COVID-19 Breakthrough: A 'Drive-Thru Lunch Box' Service
Amid the Coronavirus crisis that is striking the global economy, several Korean corporations have been coming up with ideas to assist the public and to offer better options for their customers’ needs. Lotte Hotel Seoul initiated a non-face-to-face service platform for a drive-thru lunch box service on March 19th, 2020.
Asia Society Korea interviewed the general manager of Lotte Hotel Seoul, Mr. Jason S. Cho, regarding this innovative project.
1. COVID-19 has become a critical issue impacting both the Korean and global economy. How has Lotte Hotel Seoul been managing this crisis?
Considering the location and flow of foreign guests, Lotte Hotel Seoul is located at one of the riskiest points in Seoul, as it is adjacent to City Hall with the palaces to the west and Myeongdong to the east. As we are well aware of the severity of this issue, we have elevated safety practices and worked to maintain the hygiene of our facility at the highest level.
Not only have we limited the number of entrances to the hotel, installed thermal cameras, and checked the body temperatures of every entering guest, we are also conducting regular disinfection and fumigation procedures for all our facilities. Moreover, we have increased the distances between the tables and chairs in all our restaurants, cafés, and bars in order to reduce the possibility of any potential infections.
Additionally, we feel that it is the most important to support and aid those who are fighting to stop the spread of the virus. In that regard, we delivered 2,000 pieces of sweet red-bean bun to the medical staff in Daegu as a small token of our appreciation for their tireless dedication. We wanted to support them using our strengths, and serving high-quality food supplies was what we decided on. We will continue to look for more ways to support them. We are all in this together.
2. How did you come-up with the idea of a drive-thru service?
Regardless of our strictest attention to the disinfection of this facility, we cannot deny that there are still concerns regarding potential infections in public areas. Reservation cancellations for rooms and restaurants have increased over the last couple of weeks and people still worry despite our best efforts, which is understandable.
This led us to come up with the idea of a drive-thru service. Currently the KCDC (Korea Center for Disease Control of Prevention) is conducting drive-thru virus testing, which has increased the efficacy of the testing process while keeping the possibility of infections among medical staff low. Also, due to the fear of face-to-face contact, more people are purchasing their meals through a delivery service, which involves less contact. Combining these ideas, we designed a non-face-to-face drive-thru service, a platform that keeps physical human contact to a minimum, but still allows customers to enjoy high-quality cuisine from a 5-star hotel.
We are also brainstorming new ways to satisfy our guests and the non-face-to-face drive-thru lunch box service is only the beginning.
3. What is the most important value when it comes to the hotel industry or other sectors of the service industry?
As a hotelier, the satisfaction of our guests is our highest priority. And when we say ‘our guests’, it is not limited to the people who actually stay at the hotel. Anyone can come and use our facilities; hence, everyone can be our customer. Our drive-thru platform is available online, so it is not limited to guests staying at the hotel.
During this difficult time, we are taking extra care to maintain customer satisfaction and minimize their concerns. We are always thinking of new ways to provide the best quality service to more people. We will strive to design more customer-friendly service platforms, even after the crisis has passed. For us, our business is a continuous process of staying one step ahead of everyone else.