Digital Trends featured Uptown Network in their article You’ll be Ordering Food with QR Code Menus Long After the Pandemic Ends. Also featured in the article is Uptown Network member Titan Hospitality, who uses BYOM™ in their restaurants Blackwall Hitch Alexandria, Blackwall Hitch Annapolis, and The Blackwall Barn and Lodge.
Digital Trends: You’ll be Ordering Food with QR Code Menus Long After the Pandemic Ends
Dining out at a restaurant used to be a break from busy routines — and technology. It was a faux pas to spend a meal staring at your phone. But with coronavirus continuing to spread across the U.S., dining at a restaurant is now a potentially risky decision. Plastic shields guard the host stand and your friendly waiter’s face is now half-covered by a mask. The solution to a more enjoyable and safer experience could be the very thing you tried to avoid when dining, however: Your phone.
QR codes are experiencing a comeback as a way to eliminate shared menus which could spread the virus between customers — and your dining experience may never be the same.
How QR code menus work
QR codes — which use a scannable design of black and white squares — have been in widespread use since the mid-2010s. The code, when scanned using your smartphone’s camera, will open a link, in this case to a restaurant’s menu page.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that bars and restaurants use disposable or digital menus to limit the spread of COVID-19. Restaurants seem to be taking this advice.
Whether it’s a simple laminated stand on tables or mobilizing an entire contactless ordering system, QR code menus have become the norm when dining at restaurants during the pandemic.
Scott Selman, head of marketing of Titan Hospitality Group, said the collection of restaurants in the D.C. area are currently using QR codes on table coasters. Selman said the group was already looking into touchless menu technology before the pandemic struck as a cost-cutting solution.
“People have been loving the ease of access,” Selman said. “For many of our patrons, it’s an experience they continue to talk about.”
At another D.C. area restaurant, Espita, co-owner and general manager Josh Phillips is also using QR codes. His Mexican restaurant uses integrated technology called GoTab, which uses the codes to handle both menus and payment.
Phillips said it only took an afternoon to set up the system. So far, he’s had few complaints. In fact, Phillips said, some guests who initially disliked the QR codes came around to them by the end of their meal.
“[One guest] interacted with it and changed her tune to ‘I know I was hating on this QR code thing, but this is actually great. Why doesn’t everyone do this?’” Phillips said. “That’s a pattern I see repeatedly with the few people that have had complaints. By the end of the meal, they are always on board and think it is great.”
Marketers are quick to point out the additional benefits of QR code menus in addition to solving sanitization concerns.
“The question isn’t about having a QR code menu. The important question is what does the QR code do?” said Jack Serfass, CEO of food and beverage software company Uptown Network.
Digital menus using QR codes offer more flexibility, he said. A restaurant staffer could easily update the digital menu to reflect a sold-out dish or add an additional menu item. Some of the integrated technology even lets you analyze menu data.
Read the full article here: Digital Trends: You’ll be Ordering Food with QR Code Menus Long After the Pandemic Ends