QR code menu best practices

QR code menus are a powerful tool in modern hospitality. Today we'll discuss their benefits and some best practices for implementing them in your own venue.


QR code menu best practices

QR codes are having their moment in the sun, a true renaissance if you will. QR codes are nothing new though; they've been around for almost thirty years. Back in 2012 you could find them everywhere, thanks in part to the efforts of major corporations like Apple. QR code usage stagnated, however, as businesses struggled to find appropriate use cases for the relatively new technology. Fast forward to 2022 when the QR code is thriving, especially in the hospitality industry

In fact, industries and individual companies the world over have rediscovered the QR code and its efficacy. But no industry has benefited more so than the restaurant and food service industry. The COVID-19 pandemic brought with it quarantines, social distancing measures, and a renewed focus on good hygiene practices. The perfect conditions for contactless QR menus to thrive. 

Now, with COVID restrictions easing for many countries, it seems that QR code menus have gained a permanent foothold. Today we're going to take a look at the benefits of implementing QR code menus into your restaurant's operations, as well as some best practices for setting up your own digital menu. 

The Benefits of QR Code Menu Implementation

Just how prevalent are QR code menus? According to Statista, a staggering 45% of worldwide consumers have used scannable QR codes at some point.

This level of market utilization alone speaks to the power of the medium, but there is a huge range of additional benefits that go along with contactless menu integration. Not sold yet? Read on. 

QR Codes Make Ordering Easier

Imagine a world where the customer is in charge of their own experience. That's the primary advantage inherent to QR code usage; it puts the consumer in the driver's seat.

In the food service industry, we talk a lot about "the customer experience." QR code menus serve to enhance the customer experience in every way through their ease of use. A digital menu, especially one that's linked to your restaurant's point of sale functions, lets the customer control the pace of the meal.

They choose when to order and when to pay without having to rely on the waitstaff's availability. In other words, contactless ordering eliminates many of the visit's most time-consuming aspects while bolstering the overall customer experience. 

Contactless Menus Reduce Customer Queries 

There's only so much information that you can fit onto a traditional menu. Let's use a real-world example. If you have a menu with 100 line items (including drinks, appetizers, and desserts) how many of those items will have an in-depth description included? How many will have an accompanying picture?

Now consider the amount of time that your waitstaff spends fielding questions from your patrons, including questions about ingredients, serving size, and overall preparation. Industry veterans know that face-to-face ordering is anything but quick and systematic.

QR code menus help reduce the overall burden on your waitstaff.  Digital menus are highly adaptable to your purpose. They allow you to provide in-depth information regarding each entree. 

QR Code Menus Are Accompanied by High-Quality Visuals 

Speaking of customer education, digital menus via QR code are highly customizable. The medium allows you to easily include images of every menu item if you choose. Customers who are curious about the composition of a particular dish are able to see a real-world example prior to ordering.  

High-quality visual menus aren't just about the customer experience though; they are also a powerful cost-saving tool for your establishment. Hardcopy menus are costly to print. Should you change your menu offerings, reprints are equally expensive.

With a digital menu, however, you can change menu entries —and their accompanying pictures— quickly, easily, and at will. QR code menus are great in a pinch too. If you are out of a particular item, you can easily remove it from the menu on a temporary basis. If you have too much of an ingredient, you can create a new special in minutes. 

They Allow Waitstaff to Make More Meaningful Connection with Customers

In-house contactless menus don't necessarily mean zero contact with the waitstaff. Pandemic or not, social interactions are a central part of the overall dining experience. In other words, people come to restaurants to be around other people. That includes interactions with your waitstaff. 

Contactless menus help to offload the more mundane aspects of service from your waitstaff. With that extra time, your waitstaff can better engage your clientele, building long-term trust and loyalt which means repeat business.  

Related: The Benefits of Setting Up QR Code Menus 

QR Code Menu Best Practices 

As you can see from the aforementioned benefits, there's no better way to future-proof your establishment than by implementing contactless ordering via QR code menus. Menu digitization helps you improve the customer experience and drive business through your door, all while streamlining your in-house operations. The result? A more efficient and profitable business. Now let's turn our attention towards QR code menu best practices

When searching for a partner to help your restaurant implement contactless ordering and digital menus, there are a number of key factors that you should consider. While the following subheads are far from exhaustive, they do represent a thorough cross-section of the most important aspects. 

Ensure Ease of Use for Your Clientele 

QR code menus are meant to simplify the restaurant experience for your customers. A quick scan is all that it takes to access a rich and interactive visual menu. There's one rule of thumb that supersedes all others: make sure that your QR code menu is easy to use, contributing to your establishment's overall customer experience. Ease of use, in turn, means increased sales and repeat business.  

Use Web-Based Menus That Do Not Require Downloads

We've come a long way since the early days of the digital menu. When forward-thinking restaurants first began putting their menus online, they were often nothing more than a .PDF snapshot of the physical menu. Picture quality was often grainy and dark, and accessing the menu required you to download an additional file to your computer or mobile device. In today's digital landscape, that can be a red flag in terms of security. 

To improve the customer experience —and facilitate patron buy-in— make sure that any QR code you use links directly to a web-based resource rather than an additional download. 

Make Your URL Mobile Friendly 

It is estimated that there are currently more than 6 billion individual smartphone users in the world. The impact that mobile devices have had on internet consumption cannot be understated. In fact, more than 55% of all internet traffic occurs via mobile devices. That's why it is so important that you make the URL where your digital menu lives as mobile-friendly as possible. 

What does mobile-friendly mean? That it displays cleanly and intelligibly on a cell phone screen as well as a PC monitor, and that it features quick load times. A clunky menu that's not optimized for mobile devices is a surefire way to encourage customer churn.    

Entice Customers with a Clear Benefit for Use

This may be a slightly more intangible concept, but any time your customer base is presented with new technology they will ask themselves one key question before taking the plunge: what's in it for me?

Presenting customers with a clear benefit is a two-part process. On the front end, you've got to design and implement your QR code so that it attracts the customer. That means making it easy to scan yet interesting by incorporating it into your existing branding. On the back end, that means showing the customer that proof of the pudding is in the tasting. Make sure that your QR code delivers actionable content directly to their screen. 

Use Updatable, Dynamic QR Codes

This goes without saying, but in order for your QR code menus to work properly, they have to be dynamic and changeable. A rookie mistake is linking your QR barcode to a static URL that doesn't change in response to the needs of your business. 

Give Customers a Wide Range of Functionality 

In order to make your QR codes truly impactful you need to incorporate four critical functions into your contactless ordering system: 

  • An image-rich menu
  • Ordering and delivery capabilities
  • Integration with your point-of-sale system (POS)
  • Integration with your customer relationship management (CRM) software

We've already talked about dynamic, image-based menus ad infinitum. You've also got to ensure that customers can easily place orders and select delivery options right from the digital menu. That means making your QR code menu play nice with your POS system.

On the back end, make sure to link that QR code directly to your CRM so that you can capture the treasure trove of data that your customers provide with every scan. From there, you can drive additional business through your doorway by offering coupons and loyalty programs, and developing deeper relationships with your customers.  

Related: How to Keep Your Customers Coming Back to Your Restaurant 

Leveraging the Power of QR Menus 

QR codes have finally hit their stride thanks to the restaurant industry. Spurred on by the necessity of COVID-19, contactless ordering has become an integral part of the hospitality industry's future. QR code menus serve to enhance the customer experience while driving business through your door —if you implement them correctly. 

Are you looking to implement QR codes into your establishment? Mr Yum can help. Contact us today to begin your digital transformation.

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