Contactless Menus Taking Restaurants into the Digital Age

Featured Future of Work Smartphone Tech

As the world continues to adjust to the changes driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of businesses are turning to tech for answers.  With new health and safety guidelines driving re-opening, cleaning procedures, distancing, temperature screening, contactless interactions, and many other new policies are changing the way we interact with different brands.

For the restaurant industry, it’s been a particularly difficult time, with many having to close down temporarily – or permanently, in some cases – while others struggled to make rent and other payments from delivery or pickup revenues.  Now, as they are being allowed to re-open their on-premises dining facilities, they, too, must comply with new health mandates. 

One of the ways tech is coming to their aid is with touchless menus.  Digital menus aren’t new.  If you’re a frequent traveler, you have likely seen tablet-based menus in many airport restaurants.  But Uptown Network is taking it a step further.  While it does offer a tablet-based app, it is now bringing menus directly to customers’ mobile devices through the use of QR codes.

It’s a very simple process for diners.  Simply point your QR code reader at the sign on your table and be taken directly to an attractive, interactive digital menu.

In today’s digital world, it’s an easy process that customers are used to with all their online shopping and communication.  It also means they can access menus at any time, taking a small – but critical – but critical burden away from staff, who can then spend more time taking care of customers and making sure orders are prepared and delivered properly.  They also have more time to help maintain cleanliness in accordance with new guidelines.  It’s really a win-win for everyone.

For restaurant managers, creating an interactive, branded menu can take less than and hour and doesn’t require any IT skills.  In fact, Uptown Network specifically talks about it as a food service solution, not and IT solution, so it has to be user-friendly – for both restaurant staff and customers.

Customization and changing menus becomes a simple task with these digital menus.  Separate menus for happy hours, Sunday brunch, late-night dining, and daily specials are a breeze, including the ability to define when each menu is displayed.  There is no longer a need to swap out paper menus at different times of day, or to print new inserts every day for daily specials.  It’s also just as easy to change menu prices, again eliminating the need for printing new paper menus.

It’s not uncommon for restaurants to run out of certain items during the day – especially specials.  With the simply editing tool, it’s easy to remove items from the menu and avoid customer frustration when they try to order an unavailable item.  All updates are reflected on the digital menu within 30 seconds, and any changes can be done from any device using the web-based user interface.

There’s more… these digital menus can be easily translated into multiple languages, making it easy to accommodate diverse customer bases.  It can also be useful for ethnic restaurants that have traditionally featured native-language menus.  Now, they can easily provide them in English as well.

What’s more, Uptown Network provides menu analytics to help restaurant managers and owners better understand how their customers are interacting with the menus, what items are being viewed and not ordered, and which aren’t even being viewed.

It all points to a better restaurant experience for customers and staff.  Customers get a better experience, restaurants sage money on printing, managers and chefs have much more flexibility with menus, and it all happens while promoting less physical contact between customers and staff.  It also provides a consistent menu experience for customers ordering takeout – they can have access to exactly the same menus.

Like many businesses, restaurants have had access to digital menus.  Most simply have chosen not to implement them.  While nobody thinks COVID-19 is a good thing, it has driven many businesses to improve their operations through new technology – and that is a good thing.