The National Restaurant Association, incorporating input from academia, industry, and government, released their guidance on hospitality businesses safely reopening and operating in our post-COVID new normal.
In that guidance they highly recommend either using a single use menu or technology like a QR code menu.
That makes sense. According to a Good Morning America study, paper restaurant menus were found to be the single most contaminated item on a restaurant’s table. Nearly 16 times more contaminated than the second most germ-infested item, pepper shakers.
So, to ensure a safe dining environment, your business has two choices:
- Print hundreds of expensive, single-use menus every week, or
- Use a QR code menu for your restaurant for a small monthly fee
Seems like an easy choice.
What Is a QR Code Menu for Restaurants?
A QR code menu is a digital menu that's accessible for diners and drinkers on their smartphones after scanning a QR code. All customers have to do is point their mobile device and scan the QR code (which virtually all mobile devices can do) and they're immediately taken to a touchless menu.
If you're not familiar, here's what a QR code is, how QR codes work, the different QR code types, and how to scan a QR code.
How to Create QR Code for Restaurant Menu
Creating a QR menu for your restaurant isn't hard. The basic process is as follows:
- Get a PDF file of your menu or the URL where your menu is published online
- Upload your menu PDF or menu URL into a QR code generator
- Click generate and create a QR code
But using a free QR code generator online has QR code security issues. To minimize those issues, check out how to find the best QR code generator for you. And using PDFs means you should ensure PDF accessibility.
Partnering with a hospitality technology company like SproutQR is the best and safest way to create a custom QR code for a restaurant menu. It's also easier: all bars, restaurants, and hotels have to do is upload a spreadsheet of basic menu information and a logo (if they have one). All the rest—formatting, publishing, mobile responsiveness, searchability—is taken care of.
And you’re left with a beautiful new QR code and a customized digital menu or digital wine list that you can share with the world. In seconds.
How to Use QR Code Menus for Restaurants & Bars
The power and convenience of QR codes can be leveraged by bars and restaurants easily with a QR menu (and multiple other QR code uses). Let’s take a look at some great ways to use QR code menus.
QR Codes at the Entrance
Restaurants—both inside and outside of hotels—often have menus hanging up in their windows. With a QR code at your entrance, in a window pointing outside, potential customers can grab your menu as they pass by. And your windows aren’t cluttered by hanging big menus in them forever.
QR Codes at the Bar
As a customer waits for their table, or as they enjoy a drink with no plans (yet) to dine in, present the QR menu code to them. Putting the QR code on the coasters, cocktail menus, or on small, evenly-spaced stands works perfectly. You can even print them out on bar receipts.
QR Codes at the Table
This is where your QR code is happiest. QR codes at the table is the definitive and proper way to replace paper menus for good. That ensures a smooth, hygienic dining experience. You can print your QR code on stickers and artfully place them on the table itself or a nearby wall. Or on a small display meant to specifically house the QR code. Think of it like a menu stand.
What to Look for in QR Code for Restaurant Menu
Here’s some guidance about what to look for in a QR code for restaurant menus. When the time comes to choose a solution, you’ll be prepared.
- Creating and updating your restaurant QR menu should be totally self-service. If you can’t own the menu creation and editing process, then you’ve lost a lot of the flexibility that makes digital menus so convenient.
- Ideally, you don’t have to download an app. Creating a QR code is not a fundamentally complex process. If you can upload your menu information onto a company’s website, it should be able to generate the QR menu for you.
- The menu template is pre-optimized. All you have to do is insert your logo and, voilà, you’re done.
- The process of creating your restaurant QR menu should be as easy as clicking and dragging. You should be able to upload a spreadsheet of your menu into a web-based tool.
- The color and contrast are of the QR code should be just right. Sometimes, though rarely, one of those being off can cause QR code scanning problems.
- The QR code itself should allow for a central logo or image. This is a great way to achieve brand consistency and boost engagement with your QR code.
Restaurant QR Menu Best Practices
We help a lot of hospitality businesses roll out QR menus. Here’s a few tips we always give them.
Make Sure Your QR Code Has a “Call-to-Action.”
A call to action means some guidance for guests about the next step to take. In this case, that next step is scanning. The mere presence of a QR code may not communicate to some people that it needs to be scanned. The QR code template you use to print your QR menu code on should make it clear to anyone who sees it that it’s gotta be scanned. You can look into QR code table tent template, too, if you'd like to put QR codes on tables.
Keep Menus Menus
For all the downsides to using a paper menu, it does have one virtue. That virtue is the reason why menus have been around for so long. A paper menu is exactly what it says it is. A menu. A useful tool that helps people accomplish a thing: ordering. When someone picks up a paper menu, they don’t see flashing lights or pop-up ads. They see a list of things for sale. Don’t fall into the trap of using your QR code menus as a multi-prong marketing funhouse. Sure, promote a rewards program or email list, but try not to go crazy with it. Make your QR menus simple. Keep them menus.
Market Your QR Codes
We don’t advise using your menu to aggressively market all sorts of other campaigns. We do advise you take advantage of the portability of QR codes and market the QR code menus themselves. QR codes can be placed virtually anywhere. It’s a huge boon to discoverability and accessibility for every operation using a digital menu. You can even set up a QR code marketing campaign and do some QR code tracking to make sure it's a success.
Optimize QR Code Menus for Mobile
Remember that the people scanning your QR code menus are using mobile devices. The content you deliver to them via your QR code should be geared toward consumption on mobile devices. We cannot tell you how many times we’ve seen a lean, mean QR code take us to a bloated site that’s not optimized for mobile. The text is miniscule. Menus and borders collide into each other and zig-zag all over. What felt like a simple, delightfully modern task gets flipped upside down. QR code content must be designed for mobile devices.
Make Sure Your Digital Menu Is ADA Compliant
SproutQR's QR code menu is ADA compliant right out of the box. It's one of the only QR code menus on the market that's ADA compliant, in fact. The benefits of an ADA compliant digital menu are numerous:
- You save money on ADA remediation. Remediation is the process of bringing a document into ADA compliance. It can cost a pretty penny.
- You increase your menu's visibility to a huge market segment. There are millions upon millions of internet users who can't consume content without assistive technology. Include them in your marketing.
- You give your menu an SEO boost. The structure that makes digital documents accessible is the same structure that increases search engine visibility.
Get Started with a QR Code for Restaurant Menus
Rarely in business do the benefits of a particular product so utterly outweigh any cost or effort to deploy it. But it is so with QR menus in restaurants.
QR codes have transformed the way the public can access information; recent QR code statistics vouch for that. By making QR code restaurant menus easy to create, they’re poised to become a great ally in hospitality’s reemergence.
Not only for their cost-cutting and time-saving qualities. But because they communicate to the restaurant-going public that every restaurant that uses one is on the cutting edge of commercial hygiene. If you’re a bar or restaurant looking to make the leap with your menu, SproutQR can help.
The top hotels and restaurants in the country rely on SproutQR for their digital QR menus. Book a demo and we’ll walk you through just how easy it is to get out ahead of the pack.