As restaurants have adapted and adopted new technology in recent years, tactics that were once considered a short-term safety measure for the pandemic, are proving to have real staying power.
While plastic dividers and shields may come and go, and indoor dining has returned in many places, technology solutions that streamline operations and bring a better customer experience might be the future. One example is QR codes, which are changing the way customers order and pay at restaurants, bars, pubs and cafes.
QR code ordering is here to stay
QR codes are becoming increasingly popular as a means for dine-in ordering from a restaurant. Typically, when customers are seated at a table, or seat themselves, they sit down to find a QR code already placed on their table with some straightforward instructions on how to use it to place an order and pay.
By using their phone camera, customers can then pull up a menu and place their order directly. For restaurants, this streamlined way of ordering brings a number of benefits. Square has found that on average, businesses see a 35% increase in sales within the first 30 days after implementing Self-Serve Ordering with QR codes.
An increase in orders isn’t the only benefit for Self-Serve Ordering. QR codes give customers more control and independence that has proven to be a positive for most. Self-Serve ordering is available on all Square Online plans – including the free plan – so by setting it up, you also benefit from other features like pickup, delivery and pre-ordering too.
A helping hand when you’re short-staffed
Labour shortages continue to cause headaches for many Australian businesses, none more so than those in the hospitality sector. Now, with the power of placing an order in the hands of the customer, your staff can focus on the most pressing tasks.
During rush times, your front-of-house team has more time to manage diner experience and spend less time focused on the more transactional aspects of taking orders and payments. This might also lead to a reduced labour cost percentage – just from the implementation of QR code ordering
We’ve all experienced that moment of feeling inexplicably flustered when a waiter walks up to your table and asks what you would like to order. You might be deciding between two dishes, or even want both, but for whatever reason you order something you don’t even want. Other times you might decide halfway through your meal that you wanted to order something extra, but didn’t want to go through the hassle of flagging down the waiter or waiting for them to come by and check on you.
With digital menus and Self Serve Ordering, situations like ordering anxiety can easily be remedied for your customers, and that might even mean that customers who held back on ordering are feeling more confident to order what they want, and more.
Another contributing factor to restaurants seeing higher sales after implementing QR codes is that with immediate access to the menu and the bill, customers are ordering and paying faster so you can turn your tables over more often. This allows restaurants to serve more customers per day, and staff to collect tips from more groups of diners.
More ordering insights for customer retention
QR codes enable more freedom, and in turn, you might notice customer ordering behaviour changing slightly. Customers feel more comfortable exploring your menu, helping you get a more genuine understanding of what your customers are looking for.
Using a digital solution for your ordering also allows you to collect more valuable information that helps to build strong customer relationships and drive loyalty. With the email addresses that you can collect (with permission) through customers placing self-serve orders, you could potentially alert those same customers about upcoming events through marketing emails, an extremely effective business growth tactic.
A better customer experience
For concerns about customers getting enough attention and receiving the right orders, with digital ordering solutions that are integrated with your POS and kitchen management system, restaurants have been able to become even more efficient and provide a better experience for guests.
Overall, restaurants have seen overwhelmingly positive results by providing more ordering channels like QR codes, with customers also enjoying having more options for how to order and pay.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. For specific advice applicable to your business, please contact a professional.