Contactless Dining Inside a Restaurant? Yes–Meal Delivery and Pick-Up Aren’t Your Only Safe Options Anymore!

If you love dining out, but you’re now more safety conscious than before, you might feel like you’re in a hopeless situation. You know you can use one of those popular apps to order food and pick it up or have it delivered, but you’re sick of eating restaurant food in your own living room! Wouldn’t it be nice to sit at a table in a relaxed atmosphere, be waited on by friendly servers, and not have to do any clean up afterward? You miss all of that…but how can you go back to restaurants when you’re still worried about contagious germs and viruses that might be here to stay?

The answer is simple: contactless dining made possible with innovative (but simple!) technology.

What Is Contactless Dining?

A contactless dining experience is made possible by restaurants using innovative technology. You use your personal smart phone device to do everything (except eat!), minimizing or eliminating the contact you make with other people and shared items like menus and card swipers.

With contactless dining, an app on your smart phone or computer takes the place of touching items that used to be unavoidable when dining in. New apps make it possible to have a no-touch experience at your favorite restaurant. That’s right—you really can enjoy an in-person dining experience that’s virtually as touch-free as app-based meal delivery and pick-up!

No More Sticky Menus

Instead of ordering from a menu given to you by a server that’s been handled by countless unknown customers, you view the restaurant menu online in a browser or app. You might place your order ahead of time from home or the office or while on the go, or after being seated at the table by the host or hostess. You’ll use your tablet or smart phone in the restaurant, or even your laptop or desktop computer if you pre-order.

The ideal online ordering app will let you browse menu items, look at photos, read detailed descriptions, and view prices. You’ll be able to customize your order and make special requests in exactly the same way you would if you were telling your order to a server. If you’re ordering for multiple people at once, a great app will let you assign names to each dish so when you arrive at the restaurant, your server can call you each by name and make sure you get the right order with all the personal requests. (“I’ve got a cheeseburger, medium rare with extra onions for Jack, and a BLT with mayo on the side for Jill…here you go!”)

The best ordering app will also let you select your table ahead of time–for example, a table indoors or one on the patio–as well as specify any special accommodations needed, such as a highchair or booster seat, or room for a wheelchair.

An app that facilitates a superior contactless experience should also let you tell the restaurant what time you’ll be arriving. That way, when you get there, you don’t have to stand around in a crowded waiting area with other guests–you’ll be seated right away at the table that’s already been set up for you. You won’t wait long for your meal either because the moment you place your order it will go straight to the kitchen, and they’ll know exactly when to start preparing it to have it ready when you arrive. Overall, enjoying an ideal contactless dining experience means spending more time eating and less time waiting around, minimizing your exposure to others seated nearby.

Contactless Payment Means Even Fewer Touchpoints

Contactless dining eliminates several other touchpoints by allowing you to pay and tip right inside the app. You won’t have to handle cash, or hand over your card to a server or cashier. You won’t have to touch a card swiper or enter your pin on a keypad used by everyone else. You won’t have to touch the receipt brought to you by the server and then use a shared pen to sign it. You won’t have to touch anything at all to settle your bill.

Instead, you’ll pay using your own phone and leave when you’re done. In fact, with the best app, you can even pre-pay when you order so the only thing left to do after you eat is tip—using the app, of course! Not only will you minimize contact with items touched by other people, but you’ll also minimize the time you spend in close proximity to other guests. When you’re finished with your meal, you can leave when you’re ready. For those worried about exposure, this is a double benefit.

With a contactless dining experience, you get to enjoy all the fun and perks of eating out and still feel comfortable knowing you’re minimizing your exposure.

How to Enjoy Contactless Dining at Your Favorite Restaurants

There are a few online ordering apps out there, but it seems like they’re focused on what makes it easy for the restaurant instead of what makes it easy for YOU—the customer. The ideal app keeps both the business AND the guest in mind, and at aBitNow, we pride ourselves on having created a solution that does just that.

So If you miss eating out at your favorite restaurants and would love to return as soon as they can provide a contactless dining experience, tell them about aBitNow. In the meantime, go to our registration page and register as a new aBitNow user, and nominate some of your favorite eateries to join aBitNow today. You can win $250 just for registering!

Consistency – Key To Restaurant Success

If you run a successful restaurant, chances are you have a loyal base of customers who return often and tell others to give you a try. While it’s nice to see familiar faces, it’s more than just good feelings that come with repeat business: it’s the foundation for reliable revenue.

