Technology marches steadily onward changing the way that the world does business. The restaurant/hospitality industry is no exception. Everyone from fine dining to food trucks, hotels to stadium concession stands are subject to the same tech-based trends as other business sectors are. And while change is never an easy prospect no matter your profession, certain technological advances can have a pronounced impact on your operations and your bottom line.
If you’re looking for an easy-to-use, yet immensely impactful tool, the QR code is a great solution. But you may be asking the question, "How do I create a QR code for a menu?"
According to Forbes, Americans are embracing widespread use of the QR code. Around the turn of the decade QR adoption in general increased by a staggering 96%. Stats like that position the QR code as the perfect delivery method for restaurants and venues that are looking to dramatically improve their customer experience.
With that in mind, let's take a look at how QR codes can be implemented in the restaurant/hospitality setting, and the impact that they can have on your overall business.
How to Create a QR Code for a Menu in the Post-Pandemic World
QR codes have been around for years, but businesses are just now realizing the full range of their utility. Their origin can be traced back to 1994, but they were introduced for public use around 2010 as smartphone use increased. The question becomes, "Why now? What's driving QR code adoption at this particular point in history?" In short: COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic has acted as a social and technological accelerant across multiple industries, restaurants and hospitality included. When waves of lockdowns, social distancing, and quarantines hit countries worldwide, in-person businesses had to find a way to adapt or risk being swallowed whole.
As a result, delivery services gained a huge market share and online ordering methods took off. The world of restauranteering, which used to be predicated on in-person social interactions, became deeply entrenched in the digital world. "Eating out" became a remote experience initiated from a laptop, tablet, or mobile phone. While there were inevitably growing pains, QR codes have eased the transition greatly, which brings us to our central question: How do I create a QR code for a menu?
The Ease of Setting Up QR Codes for a Menu
What is a QR code exactly? A QR code is just an alternative type of barcode. Unlike traditional barcodes, a QR code has a unique and easily identifiable shape that packs in a lot of information. These pixelated squares can store thousands of characters, including full menu information with changeable pictures and POS integrations, making them a more robust tool than their predecessors.
Unlike a traditional barcode, QR codes don't require specialized equipment to access. That's a huge part of their allure. All you need is a smartphone. To read the QR code, all a customer has to do is use the phone's camera (or separate app in some cases).
QR codes pack a lot of power under the hood; one would expect implementing your own QR codes would be difficult, requiring tech-specific knowledge to create. In reality, however, the question "How do I create a QR code for a menu?" has a definitive answer: easily.
Creating a QR code menu yourself does require specific tools and some technological acumen though. While it's not in-depth computer programming, the process does have a slight learning curve. There are many services, however, that can handle the tech-heavy aspects for you at a nominal cost. As a restaurant owner, the only piece of the puzzle you should have to worry about is the content contained in the QR code itself.
The first step involves figuring out exactly what information the QR code should contain. Do you want just your food menu to be included, or should you add on your drink menu as well? From there, it is a matter of taking high-quality images of your cuisine and coordinating with your code creation partner.
How do I create a QR code for a menu? The same way you create your hardcopy menu: in a way that attracts the most customers. With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the advantages that QR codes bring to the table.
The Advantages of Using QR Code Menus
When QR codes first debuted, they were considered somewhat of a novelty. That's because businesses hadn't unlocked their full potential yet. Now, they are at the forefront of the latest tech trends shaping the future of the hospitality industry. Now that tech-savvy business owners have had a chance to unlock their full range of utility, QR codes have become an industry staple. Let's take a look at why QR code menus are so powerful.
They are easy to change on the fly
QR code menus are highly versatile and flexible, particularly if your menu changes. Is your establishment the type of venue that offers its customers an ever-evolving array of gourmet cuisine or seasonal fare? Do you sometimes run out of a menu item or a bottle of wine and wish your waitstaff didn’t have to disappoint customers who order those items? If you answered "yes" to either then QR code menus are for you.
QR codes are easily adaptable and easy to update, even on the fly as when menu items sell out. It takes only a minimal amount of effort to change the information contained within a QR code so your guests see exactly what’s available at that moment.
They are pandemic-approved
We live in an increasingly contactless world, even as the pandemic seems to be slowing. People have embraced remote methods for just about every aspect of their daily lives, including ordering food. QR code menus are the perfect form of contactless ordering, helping you to ensure patron safety in the world of post-pandemic life.
They are cost-efficient
We touched on it briefly before, but when you account for printing costs, not to mention the time spent designing a hardcopy menu, paper menus are eating into your profits. QR code menus are pound-for-pound the more cost-efficient way of doing business. You'll save money and man-hours by using QR-based menus instead.
They reduce your company's ecological footprint
Let's face it; the environment is on everyone's mind. There's been a lot of talk recently about businesses and their ecological footprint. QR code menus are the ideal solution. Businesses that embrace digital ordering methods severely reduce the paper that they consume, leading to a more environmentally friendly industry.
They help fill the staffing gap
For many restaurants and venues, maintaining staff has always been a challenge. Since the pandemic, it’s become a critical threat to operations. Business Insider recently published an article with a frightening headline: “Restaurants still can’t find enough employees and it’s probably not getting better anytime soon.” And it reports that 70% of restaurants say they don’t have enough employees to support customer demand.
QR codes aren’t the cure-all, but they do help. If your platform supports an order and pay feature, you don’t need as many waitstaff to facilitate those processes. Customers can do everything themselves except getting the food to their table, which can be achieved with minimal staff. Even then, you may have the capability to have them come to the counter to pick up their food if staffing is a major issue. That may not be ideal, but at least you’re able to provide the faster service that customers want.
Types of QR Codes
When wrestling with the question "How do I create a QR code for a menu," you should begin by asking yourself what you want the QR code to do. It should be noted that the technology is able to do so much more than just menu listings with attached images. QR code menus can also:
- Allow customers to order and pay from their mobile phone
- Allow customers to order and pay at a restaurant
- Allow customers to manage or split their tab
- Schedule pickup or delivery options
QR codes can be configured in any number of ways to carry out advanced functions. They even have utility for customers who choose to dine in, allowing them to automatically split tabs, order and pay on-site for a convenient and fast dining experience.
For those operating in a large-scale venue such as a stadium or festival, QR codes allow customers to bundle orders from different sub-locations, streamlining the checkout and pickup process from participating vendors.
Advanced Benefits of QR Code Integration
QR code menus provide customers with a full suite of menu and ordering options, including advanced benefits in the form of their integrations.
Depending on the platform you choose, QR code menus can be configured to communicate with your POS system, payment providers and CRMs.
The platform can capture valuable customer information and give you unprecedented insights into your business and your customers. Uunlike paper menus, QR codes linked with other business systems allows you to connect data to see your customer profiles so you have information on the best ways to upsell, create a better customer experience, and best ways to get in touch with them.
Creating a QR Code for a Menu: Final Thoughts
The world may be re-emerging after pandemic restrictions, but it's safe to say that things will never return 100% to the way they were before. The restaurant industry has changed, hurtling headlong towards a more tech-inclusive future. QR code menus are a simple way for restaurateurs, from the smallest food truck to the most upscale hotel, to revolutionize their operations.
QR code menus are a powerful tool that combines easily updated visual menus with a robust array of payment and delivery options, including split payments and multi-vendor ordering. Contact Mr Yum today to begin implementing QR codes into your venue.