7 tips for using QR codes in your restaurant
Make the most of the QR code trend for your restaurant by following the 7 following tips.
We’re not going to lie: before the pandemic, QR codes were slightly outdated.
But the tables have turned. Since the pandemic began, many have rediscovered the advantages of this simple yet powerful tool. A survey by Statista shows that 47% of respondents from the US and UK agree that they are using QR codes more often.
As a restaurant owner, you might already be using QR codes for digital menus. You’ve been encouraged by the NHS to display official NHS QR codes to help with contact tracing.
And you’ve seen so many of your customers scan them that you’re starting to wonder if these small squares can do way more than that for you.
Well, you’re right: from payment to loyalty programs, there are many ways you can use QR codes.
Here at sunday, we think this is way more than just a fad related to the pandemic. If you don’t know how to use QR codes and have no idea where to begin, we’re sharing some of our best tips for using them in your restaurants.
But before we get to that, let’s take 2 minutes to understand how QR codes work and why they’re making a big comeback.
Since 2020, the number of Google searches with the keyword “QR code” have soared. Almost two decades after they were invented in Japan, QR codes are now as fashionable as ever. But why now? And why had we stopped using them in the first place?
Since the early days of digital, marketing specialists have been facing a major challenge: how to link their operations in the offline world and their online campaigns?
When you sell your products in a brick-and-mortar store or when you welcome the public into your establishment (a restaurant, for example), you have to find a way to redirect your visitors to your website, newsletter or social networks if you wish to retain them…
QR codes make it easier for you to do that: customers just have to aim their phone at a printed square and are redirected to a predefined URL (a web page, for example) Easy as 1-2-3? Less than it seems…
But there’s a catch: in the 2000s and 2010s, the cameras on most smartphones didn’t recognise QR codes automatically. Users had to download a dedicated app.
This extra step complicated the process and discouraged users from scanning QR codes. Back then, mobile internet was still sluggish. The general public was quick to shun QR codes and brands gradually stopped using them.
The health crisis has turned the world of QR codes on its head: all over the world, governments have used QR codes to track contamination levels. The NHS uses QR codes for contact tracing and to provide people with vaccine certificates.
Restaurants are increasingly implementing QR codes in order to allow their customers to access PDF menus. In the meantime, most smartphones have evolved and their cameras are able to recognise QR codes automatically, without a dedicated app.
Many brands are riding the wave of QR codes by putting them at the centre of their marketing campaigns.
OK, great for QR codes. But what can restaurant owners do about it?
Here at sunday, we’re big believers in QR codes. And we’ve got good reason for that: we’ve helped our partner restaurants set up QR code payments, and found that 80% of their customers preferred it over other payment methods. So we’re sharing our best practices to make your QR code strategy a success.
QR codes may be convenient, but for the general public, they’re associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and with sanitary regulations. You’ll need to remind your customers that QR codes can be fun, too.
It’s a tool that can make their lives simpler and their experience eating out more pleasant: it becomes easier to read a menu, to pay a bill and to keep up with the news of their favourite restaurant by following them on Instagram or Facebook. Using humour in the way you present your QR code is nearly always a winning bet.
And what’s more fun than personalisation? You can adapt your QR codes to your brand identity. There are several ways to do that: you can insert a logo in the centre, change colours (a QR code is not necessarily black and white…) or modify the design.
But keep in mind these changes shouldn’t come at the expense of the scanning process. Do not change the proportions of the QR code (it should always be a square). If you stretch it out or reduce it, pixelation can make it harder to scan.
Also, if there isn’t enough contrast in the colours, your customers’ smartphones will have trouble reading them. It is always best to print the QR code in its final form and test it out first!
Do not compromise on the readability of your QR codes. If you choose to display your QR codes on an unusual surface (a flower pot for example), your customers might LOVE the idea, but they’ll be frustrated when they won’t be able to scan the code correctly. If you stick your codes behind a glass that is too shiny, the reflections may also complicate the scanning process.
You don’t need a dedicated app to scan a QR code. Most smartphones, whether they run on iOS or Android, can scan them automatically. But there’s still another technical element you absolutely need: internet connection.
No internet means users cannot be redirected to the address you’ve set up. If your restaurant has no 4G coverage, it might be a good idea to offer your customers free WiFi. It’s also a nice gesture for international tourists with no data roaming!
Some of your customers might not know how QR codes work. It’s up to your waiters to make it easier for them. They can explain how to scan a QR code in a few simple words (just aim your smartphone camera at it!) and showcase the many things QR codes will allow them to do.
The best way for this to happen is for your waiters to be convinced themselves: show them that QR codes make their work less tedious (no more slaloming between tables with menus) and save them time.
Everyone knows that QR codes can allow you to download PDF menus. But QR codes are also a great way to keep your customers close. Don’t forget that this solution has been designed to create a bridge between the physical and digital worlds.
Use it to redirect your customers to your website and some of the media it contains (a video of your suppliers, for example, to reassure them about the quality and origin of the products).
If there’s an unusual story behind your restaurant, use this opportunity to tell it in an interactive way. Or you can simply link to your social networks!
One thing QR codes can do: allow you to accept online payments. It’s exactly what we do, here at sunday. We think that the future of restaurant payments will be digital, contactless, easy and secure.
For your customers, the minutes spent waiting for the bill will be a thing of the past. For your staff, no more juggling group payments and taking payments: they save around 15 minutes per table on average.
They can focus on what they do best: serve your customers. QR codes are the best way to put online payment in place.
Now that you’ve read this article, you might be wondering if you can set up QR codes for your restaurant yourself or if you need a tech partner to help you do that. Actually, it depends on what you intend to do with your QR codes.
Free QR code generators can be readily found online. You’ll be able to use some basic design features in order to personalise your codes. This solution might be enough if you want to use QR codes to redirect your customers to your website: all you need is to pick a landing page, and it’s settled.
If you want to offer your customers more features (QR code payment for instance), you’ll need the expertise of a tech partner: the process is way more complex.
You’ll need a solution you can trust and that will integrate easily to your Point Of Sale (POS) system, accept online payments and respect your customers’ privacy.
We’ve kept all these things in mind while building and perfecting the sunday solution. Our final users love the experience so much that they order more food and leave more tips. If you’d like to try sunday, just reach out to us here.