utdoor beer garden at Rizzo’s Bar & Inn in Wrigleyville, Chicago.
Baseball season is underway, and while Cubs fans may not be able to attend games in person just yet, they can still visit their favorite Wrigleyville restaurants and bars.
Rizzo’s Bar & Inn (RBI) is just a 3-minute walk from Wrigley Field, and after shutting down for three months, they’re taking all the measures necessary to serve customers in a safe way. Besides spreading all tables apart, opening up the retractable rooftop and setting up an outdoor beer garden. Rizzo’s also started using FanFood mobile ordering. Guests can order from their phones, and for Rizzo’s, that means only one food/drink runner is needed per table to bring the food.
In order to avoid giving customers menus that have been touched by other people or printing single-use menus, Rizzo’s customers can scan QR codes and order off of a virtual menu in their browser on the phone.
“It’s kind of a great time to put something like this [mobile ordering] out because if you just tell people this is the new norm, that’s all they know,” said Eddie Mahoney, manager of the 74-year old Chicago restaurant.
FanFood will be integrated with Rizzo’s existing Toast POS system, so that orders through FanFood will be centralized with orders manually taken by the waiters, and all show up on the Kitchen Display System (KDS). That streamlines the entire front of house and back of house operations and makes services more efficient.
Since the onset of COVID-19, many restaurants have been struggling with both dwindling traffic and increasing cost. In fact, according to a survey conducted by the Beard Foundation and the Independent restaurant coalition, 80 percent of independent restaurant operators aren’t certain their businesses will survive the pandemic.
“Everything has gone up. Everything,” said Mahoney. “Everything from food, produce, our buns, our meat, everything just went up.”
Despite that, restaurants want to avoid passing those costs onto customers. After all, there’s only a certain price limit that most customers would be willing to accept. A burger at RBI that used to be $14 last year is now $16 due to the rising cost of ingredients, combined with the fact that the restaurant saw no revenue coming through for 3 months. But any price higher than that would likely be inconceivable to customers.
“Who would be willing to pay a $20 burger?” Eddie said.
Post lockdown, hesitation still lingers on the mind of many people. Mobile ordering, even for dine-in customers, could be a reassurance to those still in fear of going out to eat during the pandemic. It also helps with managing traffic during lunch and dinner rushes.
“If you don’t want big lines, instead of people congregating, [mobile ordering] is like gold,” said Mahoney
Another great benefit of mobile ordering is the businesses can change their menu, price and item availability in real time, something a print-out menu can’t achieve.
QR Codes at Rizzo’s Beer Garden
“I love these QR code menus,” said Mahoney. “The best part about it is that you can change it in real time.” Rizzo’s can simply update the menu based on what they have in stock.
A Digitaltrends article reports there will be about 11 million QR code uses from households in the U.S. for 2020, compared to 9.76 million in 2018. As touchless menus take the restaurant industry by storm, it’s just one way FanFood’s platform is supporting social distancing measures in food service.
As for Rizzo’s, Mahoney says the restaurant is looking at how FanFood can help achieve long-term goals, even after sports fans come back. For example, Eddie said they could explore having a pizza window for express pickup. Fans could pre-order on FanFood while at the game, and swing by RBI to get their order right after the game.
“Boom! It will be just like Starbucks,” Eddie said.