Blog Post / September 9, 2020 / Restaurant Industry

The Rise of QR Codes in Hospitality During The Pandemic

by Mikayla Walzog
Mikayla Walzog

Is your restaurant ready to make the transition from takeaway only to outdoor dining? Get ready to encounter a new contactless ordering process, propped up by the rise of QR codes. Recently, restaurants of all sizes across the globe looked to implement technology to help safely navigate a contactless post-COVID world. Standing at the forefront of this was the concept of no-touch ordering and payment methods, largely driven by QR codes in the form of digital menus and check terminals. In fact, with an estimated total of 11 million households in the United States expected to scan a QR code in 2020, operators should prioritize incorporating QR into their operations. Read on to learn more about the importance of these square-shaped black and white symbols.

What is a QR Code? 

QR code stands for “quick response” code and is generally designed to share encrypted information about a business or product when scanned by a consumer. They were first introduced in 1994 and have frequently surfaced throughout mail advertisements, commercials and other mediums of marketing. However, QR codes are making a massive resurgence in hospitality during the pandemic in the form of hosting a restaurant’s digital menu. QR codes essentially work the same way barcodes do in a store. The code’s individual pattern externally links to a webpage or other recognizable asset from your restaurant. Using QR codes in tandem with a robust technology platform can also give you the ability to showcase your digital menu in a way that helps you convert diners more easily. Most importantly, these codes are easily customizable to fit your restaurant’s individual branding and style.

Example of a restaurant’s table signage using a QR code

The Benefits QR Codes Can Serve Your Restaurant 

Among many regulations and restrictions restaurants have faced since the outbreak of COVID-19, the Center for Disease Control suggested minimizing the usage of shared items like menus and human-to-human contact, specifically between your staff and guests. In fact, a whopping 66% of diners said that if a restaurant proactively implemented solutions, such as contactless ordering and food hand-off, it would increase the likelihood of them placing orders -- flowing directly into your bottom line. After all, QR codes are the golden thread between printed materials and digital platforms. In terms of your restaurant’s digital presence, QR codes can easily be implemented across the front of your restaurant, website and social channels. This makes it seamless for your guests to do many things, such as add themselves to a virtual waitlist, book future reservations and even check out your menu before dining in-person or ordering online for delivery.

Pro-tip: Embed a ’hidden’ reward offering within a QR code located in your restaurant for guests who have a keen eye to scan! 

How to Read a QR Code Using Your Smartphone 

If your guest owns an Apple device, they’re in luck! Apple has made it incredibly easy for guests to access your link by building a QR code reader directly into the camera. Accessing a QR code comes with three easy steps:

  1. Open your iPhone camera and point the lens towards the QR code
  2. Wait until your device prompts you with a dropdown notification
  3. Click the notification and you will be redirected to the desired destination

If your guest’s device is experiencing technical difficulties or does not have a built in QR code reader, you can suggest downloading these 7 QR code reader applications.

A guest using a smartphone to scan a QR code

What may once have not been seen as a hero in hospitality, QR codes have certainly proved their value over the course of the last few months. As we move forward in our redefined era of service and hospitality, QR code implementation and promotion in your restaurant is an investment in a digitized future powered by technology. Learn how SevenRooms’ guest experience platform can help your venue utilize contactless order and pay methods such as QR codes for your guests.

About the Author

Mikayla Walzog

Mikayla Walzog writes about the intersection of technology and hospitality for SevenRooms. Her passion includes all things food & beverage and chipping away at her ever-growing bucket list of new restaurants to try.

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