Quick response (QR) codes haven’t always been popular in the U.S. since a Japanese engineer invented them in 1994 to streamline tracking of car parts. Their rising popularity today is partly due to the proliferation of consumer devices with built-in scanning capabilities.
According to Bitly, QR code downloads have increased about 750% since early 2020. Who knew COVID-19 would trigger a wide-scale adoption of these multidimensional digital codes in U.S. restaurants?
You’d primarily leverage QR codes to enhance customer safety with contactless menus during the pandemic. However, experts believe that the versatile technology will remain valuable to marketers beyond the COVID-19 era, thanks to its multiple use cases.
Are you ready to take full advantage of the ongoing economic recovery as more and more people travel, order food remotely, or eat out? Explore various QR code applications to boost customer engagements, satisfaction, and overall dine-in at your restaurant.
Contactless Menus: How Does QR Code Ordering Work?
QR codes are an innovative way to enhance your customers’ ordering experiences with technology that’s natively available on their smartphones. Assuming you’re the customer, here’s how you’d typically use the system to order your favorite dish on-premise:
- With your smartphone’s camera, scan a QR code posted on the door, wall, printed menu, your table, etc;
- Click on the pop up link to go to the menu page;
- Place your order and wait for a waiter to deliver the food to your table;
- Integration with the restaurant’s POS software lets you pay for the meal directly from your smartphone;
- Enjoy your meal!
Using QR Codes for Contactless Menus in Your Restaurant
The process entails creating and printing a QR code with a link to your digital menu or a promotional web page. Follow these steps:
- Launch your preferred QR code generator application or website;
- Select the contactless menu link (or URL of the webpage you want the code to launch);
- Customize your design;
- Generate a QR code;
- Download and place the code into your promotional material, such as flyer or poster;
- Print the document.
You can use QR codes to boost traffic to other parts of your restaurant website, such as:
- Landing pages;
- Daily specials page.
To maximize your reach with QR codes, post the print outs in as many strategic places as possible, including:
- Your restaurant’s doorways, walls, parking area, windows, and, on tables.
Also, publish the codes on multiple digital platforms, including:
- Marketing emails;
- Social media pages;
- Promotional blogs.
Leveraging QR codes in this way lets your customers enjoy contactless ordering experiences on-premise or from the comfort of their office or home.
Why Use QR Codes for Your Restaurant Menus?
As a restaurant owner, you can use QR codes to boost customer experiences and drive growth. The marketing technology offers a host of perks, including:
1. Customer safety with touch-less experiences
Contactless ordering and payments minimize the risk of cross-contamination from menu sharing. Offering these options endears your brand to guests that are increasingly concerned over the safety of eating out.
2. Easy, instant menu modifications
- You can edit your contactless menus countless times without reprinting or redistributing the QR codes;
- You can quickly update prices and dishes on your menus, avoiding customer disappointment.
3. Cost savings
- Unlike their physical alternatives, digital menus are damage-proof (no risk of tearing or fluid spillage);
- Contactless menus save on printing costs as you only need to generate one digital version for all customers.
4. More insights, better customer relationships
By tracking customer interactions with your digital menus, you can learn more about their preferences and pain points. This data can be incorporated into your CRM or restaurant software to build in-depth customer insights.
Leverage such analytics to improve customer service and develop better customer relationships.
5. Better user experiences
Integrating contactless menus with your restaurant POS system lets guests order and pay from their smartphones. It elevates both the remote and on-premise user experience.
6. Attractive, high-quality menus
Digital menus aren’t space-restricted. You can use these to cheaply provide as much detail as possible about your meals.
Incorporating high-resolution images without worrying over printing costs is another plus for contactless engagement. With these attractive and detailed restaurant menus, your customers can quickly make informed choices on the mouth-watering delicacies offered.
7. Waiter efficiency
Contactless menu options let you maximize staff efficiency and productivity because:
- Guests don’t need to engage waiters to order;
- Employees don’t need to sanitize or replace menus between table turnovers.
Final World: QR Code Menus Powering Contactless Dining Experiences
In early 2020, a dramatic rise in the adoption of QR codes occurred across the U.S hospitality industry. Restaurants initially used the technology to create contactless menus, enhancing customer safety amid COVID-19. As a restaurant owner, you can still extract value from QR codes long after the pandemic is gone.