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How to Offer Contactless Ordering at Your Restaurant

How to Offer Contactless Ordering

The COVID19 pandemic forced restaurants to adapt quickly to a new reality of contactless ordering and payment. With just their smartphones, customers can now access restaurant menus, place their orders, and pay with ease. 

Even as restaurants return to their normal capacity, customers and business owners alike won’t want to give up the efficiency of the contactless ordering process. Whether you’re starting from square one or looking to improve your current contactless ordering system, we’ve got you covered with five steps to contactless ordering success. If you are searching for contactless ordering tips and tricks, read on.

#1 Choose an Online Ordering System

When you transition to contactless ordering, you’ll need to select a contactless ordering system to handle your operations. It sounds like a daunting process, especially if you’ve already invested in expensive tech for your business, but don’t fret!

You need to find a comprehensive contactless ordering system which can update your tech stack without having to replace the point of sale systems your business relies on. This contactless solution should work on top of your existing point of sale to offer your customers and team simple, efficient contactless ordering.

Once you’ve selected an online ordering system that suits your restaurant’s budget and needs, you can begin building your contactless ordering experience.

#2 Create Your Custom QR Code

Contactless ordering systems rely on QR codes to usher your guests into their digital platform. 

QR codes are more advanced than the standard barcodes you see on products at the grocery store—they encode data so that your guests can instantaneously access your digital menu or website with their smartphone’s help.

All guests need to do is open their camera app and scan the QR code to start the contactless dining experience. If they have an older device, they can use a QR code scanning app to place their contactless order.1

Once you’ve got your custom QR code, you’ll want to decide how to share it with your diners. While you should definitely brand this experience as your own (and in a way that complements your restaurant), here are some common places to post a QR code:

  • Sandwich Boards – If you already have a sandwich board outside of your restaurant, or if you’re willing to purchase one, this can be a great, low-cost location for your QR code. Just be wary of traffic jams at peak hours when multiple customers might crowd together trying to all scan the QR code at once. Also, make sure the QR code is large enough for customers to capture from a distance.
  • Tabletop Inserts – A simple, low-cost, and hygienic option is to attach a laminated QR code to each table for guests to scan. Staff can easily clean the lamination when they wipe down each table, and it’s truly contactless. The only drawback we can think of is the added step of laminating the printout or placing it in a plastic cover.
  • Table Tents – Customers are accustomed to seeing table tents on their tables to advertise specials and restaurant news. Take advantage of this real estate and place your QR code on each table tent. It’s convenient and sustainable but not quite as hygienic as the inserts, which servers have an easier time cleaning. 
  • Business Cards – Adding a QR code to individual business cards for your restaurant is a relatively inexpensive strategy to disseminate your QR code and leave your customers with a reminder of your establishment. It’s not fully contactless, and you’ll have to purchase and order the business cards, but it’s still a straightforward contactless solution that offers the bonus of free advertising.
  • Flyers – Like business cards, flyers are a relatively inexpensive and disposable option for providing customers with your QR code. Still, you’ll go through a lot of flyers, it’s also not totally contactless, and it might look cheap if you’re operating a high-class establishment.
  • Menus – Although digital menus are a vital aspect of the contactless ordering experience, there will always be less than tech-savvy customers who require a physical menu. You can add the QR code to a physical menu and encourage your customers to order with their smartphones. The only drawback would be the inefficiency of disposing of or sanitizing each menu between customers.2

In reality, your best bet is to post your QR code in multiple places so the transition to contactless ordering is convenient for all of your diners.

#3 Create Your Digital Menu

Now that you’ve got the QR code that will transport your customers to your contactless menu, it’s time to create it! Remember that comprehensive contactless ordering system we spoke on? You’ll want it to offer a fully customizable menu. In which case, your customers can:

  • Browse your digital menu
  • Filter by their dietary restrictions or preferences

And you can:

  • Introduce your branding with photos and multimedia 
  • Include limitless options
  • Hide out-of-stock items
  • Add standard tax
  • Add standard tips
  • Categorize your menu options
  • Schedule specific menu items
  • Edit and rearrange all of the elements3

When your restaurant goes paperless, you save time and money. You also gain the opportunity to [better] engage your customers better and even encourage them to spend more during their time at your establishment.

