The Case for Contactless Food Halls

The future food hall is contactless

Food halls are becoming increasingly popular across the world’s major cities, with consumer excitement and buzz growing rapidly. They’re a great place for the modern foodie to experience different tastes and flavours from multiple different chefs and cuisines. 

In recent years, their popularity has exploded. In the United States, there are over 300 food halls, marking a 60% increase over the prior three years. Canada has seen a similar up trend with food halls such as Eataly,  Chef’s HallSuperfresh Asian Night Market and many more in major cities across the country. It’s no surprise that the modern diners flock to these “eatertainement” style venues. 

 If you’re a food hall owner, manager, or restauranteur considering diving into the space – read on.

You may be considering introducing contactless ordering and payment technology to your dining facilities. Here are a few of the most compelling reasons why you should make going contactless a priority for your food hall.

  1. Contactless Ordering Supports all Vendors 

When it comes to food halls, variety and a sense of discovery are key. About 75% of food hall goers agree that food halls introduce them to dishes they have never tried before, and 73% say that food halls introduce them to locally owned restaurants they were not aware of before.

As a result, consumers often want to try as much as possible, with roughly a quarter saying they typically order multiple dishes from different stations when they visit food halls.

But in reality, is the experience of ordering from multiple vendors, and paying multiple times truly a delightful experience for food hall patrons? And is there a way to make ordering more equitable for ALL vendors? Not just the popular or trendy ones?

Using a contactless ordering and payment system, food hall owners can have all vendors, in one application. Meaning guests can order from as many merchants as they wish, while skipping the line and only paying once! 

This adds a whole new level of discoverability for food hall vendors, while also driving incremental revenue and increasing basket sizes.

 2. Reducing Queue Times

If you’ve ever been to a food hall before, you know how long the lines can get at peak times. This leads to lengthy queues and less table space for everyone. From the diner and the food hall’s perspective, it can get quite chaotic (which isn’t necessarily a bad problem to have). 

But the truth is, the general populations propensity to wait is decreasing. This is especially true in younger generations like millennials and Gen-Z. This is the same generation that visit food halls twice as much as older generations. 

A study found that 70% of diners would be less likely to return to a restaurant or food service provider if they experienced long wait times, and another suggests that almost 60% of consumers would be more likely to dine elsewhere if they could have a better checkout experience. Furthermore, 56% of consumers say that fast payment and reducing queue times are critical to positively influencing their perception of a brand. 

In the case of a food hall, long wait times can have a negative effect on the vendors brand, food halls brand and overall, the customer experience.

Is it make or break? No. 

But can you do better? Yes! 

Using contactless dining technology such as a QR code ordering system has been proven to reduce wait times. There are options to set custom ETA’s for specific meals that can be sent via automated text messages. Or, a customer could enjoy a beverage sitting down as they wait for their food to be prepared. 

 3. Improve Guest Experience 

with Dine-in OR Takeout Options

Bring order to the bedlam that often is the Food Hall dining experience. 

By using a contactless ordering & payment system, food halls are able to leverage dine-in tactics similar to traditional restaurants in tandem with takeout ordering that’s seen in the fast-casual, counter service or QSR space.

Dine In

We’ve all been there. Walking around a food hall, looking for a place to sit with friends or family. You end up squeezing in at the end of a long table filled with other parties. Maybe the group has one person staying at the table to guard the parties seats, while the others go wait in line to order from various vendors.

After waiting in lines, and finally returning to an elbow-to-elbow table with some boxed food, you really just want to get out of there. Especially after two plus years of a pandemic.

Overall, this experience can be quite stressful or uncomfortable to diners. Which in turn, can affect the customers perception of food quality, and can play a role on how soon they return to dine again. 

Instead of seating being a “free for all” in your food hall, contactless ordering & payments enable food hall operators to assign table numbers & seat identifiers to maximize the efficiency of the dining area, and improve the overall dining experience.

Taking queues from traditional table-service venues, contactless ordering from QR codes or a mobile menu can help alleviate a diners pain points during the experience.


Imagine it’s a busy Saturday afternoon. Your food hall is bustling with eager foodies ready to try all the experiences your hall has to offer. 

There’s one problem , finding seating is difficult, and navigating the crowds or seating area is looking like a pipe dream. Combine that environment with the fact that 85% of consumers consider or outright leave a line that is perceived to be long – you could be losing out on customers and revenue. 

By using a takeout QR code option, patrons are able to browse all of the vendors menus, and place an order for pickup directly from their booth or area. Using digital menus with rich descriptions and images, converting customers from “just looking” to ordering is easier than ever. 

Every Food Hall is Different

Every food hall is different. Whether it’s operations, location, food type – all food halls are unique in their own way. 

And for that, OrderUp has created a contactless ordering & payment platform that can be manipulated to fit the exact needs and nuances of each unique food hall. 

Here’s a quick overview of what our Food Hall product features looks (or can) look like:

One Menu, All Vendors

All vendors menus exist under one over-arching menu. This means that guests can browse every menu seamlessly to make a food decision.

Vendor Specific Order Management

Each vendor has their own tablet or Order Management Interface (OMI). These are unique to each vendor, and only accessible from that vendors device.

Vendor Specific Reporting

Vendors get direct access to real time reporting. Whether this is daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly – merchants can pull detailed reports in seconds. These reports can be printed from a chit printer, downloaded as a CSV. and emailed directly to any stakeholders. 

Food Hall Reporting

At the highest level, food hall operators will have direct insight into all vendors orders, reporting and financials. This high level reporting is typically not available to the independent vendors. Of course, these decisions are made by management and can be changed to reflect the food halls’ needs. 

Automatic Stock & Inventory Updates

Merchants are able to set their inventory at the beginning of the day. When “X” amount of  an item is ordered, it will automatically be marked out of stock on the menu. 

Easy Menu Updates

Updating a menu is super easy and can be done in real time. This means vendors are able to experiment with new dishes, pricing experiments, specials and so on. 

If you’re a food hall operator, merchant, vendor or restauranteur, contactless dining technology represents an opportunity to take your operations to the next level and ultimately provide an excellent experience for your diners. 

If you’re interested in learning more about our platform and solutions specific to Food Halls, we’d love to hear from you!

Take your Food Hall to the next level.

OrderUp is the most cost effective contactless dining platform for Food Halls and restaurants alike.

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