COVID-19 has changed our lives irrevocably. Every people-centric business – airlines, gyms, salons, theaters, and others – bore the brunt of this unprecedented event. The pandemic has laid to waste the decade-long boom in the hospitality sector. The impact was so profound that the industry is yet to recover from it. The precautionary measures that followed the slow opening will be around for a long time to come.
People’s anxiety will flare up with every new variant of the virus. The strict guidelines that accompany new strains of the virus will ensure social distancing and reduce or even prevent physical contact among people. All of this is important for the hospitality industry. The primary source of contact for restaurants is their paper menus. So, instead of resorting to patchwork, restaurants have moved away from paper menus and are transitioning to menu boards, disposable menus, and QR menus.
As the world is gradually recovering from the damages inflicted by the coronavirus, many countries have allowed the reopening of businesses as well as restaurants. However, strict guidelines ensure social distancing is practiced, and people generally avoid physical contact. So, out go paper menus in come the menu boards, disposable menus, and QR Menus.
Therefore, the restaurant industry must revise its working conditions. They are the places where people gather and also where many hands handle equipment (utensils and menus).
Even governments have advised restaurants to switch from regular to contactless menus to avoid the spread of germs while running the business as usual. So, what options are available to a restaurant owner? Let’s explore.
Digital Menu Boards
You might have seen the large LED boards behind the counters at McDonald’s, Burger King, and KFC. These boards use digital menu software for TV and are considered a safe way to avoid using regular menus. However, their delicate hardware and high installation costs put digital menu boards outside the budget of most restaurants. An average digital board costs about $600. By the way, those are not the ones you see at your local McDonald’s. Multinational companies and chain restaurants are using way more expensive gadgetry.
While digital menu boards may make sense for big corporations like Burger King, KFC, or McDonald’s, they are just not a feasible or smart choice for smaller restaurants.
QR Scan Menus
QR code menus are a more economical alternative. As the world collectively moves towards socially distant wining & dining, QR menus are emerging as the most reliable forms of COVID contactless menus.
These menus don’t require any heavy installation or hardware. All you do is place a QR code printed on a table or your restaurant wall and let the menu board software do the rest for you. Customers can scan the code using their phone’s camera, a QR code scanner, or Google Lens as they sit down.
Immediately, hungry customers are directed to a digital menu where they can build their order. Want more? Get supplemental features like order placement and seamless order payment in one window. So, once your customer has scanned the QR code, they can browse the menu, order what they want, and even pay for it. That’s 100% contactless!
Any QR Scan menu is only as good as the service provider behind it. Here’s the list of top providers of software for digital menu boards.
Beaconstac is a marketing software that provides contactless digital solutions to restaurants and retail businesses of all sizes. To serve the rising demand for contactless menus, they have recently released their COVID-19 QR code menu generator for restaurants.
The Beaconstac software for digital menu boards offers an easy-to-use drag-and-drop builder that enables you to build a responsive and interactive menu for your restaurant. It allows restaurant customers to gain greater control over their menu as they can customize the items as per their unique preferences.
As the software stores cookies, it enables restaurants to show tailored advertisements to their visitors about the latest deals and menu additions.
Presto is a big player producing contactless dining utilities. Major companies with 300,000+ customers use Presto’s contactless QR code menus.
The digital menu software company launched its special COVID program, which includes contactless ordering and payments directly integrated into the restaurant’s POS system. Presto also provides custom-made table cards with integrated QR codes.
Besides the basic features, Presto also offers advanced add-ons like a digital waitlist, order history per customer, and more. As the customer orders using the menu more frequently, the software learns from their behavior and starts making personalized recommendations, making the menu even more convenient to use for them.
Price: Free right now(due to COVID 19).
Orderlina has designed its business around serving customers in a contactless environment. This specialization and hence the attention to detail is what sets it apart from its competitors. It is a web-based application that offers a highly responsive, interactive, and unique dining experience.
Their software for digital menu boards offers you a complete contactless menu solution. Restaurants can use table cards with printed QR codes that direct users to the restaurant’s digital menu.