#4 Streamline Your Payment Process

Contactless ordering systems streamline the customer payment process.

Guests add their payment information before they input their order, so you no longer have to worry about costly walkouts. Guests can conveniently pay with Apple Pay, Android Pay, or Google Pay, or they can pay with their credit cards, debit cards, or gift cards through the contactless ordering system’s secure website. Guests receive their receipt by email, and the system saves a copy for your records as well.

But not all customers want to pay with their phone, and that’s totally fine. For that, you can purchase inexpensive card-present terminals that integrate with a mobile point of sale system. That way, customers that don’t want to pay with their phone can pull out their cards. 

Guests can place their order, add to it, share the tab, split tips, and pay all from their smartphone. Your staff can also open and edit an order so that they’re always able to help customers.

Even better, with a comprehensive contactless ordering system, your guests can avoid the hassle of wasting their precious storage space downloading another app—the whole contactless ordering and payment process takes place without the need for one.4

#5 Train Your Staff

Certain contactless solutions allow you to launch the integration in 24 hours. But to provide your guests with the highest standard of comfort and care, you’ll want to provide your staff with extra training to make the transition seamless. To that end, you should: 

  • Remind your staff that the customer is new to this – With contactless operations, your customers will be taking on duties that used to be reserved for your employees, but they should never feel like they’re clocking into work during their dining experience. Work with your staff to find opportunities to personalize the process so they can offer service that goes above and beyond and so customers feel their needs have been fully attended to by staff.
  • Prepare your staff to teach customers – Not all your customers will be tech-savvy. Your employees likely will have to teach some customers how to scan a QR code or navigate the mobile ordering system. Make sure your staff knows when to switch to the traditional ordering and payment process so that unfamiliar customers don’t grow frustrated or feel embarrassed.
  • Outline new expectations and duties – As we’ve highlighted, contactless ordering and payment will streamline your front-of-house operations, cross-training staff and freeing up the time of your remaining employees. Ensure your team understands your expectations for how they can maximize this newly gained time.
  • Practice new paths – As you rearrange your restaurant to provide more distance between tables and as your team adapts to their new duties, their familiar traffic patterns will change. Do a few test runs so that no one bumps into each other during the dinner rush.
  • Incorporate in-the-moment feedback – Contactless ordering systems allow customers to share their feedback in the moment so that you can offer an exemplary dining experience and mitigate any mistakes that might lead to a bad Yelp review later. Your staff needs to know how to respond to this feedback efficiently and expertly.5

Go Contactless—Go GoTab

The benefits of contactless ordering and restaurant payment technology speak for themselves. Efficient operations. Happy customers. Increased revenue for your restaurant operations. 

If it’s time for you to make the switch, go contactless with us. In just 24 hours, you’ll be enjoying the only restaurant POS with native features to open and edit a digital tab and share that same tab amongst guests and staff. Here at GoTab, we blend the modern convenience of contactless ordering and payment with the ageless tradition of customer service and hospitality.

So if you’re wondering how to offer contactless ordering at restaurants, you’ve come to the right place. 


  1. Small Business Trends. How To Create a QR Code in 5 Simple Steps. https://smallbiztrends.com/2016/05/create-a-qr-code.html 
  2. Pizza Magazine. 7 Ways to Promote Your Restaurant’s QR Codes for Contactless Ordering. https://www.pmq.com/7-ways-to-promote-your-restaurants-qr-codes-for-contactless-ordering/ 
  3. GoTab. Contactless Menu. https://gotab.io/en/contactless-menu/ 
  4. GoTab. Contactless Ordering & Payment. https://gotab.io/en/contactless-ordering-payment/  
  5. FSR. How Restaurants Deliver Great Hospitality with Contactless Ordering and Payment. https://www.fsrmagazine.com/expert-takes/how-restaurants-deliver-great-hospitality-contactless-ordering-and-payment 
  6. GoTab. Our Impact. https://gotab.io/en/gotab-impact/  


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