restaurant with outdoor seating area

How Restaurants & Bars from New York to Toronto Thrived Using QR Codes Instead of Physical Menus

As lockdowns eased, many cities worldwide allowed restaurants and bars to open for outdoor dining (only). Cities such as Melbourne and Sydney are looking up to success stories in New York for inspiration to bring a much-needed boost to the struggling hospitality industry.

The biggest challenge to the reopenings was the safety of both guests and staff. Fortunately, technology presented the answer: a QR code scanner for online and dine-in orders. They were easily implementable, low-cost solutions that helped maintain the high service levels that restaurants wanted to offer their patrons.

Here’s how using QR codes for menus has helped venues in New York, Miami, Savannah, and Brooklyn thrive with outdoor dining during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is how they found success using a combination of brand reach and contactless menus!

Case 1: Barely Disfigured, New York, USA

@BARELYDISFIGURED “We wanted a Digital Menu to look like our brand”

Barely Disfigured’s promoters knew they did not want run-of-the-mill or boring QR codes to represent their eclectic brand. They wanted more than just a digitized version of their physical menu. Their digital menu had to match their brand; even the QR codes for their menu had to scream their brand identity. And that’s precisely what they did. They commissioned a custom QR code menu for online orders and in-restaurant dining, which became the best QR menu in the city.

Their QR code looked so cool that New York Instagrammers scrambled to take photos alongside the craft cocktails of Barely Disfigured – check out their Instagram stories!

While the QR code scanner for online orders became a bigger hit than expected, it was also highly utilitarian. The QR code for their menu also notified their Instagram followers that they had a safe, contactless menu, putting their guests at ease and encouraging them to visit. With staff no longer needing to clean menus or distribute them to tables, they were able to focus on explaining their menu and save valuable time.

QR code for the menu had a two-pronged impact. It helped the restaurant build a safer eating space for its guests while freeing up the staff to deliver a service worthy of revisits and reorders by customers.

Case 2: Lulu’s Chocolate Bar, Savanah, USA

@Lulu’s Chocolate Bar “The Orderlina Menu was a game changer for us”

Even after the COVID-19 restrictions were implemented, Lulu’s continued to offer outdoor dining, curbside pick-ups, and home deliveries.

To grow their customer base, they turned to social media marketing. Leveraging their Instagram & Facebook following, they started posting about their contactless menus. In fact, they added their menu link to their Instagram bio and planted an “Order Food” button on Facebook. Guests could order in advance, pay, and pick up curbside after receiving an SMS when their order was ready.

To quote the owner, “The Orderlina QR Menu was a game-changer for us.” With such visual products and a large social media following, they could put their menu in front of a large audience who could order directly from their mobiles. Guests could access their menus on their social media profiles and scan QR menus outside the store or from tables outside.

Lulu’s Chocolate Bar turned an existential threat into an opportunity by simply moving to a digital platform like Orderlina and getting a QR code for menu.

Case 3: Harvest Restaurant, Whitby, Canada

@Harvest “Improved Service Levels….more 5 -star reviews”

This family-run establishment is located just outside of Toronto. They are a local favorite. After emerging from the lockdown, they acknowledged that maintaining their standard service levels for their huge outdoor dining patio was going to be a challenge. With limited staff, they soon turned to hospitality technology to set up a QR code menu for their guests.

Harvest Restaurant was initially worried their guests would not respond well to the digital menu. Most of their patrons are old friends, and they knew they would dish it out to them. They were especially concerned that the technical aspect of the menu would rob the cozy charm of the family-run restaurant. But, when they implemented the QR code scanner for online and offline orders, they were in for a pleasant surprise. The convenience of having a menu on hand at all times and being able to order without waiting for a staff member was a big draw for the guests.

Jennifer and her husband found that they could focus on guest interactions without the back and forth of bringing menus and taking orders. Guests were doing this themselves. “With a 95% adoption rate for our QR Menu, our service levels improved dramatically,” says Jennifer. “With just two wait staff, we could manage over 50 tables. Since we’ve introduced QR table ordering, we’ve also seen an increase in our 5-star reviews. Guests come in, scan the QR, and start ordering via our booking platform. In fact, guests appreciated that they could order on demand.”

Case 4: Salt Cafe, Miami Florida, USA