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Cashless Vending - A Way to Cater Safely

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The message received from all angles as we try to stem the spread of the virus is ‘reduce contact’. Anything that reduces contact – with each other or any surface – is a good thing.

It’s well known that the use of cash was on the decline before the COVID pandemic – research by Link showed that cash withdrawals were down 60% during lockdown, with 51% saying they expected their card use to increase. Combine this with the fact the contactless limit in the UK has been increased to £45, people are now in a position to pay for larger transactions using contactless.

Businesses are exploring ways to serve customers safely and profitably. Vending is a popular addition to the hospitality sector – it allows users to select the food they want, whenever they want, with no human contact.

Contactless vending is simply an integrated contactless payment system which can be installed on a new or existing machine. It allows users to tap-and-go, which is hassle free and negates the need to carry or handle cash. It can reduce time spent queuing and allows access to refreshments at any time, whilst also enabling social distancing.

For organisations it removes the costs involved with maintaining coin and note acceptors and handling cash, reducing resource requirements. Another benefit for businesses is the transactional data captured, which can inform stock control and sales figures.

Contactless vending is compatible with mobile wallet apps such as ApplePay, Google Wallet and AndroidPay as well as debit and credit cards, making it convenient and user friendly.

Many organisations are keen to integrate contactless vending into their foodservice offering and the fact it can be integrated into existing vending machines appeals to many as there is no need to invest in new machines. Post-pandemic it seems to be becoming an important revenue stream – rather than the ‘nice to have’ it might have been pre-pandemic.

It is clear the world is a changed one for the foreseeable, but that does not mean organisations cannot continue to serve customers and increase revenue from hospitality – it might just take some adaptations to do this.

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