The new era of restaurants is here — with digital menus and contactless guest experiences. QR codes are leading the post-pandemic innovation in restaurants.
The restaurant sector is one of the leading users of QR codes.
QR code menus have emerged as a prominent trend in the restaurant industry, as they enable restaurants to offer a touchless experience to guests. Apart from digital menus, restaurants can leverage QR codes for marketing, collecting feedback, collecting customer data, and more.
If you want to implement QR codes in your restaurant business, this ultimate guide is the one-stop solution for you. Let’s delve in.
Table of Contents
- Pandemic, restaurants, and QR codes
- What is a QR code menu?
- Steps to create a QR code menu?
- Why should restaurants use a QR code menu?
- Best practices for using QR code menus
- Other applications of QR codes for restaurants
- Create and manage QR codes with QRCodeChimp
- Summing it up
Pandemic, restaurants, and QR codes
COVID-19 crippled the restaurant sector, especially in the early days of the pandemic. Restaurants were one of the first businesses to shut down, resulting in massive losses for small restaurants. Over 110,000 restaurants closed in 2020 in the US alone, causing a cumulative revenue loss of over $600 billion.
Though most restaurants reopened after a while, it wasn’t business as usual. People wanted to avoid human contact.
Since restaurants are often crowded, the footfall in restaurants plummeted. At the same time, online food delivery was spiking dramatically. As a result, in-house dining in restaurants decreased massively in 2020 compared to 2019, as shown in the image below.
Restaurants needed to discover a way to bring people back to restaurant dining while addressing all the safety and hygiene concerns. The biggest concern amid the pandemic was human contact. Restaurants had to find a way to offer a touchless experience to their guests.
Here’s where QR codes came into the picture. Restaurants replaced physical menu cards with QR code menus — a QR code for restaurants that redirects users to a digital menu. Instead of touching the menu and other surfaces, guests could scan the QR code to access the menu and order food.
Restaurants also realized other applications QR codes, such as marketing, booking reservations, location sharing, customer engagement, and more.
In no time, QR codes became a major trend in the restaurant industry. Presently, restaurants worldwide use QR codes to improve customer experience and business growth.
Though the pandemic has (almost) vanished, QR codes in restaurants offer benefits beyond a contactless experience. They help restaurants provide a remarkable dining experience and enhance staff efficiency. Hence, QR codes in restaurants are here to stay for years to come.
What is a QR code menu?
A QR code menu is a QR code that redirects people to a digital menu page. Upon scanning the QR code, guests reach a display page containing the restaurant’s menu. They can check the available items and prices on their phones.
QR code menus are one of the most prominent trends in the restaurant industry. A report published by The Food Institute found that 49% of the surveyed individuals have used a QR code menu at a restaurant. This figure increased to 68% for Gen Z and 78% for millennials.
Steps to create a QR code menu
Creating a QR code menu involves two steps: creating a digital menu page and creating a QR code for the digital menu. QRCodeChimp helps you do both in a few easy steps.
Here’s how to create a QR code menu with QRCodeChimp.
Visit qrcodechimp.com. Go to Solutions and select Menu QR Code.
Design and customize your menu display page using colors and a background image.
Add menu images and other multimedia as per your needs.
Fill in the Basic Information fields.
Decorate the menu QR code using shapes, colors, stickers, and other customization options.
Save your menu QR code and print it.
That’s it! You’re all set to share QR code menus with your guests.
Why should restaurants use a QR code menu?
A QR code menu is an essential upgrade for restaurants from a safety and technology perspective. It can create substantial value for your restaurant by elevating the consumer experience and helping you get repeat customers.
Here are the key benefits of QR code menus for restaurants.
Offer a contactless experience
QR code menus offer a contactless experience to your guests. With a menu QR code in place, restaurant guests no longer need to touch physical menus that have already been shared between thousands of guests before. All they need to do is pull out their phone, scan the QR code, and order their favorite food.
Reduce printing costs
The average cost of printing a trifold menu, including the designing and covering costs, could go over $100 per menu. On the other hand, the printing cost of a QR code menu is negligible. You just have to print the QR code and put it on the guest table. Hence, QR code menus can help you reduce printing costs, which is essential because menu cost inflation is rising rapidly.
Update menu items without reprinting
It’s common for restaurants to frequently update their menus by adding/removing items, changing prices, etc. However, updating menus can be costly. You have to reprint the menu every time you update it. This could increase menu printing costs and hurt your profits.
QR code menus solve this hurdle. Menu QR codes (and other dynamic QR codes) offer real-time editing capabilities, so you can edit the menu items without reprinting the QR code. Hence, you can add or remove items, change their prices, etc., while using the same menu QR code.
Additionally, QR code menus come in handy when certain dishes aren’t available. You can instantly cross out the unavailable dishes in the digital menu. As a result, guests will know about the unavailable items in advance, resulting in an improved guest experience.
Collect useful customer data
QR code menus also help you collect valuable customer data and know your guests better. You can know the foods they order and their preferred time of visiting the restaurant. You can use this information to send personalized messages and emails to your guests and build meaningful relationships with them.
Additionally, you can view the locations of the scans and the devices used. This data can be valuable if you have multiple restaurants.
Promote your website and app
QR code menus can be excellent marketing tools as well. You can provide links to your website or mobile applications on the menu page. Interested users can easily visit your website or download your app without manually searching for it. It’s free and effective marketing.
Enhance customer experience
QR code menus improve the guest experience in many ways. They provide a touchless experience, which makes the customers feel safe. Additionally, guests can instantly access the menu on their phones, check available items, and order food. Therefore, QR code menus go a long way in making the dining experience more pleasant for your guests.
