QR Code Menu | 11 mins read

All Things QR Code Menu

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Lauren Christiansen

By Lauren Christiansen

What is a QR Code Menu?

Across social media and on tech blogs, QR codes are a popular topic of discussion. While some may not know exactly what a QR code is, they have probably interacted with one. QR codes are black and white images that appear on a small square box. They almost look like a barcode, but not quite. They are in restaurants, stores, and even online. People scan them through a mobile device, leading the user to a landing page, promotion, or menu.

Recently, the National Restaurant Association released guidelines on how to safely reopen and operate during and after COVID-19. Suggestions included a single-use menu or platform such as a QR code menu. A QR code menu is a digital menu that customers frequently use in place of physical menus.

They can scan the code into their smartphones and are redirected to a contactless menu. QR code menus help restaurants save money. They also prevent germs from spreading. Read ahead for more insight into QR code menus, best practices, and how they benefit the restaurant industry.

Best Practices to Know Before Creating QR Code Menus

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Creating code menus is a very simple, cost-effective process that even the least tech-savvy person can do. However, larger restaurants may be unsure of how to start. While there's no one right way to create a QR menu, there are suggestions to keep in mind. Here are a few top tips.

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1. Use Call to Action in QR Code Menu

A call to action helps patrons know what to do with a QR code. First, they should make sure to scan the code on their smartphones. Most smartphones automatically can read a QR code when the user opens up the camera.

Patrons with older phones may need to download a QR code reader app. Anyone who sees the call to action should know that they need to scan the code. If restaurants want to put codes on tables, they should consider using QR code table templates.

2. Keep the QR Code Menu a Menu

Paper menus may be outdated, but they are easy to use and understand. The same should go for a QR code menu. Restaurants shouldn't put too much fluff and promotional material when they create QR code content. It's best to make the menu look similar or the same as it did before. This will make patrons feel at home and prevent further bottlenecks that waste time and resources.

3. Optimize QR Code Menus for Mobile Devices

All content on a QR code menu should be visible and easy to understand when the customer sees it. The user should optimize the QR code for mobile phones and ensure the design is responsive. The text must be large enough, borders should be separate, and everything must be easy to read. This is critical for patrons who have vision problems or for those who are not tech-savvy.

  • Improve the look of the code. Avoid using plainly designed QR codes
  • Use prompt so customers know they need to scan
  • Create individual code design
  • Ensure readability
  • Add value to content
  • Track campaign's success rate to identify weak and strong areas
  • Don't redirect to a standard website

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4. Ensure QR Code Menu is Compliant

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ADA compliance refers to all regulations related to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Not everyone who scans and reads the code will be able to see it easily or understand what to do. ADA compliance demonstrates that the restaurant can appeal to a wide audience. Compliance also prevents fines and reputation problems. Furthermore, a compliant QR code menu will save money on ADA remediation and boosts the menu's SEO.

Importance of Using a QR Code Menu

There are many reasons to switch out a physical menu for QR code menus. From safety to greater customer spend, QR menus are the way of the future. Customers don't need to touch or share a menu with anyone else, which prevents germs from spreading. Restaurants won't have to print out menus or update print versions every few months. Patrons tend to order more when they are scanning QR menus. This is because they have more time to focus on the menu and don't feel pressured to make a quick choice.

Restaurants can put their QR codes on virtually anything, which is a great way to showcase a brand. Digital updates are much easier, as opposed to re-reprinting everything. In short, QR code menus align with evolving consumer needs. Patrons expect digital service in this day and age. On the other hand, restaurants can save money and resources when they create QR code menus. It's a win-win for both consumers and the hospitality industry.

Benefits of a QR Code Menu

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Just like Zoom, QR code menus are one of the many existing tech trends that grew in popularity during COVID-19. Even as some things go back to normal, this trend seems here to stay. And this is for good reason. Read ahead for the top benefits of contactless QR menus.

1. QR Code Menus Meet Safety Standards and Customer Concerns

Not every customer is concerned with safety precautions, but many are. Restaurants can enact safety measures to assuage customer fears of dining out. Social distancing, sanitizing, and employee mask-wearing are a few examples.

Reducing the number of items that patrons need to touch is another. QR code menus eliminate the need to share menus or touch something that others have touched. It provides another layer of protection that aligns with consumer health and safety needs. It also helps to stay compliant with evolving regulations, which may continue in some states.

  • 70% of consumers are willing to eat at an outdoor table
  • 62% of consumers are willing to eat at an indoor table
  • 64% of patrons are ordering curbside pickup once per week or more
  • 80% of patrons are more willing to patron restaurants that offer QR code menus

2. QR Code Menus Save Money and Resources

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Restaurants can save money on printing costs when they use QR code menus. It's expensive to update a print menu, particularly if the restaurant regularly updates items. Updates on QR code menus are easy and cost-effective, which is a plus when profit margins are thin. Every little penny counts.

3. QR Code Menus Reduce Staff Contact with Patrons

Many patrons are wary of excessive physical interactions. Restaurant operators can reduce contact between servers and patrons with QR code menus. While servers may still need to deliver food, they won't have to interact or touch any physical menus. A collection point system can even reduce contact further.

