New technology hopes to keep impromptu pub trips alive

A Scottish hospitality software startup has launched a new contactless service for collecting customer data, which it said would allow outlets to accept walk-ins as well as pre-booked guests.

Technology firm Stampede says its service is targeted at pubs, bars and restaurants, which when allowed to reopen, must help the government to implement track and trace measures.

Stampede users can share their details with the venue securely, using a smartphone, allowing bars and eateries to store their data and record the exact timings of visits.

The venue can then delete the data after 21 days, as per the government requirements in England. Once a user has visited an establishment and registered their details, Stampede will automatically register the visit, without the need to re-register.

Punters can submit their details in two different ways. The first involves connecting to the venue’s guest Wi-Fi. On subsequent visits to the same venue, smartphones will automatically re-join the guest Wi-Fi network and register the visit. There is also another option of scanning a QR code displayed at the venue, or otherwise staff can manually enter customer details into the Stampede app.

Stampede said its service will retain “the spontaneity of the pre-pandemic pub visit”. Venues have the option of managing the technology themselves, or allowing Stampede to perform the service.

Founder of Stampede, Patrick Clover, described government guidance on trace and trace and data collection as “frankly woeful”.

“It lacked clarity and eschewed responsibility, putting the onus on venues to act responsibly and find their own solutions,” he said. “Pub owners care about the health and safety of their customers, but most won’t know where to get started with data collection, security and privacy, nor will they want to risk spoiling the experience by making customers jump through hoops.

“Our data collection service means spontaneous pub trips and walk-ins can still happen under the right circumstances. It’s a better, more secure and more private option than digital ledgers, and more hygienic than using pen and paper.”

Bars, restaurants and pubs can reopen in England on 4 July, and venues have been ordered to keep a record of all customers for 21 days.

People can only visit restaurants in their household groups, or support bubbles, or with one other household, or with up to five other people in outdoor sites. Tables should be spaced at least one-metre apart, and visitors must be encouraged to avoid using public transport. Indoor table service must be used where possible, and contactless ordering, such as through an app, is encouraged.

In Scotland, outdoor hospitality including beer gardens can reopen on 6 July. Indoor bars, pubs and restaurants can resume trading from 15 July.

The Welsh government is yet to set a date for reopening, however in Northern Ireland, restaurants will be allowed to reopen a day earlier than in England, on 3 July.

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