Alternative to QR codes in digital restaurants menus
Whether it is due to the pandemic caused by the COVID or to give a modern touch to your restaurant, many hotel and catering businesses are choosing to voluntarily withdraw their traditional menus in certain cases and forced in many others to present their gastronomic offerings.
In some cases we can see that these menus are still in disposable format, as they can be used, for example, as table covers for our customers, but in many other cases they have decided to convert to digital format. These cards are accessible to diners and can be reached by using their mobile phone and an internet connection.
If we choose to use the QR code when we digitise our menu, we must place it in a visible place for the customer, either attached to the table, or some element such as a napkin ring. The code must be laminated, as it is so exposed that it will suffer from daily wear and tear and will become unreadable at some point. We must also prevent this code from being manipulated, either so that it is not damaged, or it can be replaced by another one looking to damage the image of our business. Imagine that a diner scans a code on our table hoping to find our digital menu and this redirects him to a page with inadequate or unsafe content where his telephone details are compromised.
The QR codes
To access the digital menu, one of the options available is the use of QR codes, which stands for "Quick Response code" and is an evolution of the well-known bar code. Like this, it is a way of storing information, but instead of using vertical bars, a matrix of points that forms a square is used. To interpret it, we need a capable device, such as a mobile phone with a camera and the corresponding application to execute the reading. The information it contains can be diverse, such as a link to a profile on a social network, an e-mail, location coordinates or, as in our case, a link to a website, where the digital menu of our restaurant can be consulted. The creators of the QR code were the employees of the Japanese company Denso Wave, a subsidiary of Toyota and in this country this code is the most popular two-dimensional code.
Although we think it is a very novel technology, it was created in 1994, more than 20 years ago and we may have come across it before at the accesses to some sports events, concerts or airports, as the speed of reading it offers allows us to make decisions in an agile way and that is why you will also be able to see it in companies in the warehouses to manage the stock and storage of products. There are numerous versions ranging from 1 to 10 and in these the size changes, ranging from 21 x 21 modules to 177 x 177. As the size grows, so does the information they can store, but the most common among users are those containing 25 x 25 modules.
Although the power offered by a QR code is very useful, perhaps we should consider other alternatives, as it also has quite a few negative points.
Malicious use of QR codes.
QR codes hide a link and also do it in such a way that the user does not know very well where the link leads to until it is opened, since we will need an electronic device enabled for such reading, such as a smartphone. These codes that we have in our restaurant could be replaced by others and we would not notice them at first sight if we did not scan them. They could direct our employees to a fraudulent website, where they could have their personal data stolen, install a virus or harmful software on their device, they could also send personal data they find on our phone to a third party, etc. That is why we must check with some frequency that the codes have not been manipulated.
Difficulty in reading them.
In order to read a QR code, in most cases we will need to download some additional application to our phone, so we are already forcing the customer to install in his phone an application that he may not want to have, just to see the letter of our business. In most cases this will not be very pleasant, so it is advisable to consider other alternatives to digitize the letter of our business.
Ignorance of technology.
Although, as we have seen before, QR codes were born in 1994, it is still a rather unknown technology. If we are a young millennial person, we may be familiar with them, but if we are an older person, with less facility for technology, it may be difficult for us to know what we have to do with that code in order to see the restaurant's digital menu. If, in addition, as we have seen before, you have to download additional applications, then things become even more complicated.
QR codes deteriorate.
In many cases they are exposed to the weather or placed on the table in such a way that they suffer a lot from contact with the guests, which can cause these codes to become unreadable for the customers. We will have to check with some frequency that the digital menu is still accessible to our guests, so we will add an extra maintenance task to our business.
Web to which the QR code links.
If we are lucky enough to have our own website, we will be able to link this QR code to take our clients directly to our website, where they will be able to consult our digital menu. If we don't have our own website, we will have to entrust our letter to an external hosting, which will surely have a price, can sneak ads to our customers, which makes them have a worse experience, we will have to adapt to a fixed design, as in many cases simply download a pdf for the client, instead of being accessible directly from the internet, which is more convenient and without the need to download anything, etc.
Another alternative to QR codes.
We have already seen the advantages and disadvantages of QR codes. Is there an alternative for the customer to consult our digital charter? The answer is yes, our POS software for the restaurant industry, for example, it allows access to the digital menu by entering a code from the search engine, as simple as that. It is not necessary to download any application, besides being extremely intuitive, so it will be usable by all types of people regardless of their technological knowledge, since everyone knows how to use a search engine, as if it were google.
Advantages to be exploited with digital charts.
Whether accessing the digital chart by means of a QR code or with the alternative offered by Bliscop, we have to go further and exploit all the advantages offered by having a digitalised menu. In most places, simply listing the dishes on a digital menu is not interactive, which will open up an enormous range of possibilities.
Interactive digital menu
If we have a digital menu like the one offered by Bliscop, which is also interactive, we can add extra links to our digital menu. Some of these links can be informative, indicating the allergens that are present in each dish so that the customer can be warned when tasting them. We can also add informative messages that describe the content of the dishes in detail, so that customers can get an idea of the options available to them and can choose more easily. Another option available is the facility to add images to help customers in their decision. It is important to take great care with the images we offer on our menu as our dishes are the essence of our business.
Order from our digital menu
Having an interactive digital menu will, among other things, allow you to indicate from it the dishes to be tasted. For example, we can add some visible buttons for the client and from these he will select what he wants to eat. You will navigate through the different sections and when you have decided on everything, you will confirm your order.
An interactive digital menu, integrated into our restaurant POS software will allow us to automatically notify the system when an order is placed from our digitised menu. This will ensure that all restaurant staff are aware of the new order and act accordingly. Bliscop, for example, instantly notifies the kitchen of the new order, so that the preparation of the dishes can begin. They will have all the commands ordered, knowing how long ago they were created and what each one consists of. The commands will not be lost and we will be able to organise ourselves to work in an agile and efficient way.
Another of the many advantages of having orders integrated with our POS software is the possibility that when a customer places an order from our restaurant's digital menu, the software evaluates this order and automatically discounts the products associated with it from stock. Bliscop offers us the possibility of knowing at all times, in real time and from any location, the products in our inventory, so that we can know when to restock with ease so that we do not run out of products. It also allows us to store the contact of our suppliers to communicate with them in a simpler way.
Home and collection orders
Having a digital letter, allows us to offer this out of our business, since when freeing us of the physical format, this can be consulted from the Internet, so you can place orders from any location. We can accept orders at home, if we have our own delivery service or we use the many existing companies to make them or also orders to be collected from our premises. This will provide us with a new source of income, which is always welcome.
Our software TPV, allows the option, thanks to its digital letter, that from this one they make the orders, reason why we will not have to take note of the orders at home, but always there is also the option to receive the telephone calls and to be us those that introduce in the system the orders at home or for collection.
If we do not yet have a digital chart, we recommend its use either implemented through the use of QR codes or as we prefer other options such as that chosen by Bliscop. The use of this digital card, in conjunction with an integrated POS software will allow us to have a huge range of possibilities that will greatly facilitate all the daily tasks of our business. It will facilitate the control of the stock, we will be able to receive orders at home or for collection, we will have an automatic command notification system in the kitchen, among many other options.
Don't be left behind and enter the digital era, to keep your business competitive and enjoy numerous advantages that will come with software such as that offered by Bliscop.