Adopting QR Order & Pay can help struggling restaurants rebound
By Eric Seymour, vice president of channel programs at me&u USA
Despite record sales in 2023, the restaurant industry remains fragmented. While takeout, delivery, drive-through and curbside sales are above pre-pandemic levels, according to the National Restaurant Association, on-site restaurant traffic lags.
Furthermore, the cost of essential operational products and services has continued to rise. In 2022, 88% of restaurant operators reported higher food and beverage costs compared to 2019, while 94% said their other operating expenses, including supplies and general administrative costs, had also increased beyond 2019 levels.
In a 2023 survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association, restaurant operators said they are dealing with a tight labor market, with 79% reporting difficulty in hiring and 62% indicating they are currently understaffed. Even before the Great Resignation, restaurants struggled with staffing. Workers have proven difficult to retain due to extended hours, low wages and burnout. The pandemic and ensuing shutdown exacerbated these challenges, prompting restaurant employees to leave the industry with no desire to come back.
The Growing Demand for Technological Innovation
The pandemic pushed restaurants to adopt digital tools and online sales channels for survival. Previously slow to modernize, restaurants now embrace technology more than ever. According to PYMNTS, approximately 55% of restaurants have implemented curbside pickup, and 50% offer mobile order-ahead.
In fact, technology is helping restaurants overcome several of the hurdles they face today. A 2022 survey indicates that 75% of restaurant operators plan to welcome new technology to address labor and cost issues. Consumer demands for innovation are intensifying, with 70% expressing interest in using tech like AI voice assistants and smartphone apps. And, according to the National Restaurant Association, close to 60 percent of adults anticipate using their smartphones to access essential restaurant services, such as placing food orders.
An increasing number of quick-service and casual dining establishments are turning to QR code-based ordering methods to enhance their efficiency. Patrons simply use their smartphone cameras to access a digital menu and submit orders, eliminating the need for traditional paper menus or direct interaction with waitstaff. This year, approximately 90 percent of smartphone users will utilize QR codes. Adopting QR code technology for ordering not only taps into this expanding customer base but also positions businesses more competitively, elevating the dining experience and bolstering revenue.
Boosting Efficiency and Profitability
Not all QR technology is created equal. Persistent pain points can be compounded by outdated QR menus, which adopt a cumbersome hybrid approach, combining online and offline elements in the ordering process without delivering any substantial time or financial benefits to restaurants. To effectively address these challenges, the adoption of advanced, genuinely helpful QR Order & Pay technology is becoming increasingly attractive to restaurants.
More than just a visual menu, the more advanced QR Order & Pay solutions represent a smarter, more efficient way for restaurants to operate by minimizing order errors, enhancing guest communication and elevating the overall dining experience.
One key advantage is that it allows guests to exert greater control over their orders. It significantly boosts guest satisfaction by streamlining processes, freeing up more of the servers’ time for more personalized interactions. This, in turn, enables restaurants to manage larger sections with fewer servers. QR Order & Pay technology can slash restaurant labor costs by 30% to 50% by reducing or eliminating the need for servers to take orders and handle payments.
By collecting data on guest preferences, restaurants can also predict ordering patterns, leading to cost reductions and decreased food waste. The payment process is made hassle-free, secure and fraud-preventive, eliminating the need for manual calculations.
Incorporating visual menus, product prompts and recommendation algorithms, QR Order & Pay technology encourages customers to spend more, with an average increase of up to 30%. It empowers waitstaff to better connect with guests. Furthermore, the technology’s remarketing tools, marketing opt-in and loyalty features help capture critical data on restaurant customers, encouraging them to come back more often.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eric Seymour is the vice president of channel programs at me&u USA. Launched in 2017, me&u was conceptualized by founder Stevan Premutico to transform the traditional ordering experience in a bid to solve deep-rooted structural issues that have been the Achilles heel of the hospitality industry for decades. The technology is not just a digital menu but one that is intelligent and highly personalized to the ordering experience for both the customer and venue.
For more information, visit meandu.com.