The restaurant industry in India for a long had been following the traditional way of doing business until the global pandemic stirred things up. Tight margins, low sales and rapidly changing markets demanded restaurants to do something different to get profits back on track.
In order to stay afloat, restaurants across the country took the aid of technology to create a better customer experience, hygiene and safety, increased sales, and improved operations. To allow guests to order and pay for food without a physical exchange of employees, most chains and independent restaurants upgraded their digital systems and back-end. Standing at the forefront was the concept of no-touch ordering and payment methods, largely driven by QR codes in the form of digital menus.
According to the estimates from the PRIME (POSist Restaurant Industry & Market Evolution) Report, nearly one-third of restaurants in India are actively using QR code ordering technology since the Covid-19 hit. It has been further speculated that 80 per cent of restaurants in the country will adopt QR codes and other online ordering technologies by the end of 2021.
“Contactless dining tools such as QR codes, touchless payment options, and digital receipts help restaurants maintain basic hygiene as well as optimize their resources,” said Ashish Tulsian, Co-founder, POSist who believed that QR code technology has remained an underrated technology to connect and transact in India.
Adopting QR-based technology
In terms of the restaurant’s digital presence, QR codes can easily be implemented across the front of the restaurant, website and social channels. This makes the operation seamless for the customers in terms of adding themselves to a virtual waitlist, booking future reservations, checking out menus before dining in or ordering right away without waiting for the waiter.
“The digital menu acted as a saviour for us during the pandemic. We introduced the QR code menu as a safety measure in July and luckily, our customers and staff appreciated given the circumstances. We have realised that along with providing safety, the digital menu has helped us stay professional and has made us more efficient, all while saving paper,” pointed Tenzin Thardoe, Founder and Director of Ama Café.
QR code features are highly customisable which comes as an advantage for a restaurant. One can personalise the look and feel and edit the menu as frequent as possible. QR codes can also be used to market more products to customers. For instance, a diner orders today’s special, which only consists of an appetizer and main course. Since the process is digital, restaurants can choose to up sell other food items which may eventually help boost sales and profits.
“While these menus allow guests to only remain in contact with their personal gadgets, from an operations perspective we can constantly add items that are more seasonal in nature that allows us to keep us with the ethos of seasonal tastes,” added Amanpreet Matharu, Director Food and Beverages, The Westin Gurgaon, New Delhi.
Dishes that are not available cannot be efficiently removed from the physical paper menu and becomes a costly affair to re-print everything. However, through the QR menu, the list can be updated with complete efficiency at any time, instantly, and without the customer noticing it.
“Guests at my restaurant prefer a digital menu over paper menu books. In the age where everything is coming online then why not menus," commented Jeewan Kwatra - Founder and Owner, Bob's Den Café.
Hence, we say that the technological revolution that started out of the fear of virus spread is here to stay as not just the owners but the customers also like the idea of it.
Edited By: Nusra