On average, repeat customers spend 33% more than new customers do, and the longer they’re with you, the more valuable they are. In fact, according to Bain & Company, the average repeat customer will spend 67% more in months 31-36 with your business than they did in months 0-6.

One surefire way to grow a loyal customer base is to focus on consistency, and in few industries is consistency more important than it is in hospitality and restaurants.

The human brain may be wired to seek out novelty, but when a customer returns to your restaurant because of a previous good experience, they’re not looking for novelty. They’re looking to repeat the pleasure they had last time, and they expect to have an experience that is at least as satisfying as it was before. They have expectations, and if you meet those expectations, you could create a customer for life. If you fail to meet expectations, you’ll likely lose the customer. . .and you risk having them talk others out of giving you a try.

Let’s look at four areas where consistency can make or break customer loyalty: food, staff, cleanliness, and wait times.


People like knowing that if they had a great dish last time they visited, they’ll have the same experience if they order it next time.

We all know the disappointment of looking forward to enjoying a particular meal we remember being awesome, and then having it show up undercooked or overcooked, seasoned differently, or with a different side dish or substituted ingredients. . .it’s such a letdown.

If they feel let down, some customers will chalk it up to a bad day, and they’ll come back to give you another chance. But many customers operate on a “one strike and you’re out” rule, never to return.

Whether you’re serving casual sandwiches or high-end French cuisine, it’s essential that your kitchen team know how to put out a perfect dish every time—even during the meal rush. Recipes need to be documented and followed, food should be tasted, and quality control has to happen at every point in the process.

Keep in mind, if your customer had a good meal last time, they expect a good meal next time. If they had an excellent meal last time, they expect an excellent meal next time. So whatever your standards are, hold your line and never let them slip.


Part of what make a dining experience enjoyable is the interaction with your employees. Even if they’re ordering at a window or from a food truck, customers expect an efficient and friendly exchange. And if the service was good and the employees were pleasant during their last visit, customers expect the same level of interaction on their next visit.

Customer service is demanding, but no matter how rough their day, your servers need to provide excellent and friendly service. When customers sit down and dine in, they definitely want to feel like they’re the most important customer of the day.

Your waitstaff take the brunt of every customer complaint, so do everything you can to keep things running smoothly from the back to the front of the house. Equip them with the tools they need to take orders quickly and get accurate information to the kitchen. Streamline every process possible to minimize mistakes.


Some customers are germaphobes and others are quite the opposite, so you can’t make everyone happy. But repeat customers have an idea of what to expect when they visit your restaurant, and it’s important you meet those expectations. A sticky table, lipstick on a glass, dirty silverware. . .any deviation from what customers expect can drive even a loyal patron away to the competition. Whatever your minimum cleanliness standards are, make sure your entire staff is well aware of those standards and put systems in place to ensure nothing falls through the cracks.

When you’re being slammed by a meal rush, sometimes it’s cleaning that gets skipped. Having a way to deal with a massive influx of customers can help you avoid being caught off guard and accidentally seating someone at a table before it’s been cleared (a big no no!). Making customers wait longer to be seated than they’re used to can be a major turn-off as well, so make sure your cleaning protocols are clearly communicated and easily executed.


Do your customers expect to quickly get in, get fed, and get on their way? Or do they plan to spend hours in your establishment, enjoying a leisurely meal? If they have to wait for a table, do they expect to stand outside, or can they relax in the bar until a table is available?

Whatever expectations you’ve created for your guest in terms of wait times, you need to be consistent. If customers usually come for a leisurely meal, you can’t suddenly rush them out. If they expect to get in and out in a specific period of time (because they’ve had that experience in the past), you can’t surprise them with long wait times. They may have scheduled you as part of a day or evening with other events, and if they’re repeat customers, they have an idea of how much time they expect to spend at your business, and it’s important you do your best to meet those expectations.

As you know, one way many restaurants give their guests a way to manage their wait time expectations is by allowing them to make reservations. Reservations used to be just for the “fancy” places and on busy nights, but having some sort of similar system might be just what you need to keep your guests happy and to keep tables turning at an efficient rate.

