QR codes, which have enabled no-touch digital menu reviewing and ordering throughout the pandemic, all while helping short-staffed operators keep up with orders, have become ubiquitous in recent months. The National Restaurant Association said half of all full-service restaurants in the U.S. have begun using the codes since the start of the pandemic. But now concerns about privacy are making some question consumers’ use of the codes because businesses can gather valuable data about consumer spending patterns through the codes – and it’s all connected to their credit cards, the New York Times reports. If you’re using QR codes in your business, be sure you understand how the tech companies enabling your codes are using your data (i.e. ensure they aren’t selling it) and how you can best protect your customers and business in the event of a breach.
Restaurants are managing orders from more sources than ever – yet still need to prepare those items at the same time. If they’re short on staff, juggling this and keeping customers informed about their order can be a challenge. But smart pacing tools for order fulfillment can help. As Pymnts.com reports, that could include an automated text to a guest when their food or their table is ready, or a QR code that allows a guest to place an order or pay from the table as they leave.
The pandemic has pushed restaurant technology several years ahead of where it would be otherwise – and our increased ordering of takeout in the past year has made us more comfortable ordering food on our phones. Could allowing guests to order by phone work for you on-premise as well as off? At a time when labor is scarce, it may be worth considering. During a recent episode of the restaurant webcast The Barron Report, the founders of Branded Strategic Hospitality spoke about how they have invested in their entire tech stack, to include the app Bbot, which enables QR code scanning for ordering from the restaurant. If you have a tech-savvy guests who are just as happy to read a menu on their phone as on a piece of paper, you might try experimenting with QR codes for not only menu review but also ordering.
Bring the right tech mix to your service
Now that people are coming back to restaurant dining rooms, operators are having to determine exactly how much of their in-person service to bring back and which tasks to relegate to technology. Choosing what to do is about understanding your customers and the experience they would like, as well as your time challenges. A recent Restaurant Dive report indicates, that might be about shelving the QR codes in favor of paper because guests want to hold a menu in their hands, but keeping self-payment options because of how much time they save you when you’re trying to turn tables. Finding the right balance might also require you to be more methodical about when your staff have in-person interactions with guests to help reinforce the experience you’d like them to have with you.