The last couple of years have been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride for all businesses, but especially restaurants. With the exception of the travel and healthcare industry (of course), it’s hard to name an industry that’s been forced to adapt and change more than the restaurant industry.
Restaurants rely on so many different industries meaning a disruption in just one of them can reak havoc. Food shortages, staffing shortages, and government mandates stretched restaurants thin forcing them to adapt.
A common trend among restaurants that have survived the pandemic is how they’ve used technology to not just survive but thrive.
One of those adaptive technologies has been the widespread use of QR code menus.
If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve noticed QR codes everywhere. Not just in restaurants, but airports, malls, and even billboards.
As with every new technology, you have to carefully assess if it’s even necessary for your business, if it can help give you a competitive edge over the competition, or if it’s just a waste of time.
QR codes work in so many capacities for businesses and restaurants are no exceptions. So in this blog post, we’re going to catch you up on what exactly is a QR code and how restaurants are using QR code menus to retain more customers.
What Is A QR Code
QR (quick response) codes were invented in 1994 by the Japanese automobile industry to track vehicles and parts during manufacturing. Since then, QR codes have been used for various purposes in both B2B and B2C spaces ranging from loyalty programs, video games, product tracing, and restaurants.
How can a restaurant use a QR code?
Simple, restaurants can present a QR code near the front door or in the seating area allowing guests to view an online menu or even an ordering app. Potentially, customers can order AND pay for their meal without having to stand in line or use a cashier.
The Recent Rise in Popularity
The pandemic ushered in the necessity for a touchless way for customers to order while maintaining social distancing.
So much in fact that QR code downloads have soared 750% over the last 18 months, according to Bitly.
Benefits Of Using QR Codes
- Help Wary Customers Maintain Social Distancing – Surely we will move past the pandemic and resume a normal life. In the meantime, QR code menus allow restaurants to continue operating while following proper health guidelines. Many people are itching to return to their normal pre-covid experiences like dining in restaurants. However, they’re wary and still may choose to just cook at home. A QR code menu basically says, “Hey, I hear your concerns, here’s what we’re doing to welcome you back in a way that makes you feel safe.”
- Reduce Waste – Digital menus help restaurants save on ordering and replacing what can add up to thousands of menus throughout the year. Restaurants generate 1.5 billion pounds of paper waste per year – in receipts alone. Online ordering can cut down on both menus and receipts.
- Update Your Menu In Real Time – With the uncertainty of the shipping industry, you never know when you’ll have to 86 a dish because the produce or kitchen gadgets you need are stuck on a ship or truck 3,000 miles away. Now you don’t have to endlessly repeat that “XYZ” is unavailable. Simply update your menu in your app or website.
- Cost Savings – Restaurants run on the thinnest of margins and rely heavily on volume (more on that later) to pay the bills. Besides food and rent, your biggest expense is always going to be payroll. QR code menus allow fast serve restaurants to shift toward a cashier-less business model and casual dining establishments to utilize fewer waiters.
- Faster Service- Nowadays, people don’t value the “dining experience” like in days past. There are still plenty of establishments that cater to a customer that wants to be “wined and dined”. However, most consumers want a meal that’s quick, delicious, and affordable. QR codes make it a lot easier to deliver on the quick and affordable part. When customers get faster service, they’re much more likely to come back and will dine with you on a more frequent basis. Lastly, it almost goes without saying that the faster you can turn over tables, the more people you can serve throughout the day.
- Increase Repeat Sales – A QR code menu can not only bring in new customers but bring them back. Ever had to give up an email in order to connect to a public WiFi network? You don’t have to be as intrusive, but with QR codes you can give customers the option to hear from you again via email or text. Build more customer loyalty and brand awareness with QR code menus.
Best Ways To Display Your QR Codes
Where do you display a restaurant QR code menu?
Literally, anywhere that’ll meet your customer’s field of vision including laminated on your door, on tables, and near or on physical menus.
QR codes are great for marketing purposes as well outside of your restaurant. Place them on business cards, billboards, buses, etc.
The goal is to get eyeballs on your menu. I don’t know about you, but just reading the names of my favorite foods is enough to stoke my cravings and remind me of how hungry I am. More eyeballs on your menu equal more customers which equals more revenue for your restaurant.
If you ask me, it’s pretty much a no-brainer that you should implement QR code menus in your restaurant if you haven’t already. Nearly all chain restaurants have already done so and many of your local competitors have surely done the same.
This is not a trend you want to fall behind on. Nearly 100% of your customers have cell phones meaning this technology excludes nobody.
So, are you ready to experience the benefits of a QR code menu? Then the only question is, “how do you go about getting a QR code menu for your restaurant?”
Scalebloom is a leading provider of QR code menus for restaurants. Reach out today to discuss increasing your sales, keeping your customers safe, and doing your part to reduce waste.