One way you can give your restaurant and your patrons all the benefits of a reservation system is by using aBitNow. Rather than calling ahead to make a reservation or calling to place a “to go” order, customers who use aBitNow can place their order online. The time savings for your staff is obvious, as no one needs to answer the phone, take down the name and phone number for dine-in guests, or write down an order being picked up. Because the customer places the order online, accuracy is almost 100% assured! Plus, the customer can specify the time they either want to pick up the food or dine at a table at your restaurant. Smart aBitNow restaurants even set aside a certain number of “jIT” tables (just in time tables) that are designated for guests who ordered online and want to spend time there eating instead of waiting.

Want to give aBitNow a try? Register your restaurant and you’ll receive your first 30 days FREE, with absolutely no commitment! Visit to sign up today.

jIT Solutions Brings aBitNow to Bay County, Florida

Technically Speaking With jIT Solutions

By Marta Rose-Thorpe

Dan Stolts, CEO and Chief Innovation Officer of jIT (Just in Time) Solutions (, likes to stay behind the scenes for the most part.  Dan comes from the technical side and started out as a program engineer.  “More of a Bill Gates than a Steve Ballmer kind of guy,” he says, referring to Gates running the technology side and Ballmer running the business. 

jIT Solutions, based in Lakeville, Massachusetts, is an innovation company that launched in 1995 and later became incorporated under Bay State Integrated Technology in 2002.  A veteran-owned business, Dan served in the U.S. Army for four years, from 1987 to 1991.  “I went into military because I wanted to serve my country,” he shares.  The experience helped him narrow his focus and his thought process:  Creating solutions and applying technology to the challenges businesses face.

“We take a different approach with how we do things,” says Dan.  “We understand the challenges of the business and take a holistic approach to creating whatever solutions are needed.  Xerox (his past client) needed to get their products out faster, as well as improve employee morale.  We showed them how they could use innovation to save time and money while drastically improving employee morale.”

Throughout his career Dan has written in-depth certification books on architecting Microsoft Azure solutions, Cloud migrations, and Security.  For the first 25 years of his life, he used his gifts for creating technical solutions for other people, as a consultant, trading dollars for hours.  “Three years ago, I realized we needed to do this to scale.  Instead of focusing on one problem, we needed to think about problems for the entire industry.”

jIT Solutions, says Dan, is not a products company, it is an innovation company.  Enter one of his newest innovations, a time management POS system called aBitNow ( which has been in development a little over a year and a half.  “We’re rolling it out now,” he says.  Consider this scenario.  A customer goes into a busy, crowded restaurant to have a meal with their dining companion.  The hostess lets them know there is a 20-minute wait.  In 20 minutes, they are ushered to their table where they wait for the server to greet them.  They place drink orders and wait for the drinks.  They then place their meal order and then wait for the meal.  They then wait for their check, wait for their server to come pick up the credit card, and then wait for their receipt to come back. 

“Our technology saves people and businesses time, energy, money and aggravation,” says Dan.  With aBitNow technology, customers will view a dynamic menu on their own device (a smart phone, iPad or PC), pre-order their meal, and pre-pay.  Once they arrive at the restaurant the hostess gets them seated without waiting in line – the rest of the dining experience flows.  This cuts out all the wait for the customer and makes it possible for them to enjoy a nice, sit-down meal even if they have a finite amount of time – like a lunch break.  On the restaurant side, the server can take on many more tables because of all the time they are saving. 

“Whenever we optimize, we optimate everything around that entire business,” explains Dan.  “We think through the whole process.  Restaurants and other businesses need dynamic menus and need to be able to change the menu on the fly.  Restaurants are being slammed now with large POS fees – sometimes 30% or more.  With our product, they’ll only pay a max of 1% for all of our tech and innovation.  Restaurants deal with food theft and need to know if a consumer is in good standing or not.  We will have the ability to let the server or bartender rate the customer and put notes on the customer so they can develop relationships.  This program provides a massive improvement in customer service.” 

Another component is JiT Meals, a program for the restaurant’s kitchen staff whereby pre-cooked meals are cooked in advance.  “This can be anything,” says Dan.  “Baked catfish, shrimp scampi, spaghetti and meatballs.  We have all these recipes that the restaurant can adopt and have high quality meals out in two minutes.” 

Dan is passionate about teaching and sharing his knowledge – it’s what drives him.  “It’s about taking something I’ve been doing my whole life that helps other people, and share” he says, explaining that he developed this thought process from his mother.  “I’ve been gifted with being technical-savvy and the ability to innovate and think outside the box,” he says.  “I want to use this to help make the world a better place.” 

aBitNow Panama City Beach Team
Debra and AmyMarie, both part of the aBitNow team in PCB, smile at a sponsored event.