If you’ve been out to eat or drink at your local café, restaurant, pub or bar in recent months, you’ll have noticed a few things are a little bit different these days. No doubt, if you manage a hospitality business you’re acutely aware of new safety standards and tools. The COVID-19 pandemic and the necessary safety precautions we’ve made to guard against it have quickly changed the way we interact at hospitality venues.
Though every state, territory and business has its unique way of handling the new normal, there are some common trends we’ve seen across Australia: from halting cash payments to requiring hand sanitisation and adequate table distancing. There is another major trend sweeping the hospitality sector right now, and it’s one that might be here to stay: QR code and self-serve ordering. If you’re like the many thousands of businesses adapting to this new way of taking orders, here are a few essential tips to help make it a success without sacrificing your customer experience.
Get set up with self-serve ordering for restaurants
Limit in-person contact, increase safety and improve order accuracy.
1. Set aside your printed menus and get started with Self-Serve Ordering QR codes
In the restaurant business, safety is now more important than ever. Shared touch points such as cutlery gathered on the table and shared condiments are examples of simple things to remove and minimise risk. The same goes for menus. Printed menus are no longer the easiest way to order from the table and they’re certainly not the safest. Enter QR codes and self-serve ordering.
With a quick tap of the camera app on their phones, your customers can now safely control their menu viewing, ordering and payment experience. Not only is it easy for them, it keeps your staff safer too and could even boost your kitchen and front-of-house productivity by streamlining the ordering process and reducing mistaken orders.
How self-serve ordering works with Square Online
What it does: Allows customers to order and pay by QR code at your venue. You’ll need your Square Online account set up and your website published to get started. From there it’s just a few quick steps to create and enable self-serve ordering with QR codes.
- Create or log into your online store.
- Update menu offerings, then generate and print QR code for signs, tables, or anywhere you want diners to place their order.
- Diners scan the QR code to bring up your menu. Then they can:
- Select items and modifiers
- Add special requests
- Place their order
- Pay directly from their device with their credit or debit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay.
- Orders are automatically sent to your POS or KDS.
- Your wait staff delivers food to diners using a ticket with guest name and table number.
2. Keep it simple and print out basic station cards
So what’s taking the place of your all-important menu now? For many sellers, it’s station cards. Generating and printing no-touch station cards that can be scanned at a distance is a smart and safe way to allow full table service. You get to select and name your ‘stations’ which shows your kitchen and waitstaff exactly which table or area of your venue the orders belong to.
Within your settings menu in the dashboard you have the option to print the station cards which is quick and simple. The print option generates a PDF file with one page for each station card – all ready for you to print in black and white or in colour. Your printed station cards will display your company name, the QR code and very simple instructions for your diners.
3. Alternatively, go custom with unique station card print designs
The option is also there if you prefer a custom design and look for your printed station cards. You’ll follow the exact same process but instead of hitting ‘Print’ on your station card option, you’ll instead select ‘Export’ to generate a zip file that can be used by a designer for customising and adding your unique branding to the cards.
Whichever option you choose, you’ll need to place each QR code station card at the corresponding table. You might want to laminate the cards display them on a wall or a table-top card holder.
4. Train your team to educate your guests
In hospitality, it isn’t enough to simply implement a new system and let diners work it out for themselves – it’s important to support your diners and make them feel welcome and informed. Remember, it’s not just your business that’s adapting to the new way of doing things, many individual customers are too. Make sure your efforts to make diners feel safe don’t result in making them feel distant and ignored too.
If self-serve ordering, QR codes and contact tracing is a relatively new process for your hospitality business, it’s a good idea to provide information to your guests before or when they enter your restaurant. Try sharing this information in multiple locations such as your website, social media accounts, booking confirmation emails, outdoor and indoor signage, and in the old fashioned face-to-face welcome from your front-of-house team. Your guests will appreciate the clarity and concern and you won’t have to answer the same basic questions over and over again.
With some smart planning and hospitality nous, your team can make sure that important new safety measures don’t dampen the dining experience at your venue.
5. Reward your regulars – from a distance
The self-serve ordering options you decide to use in your business provide a fantastic opportunity to build on your customer loyalty program. With diners ordering from their devices it’s easy to allow their purchases to count towards their loyalty points. With customisable loyalty rewards designed with your regulars in mind, you can expect to see healthy return bookings and visits – something all businesses need after a tumultuous 2020.
You can choose why and how your guests will earn loyalty points. You might want to attribute points to a minimum amount spent, a particular dish ordered or even simply for coming in and ordering anything. The self-serve ordering customer display on their phone provides a timely reminder of the points they’re earning by choosing to dine at your venue.
To sum up, keep these things in mind when perfecting your contactless processes in your hospitality business and you’ll be set for smooth and safe contactless ordering:
- Set yourself up with a simple and streamlined self-serve ordering tool that allows QR code ordering.
- Think about how and where you want to display your printed QR station cards.
- If you choose, get creative with customising your station cards to be on brand.
- Use your website, email confirmations and social media profiles as a tool to inform and educate your customers on contactless processes that keep them safe.
- Encourage your team to guide your guests through the new contactless ordering process with patience.
- Thank your best customers by using a loyalty system that ties in perfectly with self-serve ordering.
Ready to get started with safe self-serve ordering? Check out self-serve ordering for restaurants with Square and start taking contact-free orders – for free. There are no contracts and just a simple 2.2% processing rate per transaction.