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Restaurant management platform and payment facilitator Toast this week introduced enhancements to its contactless solutions to help restaurateurs recovering from impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new features include innovations within the Toast Order & Pay™ solution, which enables guests to order and pay using their smartphones, that help further streamline restaurant transactions and give guests more control.

The solution’s new pre-authorization tabs enable guests to pre-authorize the use of a credit card and start a tab from their own device. The information provided through the tabs connects to the rest of the restaurant’s ecosystem, allowing a shift between guest-led and server-led ordering. 

Also, a new group ordering features enables restaurant guests to add items to a single order from individual devices and submit the order on one check.

According to Toast, 86% of restaurant guests say that paying at the table using their own device is important to them.

“Guest behaviors are changing faster than ever in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic; ordering and paying for food via smartphone might have felt foreign to some a few years ago. Today, many people expect this convenience in an effort to reduce contact with others and increase efficiency,” Aman Narang, president and co-founder of Toast, said in the announcement.

“We developed innovations like pre-authorization tabs and group ordering in response to the pandemic and the dramatic shift in consumer preferences left in its wake. The new features rolling out today deepen the connection between restaurants and their guests — empowering diners to essentially have a remote control to the restaurant in their pocket — making it easier for restaurateurs to focus on providing great hospitality and serving the food guests love, while at the same time, increasing check sizes, revenue, and employee wages.”

According to the release, the new features have resulted in an average of nearly 12% higher ticket sizes. They also allow servers to cover more tables, enabling them to take home more tips.

“Toast Order & Pay increased our bottom line up to 10 percent; post-COVID that translates to $2.5M in additional annual income for our business,” said Kevin Healy, owner and operator of Richmond, Va.-based HOUSEpitality Restaurant Group, said in the release.

“Additionally, almost every one of our hourly employees is making 25-30 percent more this year than they were last year. Considering we experienced a 30 percent sales decline due to the pandemic, being able to give our staff a significant raise during this time is groundbreaking.”

The company also made updates to its Toast Marketing and Toast Loyalty solutions. These new features include estimated sales reports from marketing email campaigns, the availability of Apple Pay across the company’s digital ordering product suite, and customizable bonus points that enable restaurant owners to build their own tailored loyalty campaigns.