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QR Code Ordering Benefits Customers, Restaurants

This digital innovation also translates to wait time reductions for guests, improved operational efficiency and higher average order value for restaurants.
qr code ordering in restaurant
49% of diners surveyed rank contactless payment as a top restaurant technology demand, according to  Hospitality Technology 2022 Customer Engagement Technology Study
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QR codes have re-emerged as a popular way for businesses to enhance customer experiences — a trend that accelerated during the global health crisis as companies across all industries sought solutions to protect their customers. Restaurants are no exception to this trend, with more and more establishments adopting QR codes for menu ordering.

QR code ordering allows customers to access a digital menu using their smartphone camera and place orders without consulting physical menus or interacting face-to-face with servers. This ordering provides a contactless dining experience and benefits customers and restaurants, increasing convenience, efficiency and sales and improving operations.

After their use increased exponentially in 2020, QR code menus have become a significant part of the restaurant experience. Today, 66% of restaurants include QR Codes on tables, offering patrons another way to access menus. This strategy is not just in response to evolving technological expectations prompted by consumers during the pandemic. Customers already use their smartphones in a large percentage of restaurant processes:

  • Searching for restaurant locations (53% of diners).
  • Viewing restaurant menus (49%).
  • Researching new restaurants (37%).

It's no wonder nearly 90% of smartphone users are predicted to use QR codes in 2023. It's naturally the next step in dining technology, allowing guests to access restaurant menus more easily, place orders efficiently and pay for their meals at the touch of a button. This digital innovation also translates to wait time reductions for guests, improved operational efficiency and higher average order value (AOV) for restaurants. Restaurants benefit from offering QR code ordering to their guests — all businesses need is a menu and a QR platform.

A mutual benefit

Restaurants and customers have relied on paper menus for hundreds of years. However, they present many unnecessary and costly challenges to restaurants. Using QR code ordering yields:

Timely updates. Menu changes happen frequently, but updating them takes time, effort and cost. QR codes can update menus in real-time — like removing menu items when ingredients sell out — saving money on printing costs and reducing customer order time. 

  • Durable menus. Daily use causes wear and tear, requiring more frequent paper menu replacement. Using plastic covers helps reduce this issue but adds to the workload of staff who need to clean the covers regularly. QR code ordering decreases reliance on physical menus and reduces strain on restaurant resource upkeep.
  • Lower production costs. Purchasing physical menus and replacing them to reflect a dish or price change can add up. By implementing QR code ordering, restaurants shrink these costs and streamline their menu update process.
  • More customer engagement. QR codes optimize staffing needs by reducing your reliance on front-of-house staff without compromising great service. This means staff can focus less on time-consuming tasks and more on conversing with guests. It also increases customer satisfaction due to quicker, more accurate ordering and faster delivery. By minimizing miscommunication and increasing face time with guests, staff receives an average tip increase of $1.50 per hour while minimizing food waste.

Additionally, QR codes increase AOV by about 12% ($2-4) when guests order digitally because customers feel more comfortable customizing orders and often add other menu items as they browse. Restaurants can also build guest surveys into QR codes, making receiving and responding to valuable customer feedback more effortless and streamlined.

Additional customer conveniences

Today's consumers set a different standard for good customer service, especially for restaurants. When it comes to top restaurant technologies that guests demand, 49% say the ability to pay for food via mobile device (i.e., contactless payment) is tops, according to HT's 2022 Customer Engagement Technology StudyUnderstanding those expectations and investing in the right tools especially benefits restaurant guests:

  • Capitalizing on contactless payments: Over 70% of Americans prefer to pay for everything — including merchandise, food and beverages — via contactless payments, according to TripleSeat's research. When it comes to diners, 49% of diners surveyed rank contactless payment as a top restaurant technology demand, according to  Hospitality Technology 2022 Customer Engagement Technology Study
  • Customer convenience: Customers anticipate convenience and value technology that gives them more control and independence. QR code menus allow guests to order whenever and whatever they want without waiting in line or for their server to visit their table. As a result, order accuracy and service time drastically improve, increasing sales and positive reviews. Additionally, customers feel more empowered to give feedback that will improve their experience when surveys are more accessible to them.
  • Avoiding cross-contamination: The contactless approach of ordering via QR code can be a hygienic alternative to physical menus.

Valuable analytics

QR code ordering provides restaurants with valuable data and insights to help improve operations and enhance the customer experience. In addition to supporting more efficient order management and processing, it can also collect data on customer orders and preferences. This information helps restaurants better understand their consumer needs and expectations by identifying:

  • The most and least popular menu items.
  • Which promotions or deals their customers gravitate toward or ignore.
  • Peak and slower business times.

Restaurants employing QR code ordering can leverage heatmap analytics to learn how customers interact with their menu, optimize their menu offerings and automate their ordering system to strengthen their brand. This data ultimately helps restaurants identify and use patterns and trends in customer behavior to inform marketing strategies and improve overall business performance. 

According to the National Restaurant Association, 58% of adults are likelier to use their phones to access key restaurant features, including how they order food. This percentage will only grow as innovations in restaurant digitalization improve the overall customer experience. Restaurants passing up on QR codes for ordering leave more food in their fridge than in their customer’s stomachs.

About the Author

Sharat Potharaju is the Co-founder and CEO of Beaconstac, responsible for crafting the overall strategy and execution. Sharat is dedicated to achieving Beaconstac’s vision to enable digital connection with every physical object and place on the planet. Prior to his entrepreneurial career, Sharat spent a few years working in investment banking at Merrill Lynch in New York. Sharat holds a master’s degree in engineering management from Duke University and a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras.

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