Restaurant customers do everything from their phones. They may have discovered you from an Eater article, booked their reservation through OpenTable, or located you through Google Maps, and they’ll surely rate their experience on Yelp – whether positive or negative – once their meal ended.
It’s no shock that many restaurants are maintaining the tradition of QR code menus inherited from COVID long after more conservative CDC guidelines have eased. It has been reported that 35% of 18 to 25 year olds keep their phones by their side at every meal. Regardless of whether this is good dinnertime etiquette, the truth is that most people can pull out their smartphone to read your menu as easily as browsing a physical menu.
Here are five reasons why you should stick with QR code menus instead of removing those plastic menus from storage.
1. QR code menus are more hygienic
While COVID fears have certainly diminished since the pandemic began, a few things will always hold true – no one likes a sticky menu. You can have your staff wipe down the menus after your “all you can eat pancake breakfast”, or you can avoid the problem altogether by ditching the physical menu altogether.
A recent Mashed article reported that there could be up to 185,000 microbes per square centimeter thriving on a restaurant menu, 185 times more than you would find in a public restroom. A QR code menu can be the first step towards protecting your customers and staff from E. coli and S. aureus (staph) – both known to survive on plastic menus.
2. They are more profitable
Unless you have a great relationship with a local printer, you’ll need to factor menu costs into your bottom line. You can opt for a cheaper option like simple home-printed paper menus, but they may not be as professional or durable as professionally printed ones.
You can create a QR code menu for free, which is certainly rare in the restaurant world. The lower your marketing costs, the more money you can spend on essential things like high-quality ingredients, attractive décor, and of course fair compensation for your employees.
3. They are environmentally friendly
You can try recycling your old paper menus when adding new dishes to the mix, but no paper or plastic at all is really the best solution. Many restaurants add a paper menu to every takeout order, but try displaying a QR code near your checkout instead.
Here’s an even better idea: offer an incentive for people to take their camera and scan. If you offer an exclusive coupon to access the menu digitally, customers will forget about paper menus even faster.
4. They save your staff time
When the brunch rush is in full swing and your servers are struggling to keep up, a QR code menu can work wonders. If a QR code is already on the table when your guests are seated, you don’t have to worry about offering them new menus right away. Plus, a QR code in the waiting area makes it easy for your customers to view the menu ahead of time so you can free up tables faster.
Fast-casual restaurants that offer service for you are perfect candidates for the QR code menu. Customers can walk into your restaurant and quickly access your offerings without the need for assistance. Just keep the code on the table and forget about keeping your counter full of paper trifolds. It’s one less thing to worry about!
5. They are easier to update
Many restaurateurs have found themselves facepalmed after finding a typo or deciding to update prices shortly after printing a new set of menus. Once your menu is completely digital, you don’t have to worry about every little change you want to make.
If you share your menu with a QR code, you can easily update the web version of your menu as often as you want without costing you or disrupting your business. Plus, it’s much easier to keep your menu fresh and exciting when you can update your daily specials on the fly.
So how do you configure your code?
If you’re wondering how to create a QR code menu, there are several easy ways to get started.
Use a free QR code generator app
Whether you’re using Android or iPhone, do a quick search in the app store to find apps that create QR codes. There are plenty of free options that let you just enter the URL you want the code to go to, and they’ll generate the code instantly. You might have to pay around $2 if you’re using the code for business use as opposed to personal use, but it will definitely pay off.
Try an online form builder
If your restaurant offers online takeout, you can use an online form builder that can act as both an ordering system and a QR code generator. Some online form builders allow you to turn your menu into a QR code, making it easy for customers to fill out the order form and for you to track their order. This is especially useful for smaller restaurants that don’t have a big budget for fancy online ordering software.
Check Your Website Hosting Software
Some web hosting software may have a built-in QR code feature, and you may not even know it. Research the website or chat with the customer service team to find out if a unique QR code for your site is included in your website hosting package. This may be easier than subscribing to an additional service or paying for a brand new app.