What We Know About Low-Touch Dining

The fast rise of low touch dining is a part of the past two years that evolved and expanded once restaurants began to re-open. With customers still looking for lower-risk dining options and foodservice businesses grappling with labor shortages, low touch options serve both while helping to increase profits.

As outlined in a Technomics report on the impacts of COVID-19 in the restaurant industry, consumers are most concerned about touch points during the dining process and how sanitized those points are.  Those restaurants also stand a higher chance of creating consumer confidence, with 67 percent of consumers reporting they’d feel comfortable making return visits.

While these measures have led to greater consumer confidence and increased visits, they’ve also helped create consumer habits that have lasted past the initial phases of the pandemic. The low touch economy reduces risk, but they also increase convenience for customers and labor savings for foodservice businesses.

The Aspects of Low Touch Dining


The first aspect of low touch options is the emergence of digital dining. According to the Bluedot State of What Feeds Us report, smartphones are responsible for those initial phases of the low touch dining process, leading to a 33 percent increase in curbside pickups and a 28 percent increase in drive-thru orders. In order to make this style of ordering possible, half of all surveyed customers reported downloading at least one app, and a majority said they added additional apps.

For restaurants, this means digital communication is critical to success. Yes, it’s important to provide ordering options on apps and via digital channels, but those same channels are also there to drive engagement, keep consumers informed, and to drive promotions. Use of QR codes has been widely used table side and on signage to help customers access menus as an alternative to paper options. This can also drive customers to strategic website content.

Touchless Payment

Having the ability to order on a mobile app or online easily translates to having that same level of accessibility when it comes to payment. There are many benefits to this.

Payments that happen online eliminate the need to use cash. As we know, money can be some of the dirtiest of substances we use on a daily basis simply based on how quickly it transfers from person to person. Allowing payments to be made online also shortens service time and removes the need to process a transaction at the point of pickup, saving labor, as well.


The order has been processed and cooked. The to-go bag is packed. Touchless payment is received. The only thing left to do is provide an easy, risk-reduced way for customers to pick up their food. Like ordering and payment, the solutions in this step of the process are also driven by technology.

With a cabinet that provides for a touchless experience designed for quality preservation and limited face-to-face contact, the Carter-Hoffmann PUC system is the perfect foodservice pick-up solution to maximize the potential of online ordering.

When you combine all three aspects of the digital dining experience, they represent an ability to provide service to today’s savvy diners looking for ease-of-use and convenience.

Ghost Kitchens embody the low touch dining experience. Take a tour of a ghost kitchen concept today.

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State of What Feeds Us

Topics: Foodservice Industry Trends, Takeout & Delivery