QR Codes And Your Complete Restaurant Overhaul

As it is today there are already places with a touch screen built into the tabletop where patrons can click the touch-screen to place their orders and food is brought to them as soon as it is ready.  It is the wave of the future.  I’m sure there are some who feel this detracts from the overall restaurant experience where there is a formal waiter / waitress experience and a fancy tablecloth and possibly a flaming dessert display.  However, in our increasingly technological world, there are many who would rather click a screen if it means getting food faster and easier.  Those are the people than can benefit from this idea.


The touch-screen idea is great, however, it involves one major change to implement this in your restaurant, you need to install touch-screens all over your restaurant at every table.  This is nothing if not a very expensive prospect.  So why not recreate the effect with a QR coded menu.  Diners would be seated at a normal every day table and given a menu with a QR code associated with each dish.  The diners would then scan the QR code of the dishes they want, including appetizers, desserts, drinks, etc.  Scanning the code would link to the restaurant mainframe which would create a line item ordering system for the kitchen.  For the guest, all the QR code would return is a simple message, such as thank you, your order for the mozzarella sticks has been placed.  But for the restaurant it would transmit the information exactly where it needs to go.  Now this whole scenario works ideally if the menus are table specific, therefore each QR code is not only for a specific food item, but also for a specific table.  This could be easily accomplished by having numbered menus or even affixing the menus to the tables – still a much cheaper option than affixing touch-screen displays.  This would also allow the guest to continue to order throughout their meal.  Need another drink?  Go ahead and scan it, want a second helping of fries?  Go ahead and scan it.  As the codes would be table specific the diner could even receive a tally of the items ordered every time they scan, possibly including their total bill at that point.


This could also change the way things work in the kitchen.  If all of the orders placed are being done so electronically, why couldn’t the QR code system also keep track of the restaurant inventory.  You would need to start it with a base supply system, but after that the codes could track how much of each item was used each day.  Therefore, it could provide alerts when items are running low.  Or, even better, it could link to an automated site where orders for the low inventory products are immediately placed.  It could also change the way the individual food orders are processed.  Instead of having one server deal with all aspects of a table’s food, including drinks, appetizers, entrees, and dessert, the servers could be specialized to a course or a section of the menu.  This would allow faster service and processing as the orders come through to the kitchen, as certain employees are only looking for certain items.


There is some complication to this overhaul, of course, which had to do with the role of the server.  Perhaps they could no longer be compensated as servers due to the fact that tips would not be the same for this type of ordering / food delivery set up.  Some sort of change would need to be made here as well.  But for a world of tech savvy & hungry people, this could be the restaurant of the future, and perhaps the change is worth it.  As I’ve said, this is not an idea for everyone, not for every restaurant owner, and not for every patron.  There are certainly those who will never find computerized ordering an acceptable substitute for the restaurant experience, and that is fine.  But this is the type of new experience that could catch on quickly today, especially among our younger generations.  It certainly would be a great new trend to get in on from the beginning.