The development of technology has changed consumption habits, inevitably leading to a change in the lifestyles of both sellers and consumers. Numerous new technologies have been introduced in various sectors, and the restaurant industry is no exception to the disruption caused by technology. One of the technologies that has made its way into the restaurant industry is the QR code.
The “Quick Response code,” commonly known as the QR code, is one of the new technologies that every restaurant-goer has encountered. Unlike traditional barcodes, which could only be scanned vertically and thus contained limited information, QR codes can be scanned both vertically and horizontally, allowing them to store a much larger amount of data.
Unlike barcodes, which are linear, QR codes are square-shaped graphics composed of black squares on a white background, representing encoded numbers and letters. When scanned by a smartphone camera or a dedicated device, QR codes provide access to stored information.
QR codes come in two main types: static QR codes, which have fixed information and cannot be changed once created (any modification requires creating a new code), and dynamic QR codes, which can be modified.
The use of QR codes can be integrated into several stages of the dining experience at a restaurant:
QR code menu access
In every restaurant, a menu is typically provided for customers to place their orders. To streamline this process and reduce the need for servers to constantly visit tables, many establishments implement a QR code system. Customers can scan a dynamic QR code on their table with their smartphone, granting them access to the restaurant’s menu, often via a web link or a PDF. This approach allows customers to view menu items, often with photos, in multiple languages. It also offers a more hygienic option during times when concerns about COVID-19 are prevalent. For restaurant owners, it saves time as menu updates can be applied with a few clicks for the entire clientele, as opposed to manually updating each printed menu.
QR code for ordering
The ordering process follows a similar principle to menu access. Customers scan a QR code to digitalize the menu and initiate the ordering process. This system helps reduce order errors since orders are sent directly to the kitchen by the customer. It also minimizes waiting times and eases the workload for the staff. Customers have more time to make their selections and are less rushed in their ordering, potentially leading to higher order totals.
QR code payments
QR codes are also used for payments. Customers scan the QR code, which redirects them to a payment process via a link embedded in the QR code. According to the company Sunday, specialized in QR code payments for restaurants, this process, on average, saves customers 12 minutes of waiting time. Additional features include the ability to split the bill into multiple parts, as well as the option to add a
QR codes are also used for payments. Customers scan the QR code, which redirects them to a payment process via a link embedded in the QR code. According to the company Sunday, specialized in QR code payments for restaurants, this process, on average, saves customers 12 minutes of waiting time. Additional features include the ability to split the bill into multiple parts, as well as the option to add a tip of 1-, 2, or 3 euros during payment.
This practice of suggesting a tip during payment, which is not typically done, has allowed servers to increase their tips by 40%. Allowing customers to pay when they wish has had other positive effects for restaurant owners as well. Establishments with QR code systems for menu, ordering, and payment have seen an increase in their average order value, ranging from 4% to 10%. Customers who can pay for their orders themselves are more likely to consider adding a coffee or dessert at their convenience.
These three methods, utilizing QR codes, also offer a significant advantage to restaurant owners in terms of reducing staffing needs. By automating tasks traditionally performed by servers, technology can limit the demand for additional personnel, which is a considerable gain for businesses.