4. QR Code Menus Increase Customer Spend

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Studies show that customer spend increases up to 30% when they order from contactless QR or digital menus. This is because patrons are under less pressure and can take time reviewing options. Customers can order a gooey dessert option or second helping and not feel embarrassed about their choices.

5. QR Code Menus Quicken Table Turnover

Restaurants need to speed up table turnover to remain profitable. At the same time, they don't want to make patrons feel rushed. Rather than waiting until they get a menu, customers can scan a QR code when they first come in. Or, the restaurant can place the QR code on the table itself, so the patron can scan it when they sit down.

This makes ordering and delivery processes go much faster. Patrons can also order extra menu items as they think of them, which also saves time. All of this organically speeds up table turnover without rushing the customer.

How to Use a QR Code Menu

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Restaurants can leverage QR code menus for convenience, to save money, and provide extra safety measures. Restaurants also aren't restricted to put QR code menus in one place. There are multiple other ways to promote a QR code. Here are some of the top examples.

  • Put QR Codes at Entrance - Restaurants can put QR codes up in windows for those who walk by. Potential customers can download the code, see if they are interested, and come in. This is a great way to advertise without bothering anybody. Furthermore, windows are less cluttered with QR codes than they would be with paper menus.
  • Put QR Codes at Bar - When customers wait for tables at the bar, waitstaff can provide them with a QR code. Or, restaurants can place it on a coaster, cocktail menu, or on the bar top itself. This saves time and gives customers something to do while they wait.
  • Put QR Codes on Table - Most restaurants tend to place their QR codes on the tables. It's also a great way to permanently eliminate paper menus and maintain the traditional restaurant atmosphere. Owners can print QR codes on stickers and display them artfully as required. A nearby wall at the table is also an option. Regardless of the whereabouts of the code, it should be as visible and easy to find as possible.

How to Make a QR Code Menu

Most code generators have unique customization options which make it easy to promote a restaurant's brand. The best part is that most code generators come with a free trial and are relatively inexpensive. With a few simple clicks, restaurants can lead customers to a personalized menu, promotion, or advertisement.

Creating QR code menus is much easier than most people think. Even the least technically savvy person can follow these simple steps. Here is a step-by-step guide to making a unique QR code menu today.

1. Convert Print Menu to QR Code Menu

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First, restaurant owners should find a QR code menu generator app. Examples include Flowcode, Stickymenu, or UQR.me. Owners should find a code generator that offers the necessary customization features that align with a specific brand. Once the user logs into a code generator account, he/she should choose Create QR Code on the dashboard. While all apps are different, this button is typically found in the upper right-hand corner of the dashboard.

  • Use a vertical menu layout and a small page size
  • Use large font sizes
  • Divide content into separate menu categories
  • Be mindful of file size
  • Test digital menu and QR code to see how quickly it uploads and whether it looks good from the customer's perspective
  • Have a back-up plan (a.k.a - small stack of menus on hand)

2. Pick Dynamic or Static QR Code Menu and Name It

Next, the user should choose between a dynamic code or static code. A dynamic code allows the user to go back and update the menu, which is critical for most restaurants. A static code does not allow changes once printed. It is typically better for one-time ads or promotional campaigns instead of menus. Users should then name the QR code on the top. An example may be Harry's Italian Restaurant Menu.

3. Upload QR Code Menu and/or Select Additional Options

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Next, the user should upload the existing menu (which is hopefully in some type of digital form). The original menu should be in PDF form to ensure a successful upload. The user can either link the menu directly to a PDF or design the QR code from scratch. The former option allows the customer to automatically download the existing menu when they scan the QR code.

The second option allows the user to customize the menu with brand colors. The generator will lead the user to a tab where he/she can customize the landing page. This is where the menu is displayed to the audience. There are millions of color options to choose from, so it should be easy to find specific brand colors.

4. Fill in Basic Information on QR Code Menu PDF Landing Page

The user should input the name of the restaurant, the title of the PDF menu, and a summary of all menu options. It's also critical to include a website address so the customer has a way to access more information. Adding the restaurant logo is also a great way to build brand awareness.

When the user finishes customizing the QR Code menu, he/she can press Next. The QR code generator will then create a unique QR code. This entire process typically takes less than 10 minutes.

Conclusion for QR Code Menu

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In conclusion, here is what to remember about QR code menus -

  • Best practices when creating a QR code menu include using a call to action, keeping the QR code menu a real menu, fully optimizing the menu for mobile phones, and ensuring the menu is compliant with ADA regulations.
  • QR code menus are beneficial because they are more sanitary, save money, reduce contact with waitstaff, increase customer spend, and optimize table turnover.
  • QR codes can either be at the entrance, at a bar, or on a table. Most restaurants place them on tables, depending on the type of services they offer.
  • Steps to create a QR code menu are to convert the existing menu to a QR code, pick a dynamic or static code, name the code, upload the menu or choose existing customization options, and fill in the basic information for the PDF landing page.

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