The slickest feature in Orderlina’s menus is the functionality to order from the restaurant nearest to the user’s location. Restaurants can also easily create different menus for Takeaways, Curbside orders, and Order-In-Advance setups. Once the menus are created, they can be shared on Facebook or Instagram with just a click.
Such varied menus help reduce rush at meal times, optimize the use of resources, and improve customer satisfaction. With limited seating available in restaurants after the COVID havoc, such graded menus prove to be revenue boosters.
Above all, Orderlina is exceptionally user-friendly. So, you can customize your menu, integrate POS services into the contactless menu, and manage orders better.
In the spirit of improving order management, Orderlina also introduced self-managed delivery for its clients. A self-managed delivery is a zero-commission delivery, which became a massive hit during the pandemic and continues to be one of their best features.
Price: $0-$19-$99/ month
Lunchbox is an end-to-end digital ordering suite for restaurant owners. With Lunchbox, you are not merely creating a digital menu; you are entering an online ordering program. Lunchbox offers complete restaurant services, including menus, ordering, payments, POS integration, and deliveries. No wonder it is the most expensive service provider on the list.
Since Lunchbox enjoys access to all restaurant data, it also focuses on generating customer insights for its clients to tweak menu items, refocus marketing efforts, and improve sales.
This slightly advanced platform seeks to offer a complete technology solution to restaurants. Lunchbox works well for restaurants looking to completely change how they interact with their customers, especially online.
The software offers a bare-bones approach to contactless ordering for restaurants. Customers can scan their QR code and instantly fetch the menu. However, since it is a view-only menu, your restaurant will have to take the order from the guest. Needless to say, it cannot support home deliveries or curb deliveries.
Restaurants can use the software for digital menu boards to register their location, create a menu, and then offer a Scanour menu at their establishment. While it is easy to use, the software does not offer many features. The digital menu software does not offer POS integration, multiple tagging (gluten-free, spice level, dietary restrictions, etc.) of the dishes, or Orders History. It’s the most basic restaurant software for digital menu boards.
Price: Free Until Sept 2020 then $25-$45/month per location)
Finedinemenu is another digital menu service provider. They offer three solutions to restaurants – table menu, drive-in QR menu, and delivery and pick-up menu. They also have three different payment plans. Interestingly, all their payment plans include all the features of the software. What changes with each plan is the number of QR codes you register with them. In the case of deliveries, the plan prices differ depending on the number of monthly orders.
You can add as many items as you want to the menu, enjoy commission-free deliveries, and integrate 30+ platforms.
Finedinemenu also captures real-time order data to allow restaurants to make data-backed decisions. The AI-powered digital menu software analyzes the ordering patterns of customers to reveal the most preferred items on the menu. Restaurants can use the intelligence to create better marketing campaigns, add new menu items, and improve sales.
Creating a Next-Gen Restaurant
Those were the top 6 COVID menu providers for hotels and restaurants. These software solutions for digital menu boards are helping hotels and restaurants become “immune” to any COVID-like situation in the future. Through their service, utility, and ease of use, all these service providers have proven themselves to be highly reliable.
That said, Orderlina has the edge over the others because of its perfect blend of features, convenience, and affordability. It comes with a user-friendly interface, quick setup, and low use cost. All of these factors make it a restaurateur’s favorite.
Markets, industries, and world economies are changing faster than ever. The only way to stay relevant in such a rapidly evolving environment is to become adaptable. COVID-19 may have been an unprecedented event, but it showed us that we should be ready to tackle such unforeseen circumstances to stay in business.
These were the top 6 COVID menu providers hotels and restaurants. All of these service providers are extremely reliable and easy to use for all people.
As the world is changing, we must be ready to adapt ourselves to that change. COVID 19 is also an example of such change. We must make sure that we can tackle such situations to keep ourselves on track for success. I recommend restaurants to use Orderlina because due to its gorgeous interface, fast set up, and low-cost entry point.