Among all the industries that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospitality industry (including hotels, motels, restaurants, resorts, theme parks, pubs, clubs, and lounges) has taken the hardest hit. As of now, we are not entirely certain of what the industry will look like post-COVID-19. However, many restaurant and hotel owners are working hard to find solutions that will put their businesses in a position to stay strong and recover quickly once the crisis subsides.
One thing we are completely sure about is the fact that the coronavirus has really changed the way consumers and customers behave. In the post-COVID-19 world, we expect them to be more self-conscious about what they touch and where they dine. They will want to be assured that the hotels and restaurants they visit uphold and comply with stringent hygienic standards and protocols. Most customers will also favor establishments that strive to reduce the number of surfaces that their visitors, guests, and staff come into contact with.
While most businesses in hospitality follow the tradition of having physical menus and spend time, money, and resources to have an appealing design and effect on the customer, the reasons mentioned below force us to ask a question: “Are paper menus really beneficial nowadays?” Let’s have a look.
Challenges of Paper Menus
- Difficult to grab customers’ attention: Recent research has shown that 86% of customers regularly check restaurant menus online before they dine out. Customers sitting down at restaurants don’t really read the paper menus; they just quickly scan them. This means that physical menus simply have a very slim chance of making a significant impact.
- Slow to update in real time: Nobody wants to keep items that don’t sell well on the menu. Also, it costs time and money to change them on a traditional menu. When the ingredients for a popular dish run out or some of the items become unavailable, the servers need to remember to tell each new customer. Customers usually feel disappointed if their desired dish isn’t available and will need another few minutes to choose something else. In addition, questions like “Would you like to hear about our daily specials?” or “Can I take you through some of our favorite dishes?” can be reduced, especially during the busiest times of the day.
- Paper gets dirty and ruined easily: A freshly printed menu looks much more professional than one that is oil-stained. However, it is impossible to protect traditional paper menus from water, food, naughty kids, and everyday wear and tear. Paper is so fragile. If you put plastic covers on each page, then the waiting staff will have to spend extra time cleaning the covers. Moreover, many customers prefer to order without touching the menu due to hygiene concerns.
- Costly and time-consuming: Restaurant menus are updated an average of 3 times a year in order to adapt to customer needs, which obviously leads to high printing costs. For changes in the price of items or additions/deletions, you have to print a new menu. And if there is even a single printing error, you must reprint all of them.
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed that many business practices are obsolete. Business owners are scrambling for options that will help keep customers happy, employees working, and the business profitable. Thus, it is the perfect time for a digital transformation. Contactless digital menus have many advantages beyond the obvious. That goes not only for the time of the pandemic, but beyond this current crisis too. A well-executed menu transformation will ease the burden on many fronts. It can streamline operations without compromising on customer service, and it can also increase employee efficiency while reducing overhead costs.
Benefits of Digital Menus
- A better experience: Not only does a digital menu display food & beverages, it can also be highly beneficial for your restaurant, pub, or eatery in that it will improve the dining experience of your customers. Having a visual representation of the food can give customers a clear idea of how it looks, enrich their appetite, and motivate them to try new things.
- Highlight popular dishes: Your digital menu will be able to suggest food & beverages to customers according to what they are browsing and point them to the most popular dishes/daily specials. Highlight the food items that patrons might want to eat on a certain day of the week.
- Easy to update and manage: It’s quick and easy to update a digital menu. Want to add a daily special? Just take a photo, upload it, and add a description. If a dish has sold out, it can be archived or marked as out-of-stock in seconds. The same applies when it comes to changing the price of an item. With digital restaurant menus, updating prices has never been easier.
- Easily readable: Customers enjoy an easy-to-read menu. Digital menus are bright, clear, and vibrant, which makes it possible to read them at any time of day. Also, you can display the calorie & allergen content of each item to provide today’s health-conscious consumers with extra information. Using professionally taken photos of the dishes will make the digital menu pleasant to look at.
- Promotional purposes: Digital menus can be used very effectively for promotional purposes. A well-made digital menu will display advertisements to the customers while they are waiting or eating. They can display links to a restaurant’s website or social media page as well. You can also highlight the ‘meal of the day’ or some special offers.
- Manage content from anywhere: Another benefit of using digital menus is the capability to update, configure, and monitor them regardless of where you are located. For instance, with the ord2eat drag-and-drop interface, any content, sales, or marketing manager with an internet connection can access the digital menu anytime.
- Support for multiple languages: People are traveling more often, so you will likely be getting more customers who don’t speak English. Rather than having to translate your menu into different languages, you can use an app that does it for you. Diners can simply scan a QR code and obtain your menu in their language on their smartphones. This paper-free solution saves time and money. Additionally, it makes foreign customers feel more comfortable when placing an order, allowing them to fully enjoy the local cuisine as per their taste preferences.
- QR code functionality: One of the best ways to access a digital menu is to use what is known as a QR code. The “QR” stands for “Quick Response”, which is exactly what you want for your customers. As a mobile-friendly solution, the process is smooth and easy for customers. Pointing a phone camera at the QR code will trigger the link to appear and ask them if they would like to visit your digital menu webpage.
No matter the circumstances, there are always opportunities to find if you are open to looking. Having a well-designed touchless menu helps restaurants, pubs, and eateries gain exposure, increase awareness of their brand/offerings online, and improve the customer’s dining experience before, during, and after their visit. It is also a time-saving and cost-effective solution, enabling hospitality establishments to keep up with the continually increasing demands of diners. These menus are eco-friendly and coupling them with a marketing/communication strategy will move your business forward.
Now is the perfect time to undergo your menu transformation. Boost your establishment with an accessible, adaptable, and intelligent digital menu designed to improve service, cut costs, and increase revenue. Your customers are changing, and so should you.