Since the declaration of COVID-19 being a pandemic, countless commercial establishments closed down, most notably malls. As a result, food businesses inside malls suffered a significant loss in profit, forcing them to lay off employees or close down altogether.
Meanwhile, those that remained open adjusted their operations to adapt to the crisis. They have stopped accepting dine-in customers and focused their efforts instead of online or phone orders. While this strategy helped them stay in business, it wasn’t enough for some, especially lesser-known restaurants.
That is when kiosks came into the picture and presented a solution. Since they’re practically just booths, customers won’t crowd it, allowing them more control in the cleanliness of the place. And with social distancing being the rallying cry of consumers, no one is likely to break health protocols and rub shoulders at a kiosk.
Kiosks also have sanitation wipes readily available for customers. Hence, customers can clean the kiosks after use, making them feel more assured that they’d be leaving it virus-free. A restaurant, on the other hand, has many areas and things that are possibly infected, such as restrooms and utensils.
Therefore, a food kiosk is seen as a safe and profitable business venture during the pandemic. That said, let’s understand further how these businesses are benefiting the food industry.
Consumer Demands and Behaviours Have Changed
Even countries — like New Zealand and Vietnam — that have successfully contained the coronavirus are still wary of contracting it. As such, the new normal is continuously adopted by their citizens. The wearing of face masks remains mandatory in flights and public transportation, and people are still discouraged from touching their faces. And as it goes without saying, the frequent washing of hands is always urged.
Since these measures greatly affected restaurants, kiosks came about to help the food industry recover. Though they aren’t anything new, it is only today that they are receiving more praise. The consumers’ changing demand and behaviour have sped up the adoption of kiosks even more.
To help restaurants preserve the efficiency of their brand, they sought out an automated solution, which a kiosk proved to be. Instead of customers queuing up in a restaurant, they may order from a kiosk — usually online or via a QR code — and pick up their orders from it, or a designated pick-up zone.
A virtual kiosk launched by Ready is one of the starters of this approach. Ready is a free app that lets diners access a restaurant menu from their phones and place a pre-order or immediate order. They may then pick-up their orders from Ready’s supported locations.
Opening a Pandemic-Proof Kiosk
A physical kiosk is still a good business idea, despite virtual versions of it being the trend. Considering that lockdowns are already eased, you’ll have costumers coming to you without major worries. As long as you follow protocols for food businesses, you’re not bound to meet trouble.
If you are hiring staff, ensure that they are fit to work at all times. That means that they must not be carrying any form of illness or disease that’s potentially dangerous for the food. If they report having flu-like symptoms, they must immediately be in home quarantine. When they’ve recovered, follow your country’s guidance on letting a staff return to work, an example of which England’s return to work process for an asymptomatic worker. Note that the staff in question must’ve been tested first.
Though it is unlikely for COVID-19 to be transmitted through food and food packaging, your staff should wash their hands frequently and adequately. They ought to do so before and after handling food, before handling utensils, cutlery, cookware, and other items used by customers; after dealing with dirty or used items (e.g., money), touching high-contact surfaces, being in a public place, and sneezing, coughing, and blowing their nose.
Kiosk Design Ideas
Just because you’re putting health protocols on top of everything means there shouldn’t be allowances for aesthetics anymore. You’re looking to earn a profit, so your kiosk design must be eye-catching.
Typical kiosks have an awning overhead and wheels at the bottom. This cart-style look is perfect for pre-cooked and frozen items since there’s no cooking facility. Speaking of which, a kiosk with cooking equipment will look better in sleek textures, so consider stainless steel. They’re easily cleaned, something vital in today’s standards.
A food truck also counts as a kiosk, and it’ll give you more space, which is useful when you’d need a cooking facility. Have it customised according to your needs and brand. You can find professionals that will help you design it from online sources, such as campro.co.nz and others.
By starting a kiosk business, you can potentially help many restaurant workers that have lost their jobs. Hence, when you make this business idea come to life, you’ll make the world a better place not just for them but for everyone who missed the comforts of dining out.