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How Do You Scan Restaurant Menus?

Restaurant owners are always on the lookout for new ideas to improve their operations and boost their bottom line. If you’ve recently popped into your favorite sandwich shop for a quick bite, visited a brewery for a refreshing local ale, or enjoyed a sit-down dinner with friends, you may have noticed a growing trend—a QR code menu. 

Over the past year, QR code menus and contactless ordering has taken the hospitality industry by storm. Not only have QR code menus provided increased safety for both businesses and their guests, but they’ve also allowed restaurant owners like yourself the opportunity to thrive after a year of uncertainty.  

Curious to find out more about how QR code menus work? Keep reading to understand the innovative technology behind QR code menus and how implementing them into your business can significantly improve your operations.

How QR Codes Work

QR codes are uniquely patterned barcodes that store data such as the URL of an online restaurant menu. Because most mobile devices can read QR codes quickly, they’re ideal for use in fast-paced restaurant environments where servers are often juggling several parties of guests at the same time. 

How to Scan a QR Code Restaurant Menu

Upon being seated at a restaurant with QR code menus, customers need only follow three simple steps to place their orders. 

  1. Locate the QR code – Depending on the establishment, QR codes will be located at every table or in another visible location, such as the hostess station or bar. 
  2. Scan the QR code – Guests can use the built-in camera application on their mobile device to scan a QR code. Once the device has successfully read the code, a link to the digital menu will appear on the device’s screen, and voila! Customers can click the link to reach the restaurant menu. 
  3. Order to their heart’s desire – Once guests have the online menu displayed on their devices, they can peruse any food and drink menu item, and even place their orders directly through their mobile devices. 

The Benefits of QR Code Menus

From guest to server to operator, the use of QR code menus benefits all parties involved. In addition to being fast and easy to use, QR code menus can help servers cut down on the more tedious aspects of their jobs, such as taking guest orders, tallying bills, and charging cards (particularly if they have to split charges between several different cards). 

This allows servers to focus more time and effort on providing guests with quality service and a memorable dining experience. Implementing QR code menus and other contactless ordering practices can lead to: 

  • Increased guest spending – When placing an order can be done with the click of a button, guests are more likely to treat themselves to an extra cocktail or splurge on that dessert they’ve been eyeing. 
  • Greater volume of transactions – Increased operational efficiency allows for quicker guest turnover. For the restaurant, this means a higher volume of transactions and greater profits. 
  • Fewer errors – A simplified ordering process that involves fewer steps allows less room for error, such as a server misunderstanding an order or forgetting to include a special request. 
  • Shorter wait times – When guests don’t have to stand in line or flag down their server to place an order, ask for a refill, or request the check, they aren’t left waiting around, which creates a better guest experience. 

Through their streamlined approach to guest service, QR code menus provide servers the opportunity to foster positive relationships with their guests and go above and beyond to provide excellent service. In turn, guests are provided an unforgettable dining experience they’re likely to share with their friends, family, and coworkers, increasing your restaurant’s potential clientele. 

Over the past year, servers, guests, and restaurateurs have seen another vital benefit of QR code menu technology—increased safety. 

Can QR Codes Break?

Unfortunately, yes. Usually, QR codes are created through a QR code generator. Within these generators, business owners can customize their data to direct customers to specific online pages and designs. 

A typo within the bar code can essentially render the barcode useless. Before printing out 50 tableside barcodes, test the QR codes on multiple devices and apps to ensure they’re working properly. If your code is not working on customer phones, there are a variety of troubleshooting options you can try:

  • Increase the color contrast of your codes to make them stand out
  • Ensure that the codes are not blurry or fuzzy from spilled drinks
  • Make sure the codes are large enough to be readable
  • Don’t pack your QR code with too much content

When the interface is easy to navigate and your staff is well trained it improves the dining experience for everyone.

The good news is that most QR codes are secure and private and in no danger of leaking customer information, such as banking accounts, credit card numbers, or emails. 

Protecting Health and Safety

The hospitality industry had a vital need for innovation—a way people could continue to support their favorite establishments, but also stay safe. According to an August 2020 Modern Restaurant Management survey: 

“Forty percent of those surveyed in the US and 39 percent in the UK said they would feel safer if they could view the online menu from their mobile device, while 35 percent in the US versus 31 percent in the UK would like to be able to pay in the same manner.”

Contactless QR code menus fulfill this desire. By limiting face-to-face interaction and minimizing the need for shared surfaces, such as a paper menu, QR codes:

  • Protect guests and servers from potential exposure 
  • Increase the safety of the guest dining experience 
  • Provide a safer work environment for servers
  • Decrease the likelihood of the establishment being short-staffed due to sick workers

The Future of the Hospitality Industry

This past year has left many business owners wondering what the future of hospitality will look like—which changes will remain, and which will fade away? 

According to Mike Whatley, the National Restaurant Foundation’s Vice President of State Affairs: “‘Many restaurateurs have told me they’ll probably eliminate paper menus; they’re costly to print.” In place of the paper menu…Whatley says, “Guests increased their familiarity and ability to use a digital menu and QR codes. I think you’ll see more of that technology going forward.’”  After a year of uncertainty and constant change, one thing seems sure—QR code menus are here to stay.

Improve Your Operations and Grow Your Revenue with GoTab

QR code menus are not a safety-specific alteration to hospitality—they’re an exciting innovation that allows establishments to improve their services and maximize profits. That’s why restaurateur-created company GoTab has made it their mission to provide fellow restaurateurs with the most cost-effective cloud-based and QR-driven system on the market. 

With GoTab, your guests can access menus, order items through a digital check, and pay their bills at their leisure by scanning QR codes with their mobile devices. And you can experience more streamlined service, increased profits, and satisfied guests. 

Improve your operations, and put hospitality first, with GoTab. 


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