Best practices for using QR code menus
Follow these best practices to achieve the best outcomes from your QR code menus:
Decorate your menu QR code
Many restaurants make the mistake of boring, black-and-white QR codes. Add appeal to your QR code with QR shapes, colors, stickers, logos, and other customization elements.
Pro Tip: QRCodeChimp offers 60+ QR shapes to help you create a QR code as per your unique requirements.
Create a mobile-friendly menu page
Encouraging people to scan your menu QR code and reach the menu page isn’t enough. It’s crucial to give them an awesome experience on the menu page. Here are two things you can do to make your digital menu user-friendly:
- Create a mobile-friendly menu page that’s easy to load, scroll, and navigate on a mobile device.
- Design your digital menu to align it with your brand and increase engagement.
Make your menu QR code easy to scan
Guests should be able to scan your menu QR code in a single attempt. Print QR codes of at least 1 x 1 inch so guests can easily scan them. Also, if you create colored QR codes, use contrasting colors for seamless scannability.
Pro tip: Always test your QR code by scanning it on multiple devices.
Regularly update your menu
Keep updating your menu content, including the items and prices. More importantly, highlight the items that aren’t available. The biggest turnoff for guests is to spend minutes deciding what to order only to find out it isn’t available. Make your guests’ lives easier by letting them know about the unavailable items in advance.
Other applications of QR code for restaurants
Apart from contactless menus, restaurants can use QR codes for marketing, collecting feedback, engaging customers, and more. Let’s look at some other applications of QR codes for restaurants.
Allow guests to book reservations
You can use QR codes to allow people to book reservations in advance. Print a QR code on your print ads, billboards, restaurant exterior, etc., to redirect people to your reservation page. People can scan the QR code and book a reservation in a few easy steps.
Share your location, operating hours, and other information
Restaurant owners can create Business QR codes to share important information about their restaurants, such as the address, contact details, and operating hours. Upon scanning the QR code, users will reach a business profile display page containing details about your restaurant.
You can put your Business QR code on newspaper ads, TV ads, billboards, etc.
Besides, you can use a location QR code to share your restaurant’s map location. The QR code will redirect users to the Google Maps app, with the destination location already entered. All they need to do is follow the directions.
Collect reviews and feedback
Reviews are critical for the success and growth of your restaurant. 92% of consumers read restaurant reviews, and 33% would never eat at a restaurant with less than a 4-star rating. However, getting people to rate your restaurant can be challenging.
You can use a feedback QR code for restaurants to get more customer reviews. A feedback QR code brings people to a feedback form, and they can fill out the form to submit their feedback. Put up a feedback QR code at the billing counter or guest table to allow guests to share feedback in a hassle-free way.
Bring people to your website
QR codes can help you bring in-store guests to your website. Create a URL QR code for your website and put it on tables, bills, and across the restaurant. Guests can scan the QR code to visit your website and engage with your business online. It’s an effective way to build meaningful relationships with your consumers and encourage repeat visits.
Promote your social media handles
Social media marketing has become a priority for restaurants. For instance, McDonald’s has 92.5 million social media followers, Starbucks has 66.8 million, and KFC and Pizza Hut have 60.8 million and 35.6 million followers, respectively. Moreover, the combined social media followers of the top ten fast-food chains are over 372 million — more than the US population.
You can use a social media QR code to promote your social media profiles. The QR code sends users to a display page containing links to all your social media profiles. It acts as a single source for all your social media handles.
Increase app downloads
Having a mobile app is a major trend in the restaurant space. Popular restaurants, especially fast-food chains like Starbucks, McDonald’s, Domino’s, Pizza Hut, and Burger King, have mobile apps. Restaurants use mobile apps to accept direct orders, collect first-party data, and build meaningful relationships with their consumers.
If you have an app, you can use an App Download QR code to promote it and increase downloads. Upon scanning the QR code, users will reach a display page containing download links to the Android and iOS versions. They can select their OS and download the app.
Create and manage QR codes with QRCodeChimp
QRCodeChimp is a QR code management platform that helps restaurants run profitable QR code campaigns. It’s a comprehensive QR code solution that allows you to create unique QR codes, view their analytics, and align them with your marketing efforts.
QRCodeChimp offers top-notch QR code management features to efficiently manage multiple QR code campaigns. Whether you need a beginner-friendly QR code solution for small restaurants or an enterprise-grade QR code platform for large restaurant chains, QRCodeChimp has got you covered.
Here’s why QRCodeChimp is the preferred QR code platform for restaurants worldwide:
- Beginner-friendly and easy to use
- 35+ QR code types, including Menu, App Download, Digital Business Card, etc.
- Best-in-class customization features, including 60+ QR code shapes, stickers with CTAs, colors, etc.
- Effortless branding with logos, Image to QR codes, and white labeling
- Top-notch QR code management with folders and subaccounts
- Bulk uploading for creating multiple QR codes at once
- Robust analytics dashboard to view time-wise, location-wise, and device-wise data
QRCodeChimp has a generous free plan that offers 10 dynamic QR codes and 1,000 scans per month. Create a free account to get started and upgrade your plan to expand your limits and unlock professional features. Click here for pricing information.
Summing it up
The restaurant sector is evolving rapidly, with new trends emerging every year. QR codes are beyond a trend for restaurants — they’re an essential technology upgrade that helps restaurants provide better customer experiences.
QR code menus are vital for all restaurants, regardless of their type and size. They enable you to offer a contactless dining experience while making the ordering process fast and efficient.
Additionally, you can use QR codes to accept online reservations, increase website traffic, collect feedback, promote your social media profiles, and more.
If you want to create a QR code for restaurants, QRCodeChimp is perfect for you. Sign up for QRCodeChimp to create and manage QR code menus and 35+ other types of QR codes.