Businesses across industries have been on the path of digital transformation over a decade now and restaurants are no different. However, the adaptation of digitization across industries has been at an unprecedented rate over the last two years thanks to a pandemic which totally altered the way we think and function.
One such technology which has been around for a decade but only gained traction in the last two years has been the QR Code menus for restaurants. The rising demand for contactless ordering among restaurant goers to maintain social distancing is one of the major driving factors behind the popularity of QR Code menus in restaurants.
Besides the obvious benefit of social distancing and convenience, QR Code menus bring in a myriad of benefits to the table. Before we deep dive into exploring the many benefits of using QR Code menus in restaurants let's first understand all about QR Code menus.
Decoding QR Code menus
A QR Code menu is essentially a digitized version of the traditional menu card/paper menu which customers can view by scanning a QR code on their smartphone or tablet. The term ‘QR’ means ‘Quick Response’, it is a square-shaped barcode which a customer can scan using the phone camera/Google lens/browser which leads to a landing page (website or food ordering app) where the restaurant menu is displayed. Customers can directly place the order on the website/food ordering app, and also make contactless payments. QR Code menus are thus a safe and a completely contactless ordering experience.
Step-by-step process to scan QR Code menu
Here is a step-by-step walkthrough of how customers can scan the QR code with their mobile using a phone camera, browser/app, and Google Lens.
- Camera App: Open the in-built camera app on your phone and position the camera towards the QR code. Once you see a notification on your screen, click on the same and it will lead you to the restaurant’s digital menu.
- Browser/App: You could also download a QR code scanner app on your mobile phone and scan the QR code with the app. Alternatively, you could also access one of the many QR code scanners available online on your browser.
- Google Lens: One of the most popular apps is Google Lens. Download and install the app on your phone, position it on the QR code, scan the code and it will directly lead you to the digital menu of the restaurant.
Why is a QR Code menu important?
Social distancing, covid appropriate behaviour, hygiene, and customer safety and convenience have become the utmost priority for restaurant business owners. Digital restaurant menus help achieve all of these and more. By adapting QR Code menus in restaurants, owners can enable customers to scan digital menus, order foods, book tables online, and make online payments, all using their smartphones or a digital device of their choice. A QR Code menu also saves time and is an enabler in making restaurant operations smooth and hassle-free. QR Code menus in restaurants is no more a choice but a need in the new world we live in.
Why use a QR Code menu?
If you have already not migrated from paper menus to contactless paperless QR Code menus, now is the time to do so. Besides safety and social distancing QR Code menus have more benefits to offer than you can imagine.
- Eliminates unnecessary contact between customers
Several customers, suppliers, and many other people pass in and out of restaurant doors throughout the day. Physical menu cards are touched by a number of people. No matter how many times one sanitizes the menu card, people aren’t really comfortable touching paper menus, especially post covid. QR based menu is a convenient and contactless way to navigate the menu and helps customers feel safe.
- Saves hefty printing costs
Restaurants often have special additions to the menu during the holiday and festive season. Getting new add-on menus printed year on year is both a hassle and a costly proposition. With a QR code menu making changes and updates is easy and convenient with no additional costs involved.
- Minimizes staff and customer contact
Your staff still needs to get food to the table and escort customers inside the restaurant premises. But with a QR Code menu you can easily eliminate the task of servers manually taking orders, which minimizes contact between customers and restaurant staff to a great extent.
- Speedy and accurate orders
With manual orders, customers often have to wait for a very long-time for someone to take orders which may lead to irate customers. QR Code menus eliminate the waiting time which means customers can quickly place orders and be served without waiting for too long. It also means accurate orders. On a really busy day, staff may mistakenly swap orders of two tables or may forget about a special request. Such instances are rarely possible with the QR Code menu system.
- Opportunity to upsell with enticing food images and a well-designed menu
Research suggests people spend upto 30% more online as compared to offline or in-store sales. When ordering from a digitized menu customers aren’t under the pressure to place their order quickly, which means more time to explore the menu and decide. With digital menus built keeping the user experience at the forefront, features like attractive visuals, food pictures, pop-ups of on-going offers, maybe a video review, customer ratings etc. entice the customer into ordering more. Digital menus when designed well are a treat to the eyes.
- Enhanced customer experience
Customers today come to a restaurant for more than just food. They come for an experience. QR code menus simplify and fasten the order placing process, customers have the ordering experience under control. QR Code menus enable customers to select exactly what they want, leaves no room for miscommunication between the waiter and customer and enables your staff to focus on better hospitality, quick service, and significantly reduces order inaccuracies. No wonder, QR Code menus are fast gaining popularity among customers and restaurant owners both.
- Build customer database
When placing orders through an online menu customers have to provide details like their email address and mobile phone number. Similarly, when giving feedback they can fill-in details like birthdays and anniversaries. You can build a system to capture these details and use them to deliver more personalized experiences in the future, and drive loyalty programs and better customer retention.
QR Code menus: Best practices to follow
- Most people carry smartphones these days and use apps for booking a doctor’s appointment, clothes shopping and everything in between. Create mobile-friendly QR Code menus which direct customers to an easy to use app or mobile-friendly website.
- Make sure the website/app is agile with a minimal page loading time and easy to navigate. Reflect your brand prominently on the digital menu.
- Most importantly, test your app before launching it for your end-consumer.
A majority of the young population comprises millennials, Gen-Z and Gen-Y. All of them have literally grown up consuming technology and the internet. Lastly, restaurant menus, whether physical or digital play a critical role in your restaurant’s profitability and success. Just as you serve them food the way they desire, dish out your menu just the way they prefer. Customers today are all-in for a digital experience, invest in a QR Code menu if you haven’t already and see your restaurant business reach new heights.