How Menu QR Codes Became an Essential Tool For Every Restaurant And Bar The restaurant industry has completely taken advantage of this innovation and made menu QR codes an essential tool for their businesses

By Ritesh Roy

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The hospitality industry went through so many changes in the last couple of years. We've seen hotels, restaurants and bars go from simply adapting, struggling to keep their head above water while going through the changes and demands of the strict CDC guidelines.

But after a year of reopening, they were finally able to thrive with the help of new technologies.

One of these technologies are menu QR codes. What were simply considered a workaround during the height of the pandemic have evolved so fast. From their original one-dimensional PDF counterpart to a smart online menu that now allows for payments and even order-ahead options.

To put things in perspective, QR codes were already around since 1994. It was only during the pandemic that it blew up as the biggest lifesaving and daily contactless tool. Since then, it's evolved from simply spreading medical information, to a gateway to ordering and contactless transactions, and even creating innovative and viral ads.

The restaurant industry has completely taken advantage of this innovation and made menu QR codes an essential tool for their businesses.

Let's look back on how traditional menus were switched to smart menu QR codes and changed the course of the restaurant and bar industry.

Menu evolution: From traditional menu to smart menus

It comes as no surprise that some customers still prefer paper menus over digital ones. One of the reasons is that it allows them to be 'unplugged' from their smartphone devices.

On the other hand, more restaurant and bar owners see the importance of adding smart menus to their operations. These technologies allow them to cut down on overhead costs and stay resilient amid the rise and fall of inflation and labor shortages, among other factors.

As for customers, 58 per cent of adults polled in the National Restaurant Association's 2022 research believe they are more likely to use their phones to access a menu QR code. This only proves the efficiency of providing this option in restaurants and bars to cater to the growing customer demands.

The evolution of paper menus

Let's get this out of the way: QR Code menus are not here to replace traditional paperback menus.

In fact, they already coexist with physical menus and provide a more convenient way of ordering for the more on-the-go, tech-savvy customers.

Small to medium restaurants and bars can simply opt for a QR code menu to more conveniently get orders, queue tickets, and add, remove, or update items on their list.

They are no longer at the mercy of the ebb and flow of price changes and staff shortages. With a menu QR Code, businesses are able to stay on top of their operations and even track their order data to continue providing the best food and service.

The evolution of QR code menus

Early in the pandemic, restaurants and bars were grappling to adapt to the strict dine in and ordering rules.

This was the start of the PDF QR code menus. They were a much needed contactless option for businesses to continue providing their services and follow the constantly-changing CDC guidelines.

Post-pandemic, however, PDF file QR Code menus are being 'cancelled' as they are quite one-dimensional and still need to be zoomed in to actually see the entire selection clearly.

It didn't take long, however, for developers to come up with a truly innovative version of a QR Code menu that leads customers to the restaurant or bar's landing page. Instead of having to zoom in, it already shows high-quality photos and videos, categorized in food, drinks, and other pairings.

There are options to highlight offers at certain parts of the day, and even lead customers to a secure payment page for a more straightforward ordering and dining experience.

Indeed, menu QR codes have come a long way since the beta stage of offering PDF menus. Restaurants and bars are no longer reliant on extra staff and standalone physical menus. Depending on their budget, they can go for menu QR Codes altogether and create a more efficient and seamless restaurant and bar operations.

Interactive orders with smart QR code menus

The growing customer demands, looming inflation, tight labor market, and the fluctuation of goods have revolutionized restaurant and bar owners to use smart QR code menus.

These online menus offer an interactive ordering system inside a restaurant or a bar, which helps address labor shortages and maximize work productivity.

Smart QR code menus not only answer to the biggest restaurant problems—they also allow restaurants and bars to future-proof their businesses.

According to the CEO and founder of QRTIGER and restaurant QR code menu software MENU TIGER, Benjamin Claeys says, "A company's resiliency is increased by investing in self-pay technology and digital menu software. They are no longer dependent on employee availability and unforeseen price increases."

Smart menu QR codes have advanced features that enables business owners to cater to customers with mobile payments and reduce ordering mistakes. This saves operators a lot of time and money, when all of their efforts can be focused on the 'hospitality' side of their business.

Claeys further mentioned that ordering and paying at bars and restaurants are completely up to the discretion of the customer. Staff members are free to focus on more vital activities instead of only receiving orders, which maximizes their productivity.

The McKinsey Global Institute states that data-driven organizations are 23 times more likely to draw customers, six times more likely to keep those customers, and 19 times more likely to be profitable as a result.

Smart menu QR codes allow restaurant and bar owners to keep track of their customers' orders (from its order history to its preferences) and create a more strategic approach. This would help them track and use customer data to their advantage. This can be from seeing their bestselling items or pairs, and highlighting them on top of the menu selection.

Businesses can easily edit and update their online menus and even add high-quality photos all on their own.

It has been a long hard road for restaurants to grapple with the changes and finally find their place in incorporating technology in their operations. After all, it is by adding a digital dimension into their services that they're able to serve more customers and address their polarizing choices when it comes to order and payments.

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