It’s no secret that we’ve be thrown into using technology within the food industry like never before. Since March, when the COVID-19 pandemic caused the first lockdown in the United States, food businesses everywhere have scrambled to stay in the forefront of consumer’s minds as the best option for their dining needs. And it didn’t take too long to figure out that paper menus and a lack of an online presence could completely wipe a restaurant off the map. Over the last few months, we’ve witnessed the return of old technology — like QR codes, and the implementation of new technology on the restaurant scene. But truth be told, it all comes down to your restaurant menu. Is your menu safe? Is your menu contactless? Is it accessible? A smart menu is all of these things and more. Never heard of one? You’re about to.
To give you a little backstory, MenuCalc has been on the map for about 17 years through it’s founding company, FoodCalc. In those 17 years, we’ve painstakenly watched as technology was always placed on the back burner for simpler methods of operation. (Heck, just last year, restaurants were still using a pad of paper and a pen to take orders.) Technology in the restaurant space, outside of POS systems and maybe a tableside tablet for gaming and payment processing, was just “nice to have”. Fast forward to March 2020 and technology became the only way to safely operate a restaurant. And we’ll be honest, before March, we didn’t think we would be where we are today for several years yet.
However, in today’s pandemic-laden environment, a safe menu is a smart menu. And a smart menu can only be described as a contactless, interactive, data-center that allows your restaurant to operate efficiently while maintaining the health and safety of both your staff members as well as your diners.
Sounds like a lot to unpack huh? Well let us break it down for you, one feature at a time.
Remember how we mentioned the return of old technology? A few years ago, QR scanners were used to scan little square-shaped bar codes that held a secret promotion. Or in the sake of Snapchat, an entire social profile! Either way, they were a means to an end, and as it turns out, they may have been a little ahead of their time. Until now, no one truly understood the benefit of using this contactless technology for multiple purposes.
In the case of our smart menu, these QR codes become dynamic– which means they can change over time. When you begin building your smart menu with MenuCalc, a QR code becomes your diner’s first access point to your restaurant menu. However, over time, you can use the same QR code to begin to craft their user experience while navigating your website. A QR code is scannable ticket that can take your user any place you would like them to go. For functionality’s sake, especially during the pandemic, the QR codes we provide are first and foremost used to keep your menu contactless. But after COVID-19? Sky is the limit.
A traditional menu is typically a list of items on a PDF or webpage that sits on your site so your customers can decide what to order. And until now, what else did you need out of a menu? Well when we went back to the drawingboard in the beginning of the pandemic, the MenuCalc team realized that you could actually be needing a lot more than you ever thought. Pre-pandemic, the user experience on a website was becoming more refined, more customized. Consumers were demanding a personalized experience where they felt personally taken care of, even when it was on another business’ website. And the same rang true for restaurants.
So when our team began to envision what we wanted our Smart Menu to look like, we thought about all of the ways that the customer could enjoy interacting with the menu. And we created the opportunity for the diner to not only alter existing items, but create a personalized profile based upon their preferences. What would it mean to your business to capture your ideal customer, and then understand exactly what they prefer on your menu? Now you can.
And honestly, that wasn’t enough. We wanted to add onto our personalized, interactive qualities of our smart-menu by giving the restaurant itself and inside look at how their customers were interacting with their menu items, down to the individual ingredients. What would it mean to you to discover that your specialty sandwich was ordered without cheese 50% of the time? What would it mean for your cost? What could that do for your profit margins?
What if you could track where your diner was coming from and create a correlation between location and menu preference? How could that impact the menu items you test? Or what you choose to serve to that particular dining audience in that specific demographic?
When we began to envision the smart menu, complete with analytics, we wanted to offer the restaurant a bird’s eye view of their direct audience preference along with the ability to connect with them through specific retargeting efforts. And to think, it took an entire pandemic to bring us here. A smart menu during a time like this isn’t just smart and safe, it’s necessary. We’re sure you’ll agree.
There isn’t enough time or space here to capture all that the MenuCalc Smart Menu can offer. But you can find out more by scheduling a private demo with us. Click here to choose a time that works for you and your team. We can’t wait to connect with you.