrying about spreading germs that cause COVID-19 or any other illness. The future of foodservice is advanced, sanitary, and contact-free.

Futuristic technology is already here. COVID-19 has expedited the development of contact-free devices, which will dictate the restaurant experience well past when the threat of this pandemic has passed, completely changing the trajectory of foodservice technology for good. With these touch-free solutions on the market, the restaurant world can only wait for what revolutionary ordering tool will come out next to guide them on a swift path to success.

Connect with eatOS today to find restaurant technology solutions that work for you.

Editor's Picks