Starting today, Dineout and Zomato will introduce a “contacless dining” in an attempt to reopen restaurants, which have either switched to delivery-only, or have had to temporarily shut, due to the COVID-19 crisis. Both services are working on minimising social distancing and touching common objects, such as menu cards and debit/credit cards.

Zomato will allow diners to scan the menu via QR code, order via the app, and pay the bill on the phone. Menu cards and bill books are often touched by guests, and are typically unsanitised, the company said. It added that although the waitstaff will still have to serve food, it should suffice as long as they are wearing a mask and following the “highest hand hygiene standards”.

Dineout will allow people to pre-order and dine as soon as they reach. A “contactless valet” will bring diners’ car around “just as they complete payments”. “Digital valet will cut short the time spent at community areas to curb the spread of infections,” the company said. A digital menu using “data analytics and AI” will offer dynamic pricing and and customised offers. Finally, the restaurants will accept digital payments via wallets to avoid exchange of cards and cash.

Importantly, both services will ensure that tables are set at a distance from each other. Zomato restaurants will ensure 1 meter distance, and Dineout restaurants will maintain 2 meter distance between tables.

Dineout is also providing a PPE safety kit to restaurants and will ensure hygiene practices. It will also facilitate COVID-19-free certification to restaurants through a “licensed lab” to ensure that all the “microbiological tests” are in place. Zomato will ensure sanitisation of tables and door handles.