How Recovery of the Hospitality Industry Could Drive the App-Revolution

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In the UK, the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme has been widely used this summer, but going forward the hospitality industry will continue to be limited to table-service with contactless payments encouraged to save on human contact. But has the importance of app-based commerce been overlooked?

In fact, as we emerge from lockdown, app-based transactions are likely to skyrocket as App-based transactions often provide a host of benefits, including enabling customers to order and pay at tables, providing a way for businesses to contact customers if an outbreak occurs at an establishment and removing the need for staff and customers to handle cash and prevent the spread of the virus.

Jeremy Nicholds is the Chief Executive Officer of Judopay, a leading enabler of mobile web and app commerce, helping companies across multiple sectors serve their customers with a better way to pay. 

Previously the Executive Director at Visa, Jeremy drove mass-market adoption of NFC Mobile payments across multiple markets and led the launch of compelling new propositions like Apple Pay. Here he outlines just how the recovery from coronavirus could lead the app-revolution.

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically transformed business life, with many having to find new
and inventive ways to interact with their customers. Hospitality is one of the industries that’s been
hardest hit by this challenge. Thankfully, the sector has reopened, making life more enjoyable for the
public, while enabling a large chunk of Britain’s workforce to return to work.

Still, businesses are having to adapt, with many rethinking their payment strategy to not only prioritise
the health and safety of staff, but their customers too. Minimising the presence of germ-ridden cash,
while reducing the number of touchpoints at the point of sale – such as PIN pads – will ultimately help
prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The UK government acted early on in lockdown, actively encouraging the use of contactless spend
by increasing the limit from £30 to £45. Alongside contactless payments, hospitality has also been
challenged with the introduction of limited-table service, or restricted customer-capacity and ensuring
an NHS Test and Trace system is in place.

However, the government has overlooked a key tool in helping businesses to stick to these rules and
guidelines – apps.

App-based commerce is not only an excellent tool for minimising contact, it trumps anonymous cash
and card payments if visitors need to be contacted because of an outbreak. Apps and eWallets
provide an easy way for businesses to tell which customers may have been in contact with someone
who’s tested positive.

At the same time, they enable social distancing measures with ‘order and pay at table’ functionality,
meaning they have minimal interaction with staff and don’t have to leave their seats.

As lockdowns continue to ease, and hospitality finds its footing again, we’ve seen the demand for
app-based commerce continue to grow. Its role in helping the sector to reopen will become vital as we
stride even further into this new normal. We’ve already seen our partners such as Caffè Nero,
Young’s Pubs and KFC take fruitful advantage of app commerce and the benefits it can have not only
to their bottom line but their overall customer experience.

  • Gina is a FinTech journalist (BA, MA) who works across broadcast and print. She has written for most national newspapers and started her career in BBC local radio.

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