As restaurants have adapted and adopted new technology in recent years, tactics that were once used as a means to accommodate safety and customer needs during the pandemic are proving to have real staying power.
While plastic dividers may be gone 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 have become a leader in the way customers order and pay at restaurants.
QR code solutions for any business
Learn more about Square’s QR code-powered ordering and payment solutions.
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.
For the Harvest Restaurant in Whitby near Toronto, owner Jennifer said, “With 95% adoption of our QR Menu, our service levels improved dramatically,” adding that, even with only two waitstaff on duty, “we could manage over 50 tables.”
Square also 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 get tonnes of other features like pickup, delivery, and pre-ordering too. It’s a win-win for everybody,” said David Rusenko, Head of eCommerce at Square.
Lower staffing costs
With the power of placing an order in the hands of the customer, your staff can focus on other tasks. During rush times, your restaurant staff has more time to manage and maintain guest experience and food quality when they aren’t focused on the more transactional aspects of taking orders and payments.
This can also be an especially helpful solution if you’re struggling to find enough staff.
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 items or even want both, but for whatever reason, you order an item you might not even want. Other times, you might decide halfway through your meal that you wanted to order something additional but don’t want to go through the hassle of flagging down your 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 they might even mean that customers who hold 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 parties.
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.
A better customer experience
For concerns about customers getting enough attention and receiving the right orders, digital ordering solutions that are integrated with your POS and kitchen management system allow restaurants to become even more efficient and provide a better experience for guests.
“Since we’ve introduced QR table ordering, we’ve seen an increase in our 5-star reviews,” said Jennifer from the Harvest Restaurant. Overall, restaurants have seen overwhelmingly positive results by providing more ordering channels like QR codes, and their customers are happy with the technology, too.