As summer winds down and we begin to move into the colder months, the dining options for consumers and restaurants alike are looking a little bleak. This time last year, most restaurants were preparing for a busy back-to-school season, readying their dining-room for more foot traffic and even testing recipes for their seasonal menu change. I believe it is safe to say that that’s not quite the case this year. Restaurants are not only scrambling for ideas to target consumers but are battling against unemployment rates requiring a price drop of menu items as well as an impeding flu season on top of the already industry-altering COVID-19 pandemic. If you are reading this and are one of the many restaurants facing these hurdles, you are not alone, and there are options out there for you to rely to get you through the upcoming season of uncertainty. Many restaurant owners have sought to digitize their menu in order to cut down on the spend for physical material and as a means of safety. The less of paper trail there is, the less potential for contact and therefore, disease spread. If you haven’t considered digitizing your menu just yet, and are curious as to what this actually means and how you can achieve it, we’re here to help.
As previously mentioned, many restaurants have went “contactless” by the use of a QR code. Popular just a few short years ago, a QR code is a type of barcode that allows the consumer to view data digitally. In the past, these codes were used for “hidden” promotions and became the foundation for a very popular social media app, Snapchat, who used these QR codes to share profile information from user to user. Over the last year or so, the QR code had begun to slowly fade out.
Fast forward to 2020 and QR codes are making a huge comeback in the food industry, allowing consumers to dine safely and reduce the amount of contact from staff to customer. Using a QR code scanner, a diner has the ability to view the restaurant menu digitally, and even place their order, without leafing through a physical menu. The ability to scan a QR code is just step one in digitizing your menu. With a QR code, a diner can simply scan and be taken to a restaurant’s online menu and complete the ordering and checkout process as they would when ordering for delivery. This not only cuts down on the paper trail, but also the time it takes for staff to enter in items to communicate with the kitchen staff, reducing turnaround times from order placement to table.
With the large majority of consumers still opting for delivery over dining out, it’s been crucial for restaurants to pivot to an expanded online menu. Instead of menus that contain a PDF file with a list of available menu items, the restaurants seeing the most business have menus that consumers are able to interact with, offer customized ordering and bring their diner straight to checkout with only a few clicks of a button. Many of these expanded menus also offer nutritional information as well as the ability to re-target a diner for repeat business all built-in to one central zone. By digitizing your menu, your menu becomes a multifaceted tool that is essentially the hub of your customer interaction.
Every restaurant, big and small, has had to overcome the hurdle of establishing sound communication lines with their customer base to garner repeat business. And every business, big and small, has felt the impact of those well-established communication lines dismantling in the wake of COVID-19. With a digitized menu, restaurants now have the option of building an even firmer foundation.
Platforms like MealBuilder afford restaurants the opportunity to have their diners create a personalized profile which includes their order history as well as their dietary preferences and in turn uses this information to re-target the consumer with promotions via SMS, social media and email. MealBuilder saves your marketing team precious time and in some cases, provides a digital marketing team to smaller restaurants by automating the marketing process.
Menu Digitization Webinars
If you are among the thousands of restaurants who need to digitize, or perhaps you have but want to expand or add on an automated marketing arm, MenuCalc holds free online educational webinars for restaurant professionals. Register for our upcoming webinar here and discover how you can utilize platforms like MealBuilder to start digitizing your menu so you can be prepared for the months ahead.