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# Business development

Digital menus for hotels and restaurants: Full implementation guide

Red Rocket team
Red Rocket teamJul 5, 20246 min read
The owners of food and accommodation establishments are always annoyed that paper versions of menus are often damaged. This forces them to change such menus on a regular basis, allocating a part of their planned budget to them. Moreover, printed paper menus are actually an unhygienic product. They can be touched by several hundred different people during a whole working day. What solution should restaurants, cafes, and hotels choose to serve their customers efficiently and comfortably?
In 2024, digital menus can be found in almost every establishment, including large companies like McDonald's or local small restaurants. That is why restaurants, cafes, and hotels that are slow to implement modern solutions are experiencing lower profits, lower customer loyalty, and lack of additional reach in digital channels. Would you like to know how to set up a QR code menu? In this article we have prepared a QR menu implementation guide for business owners.
Digital menus for hotels and restaurants: Full implementation guide

What is a Digital Menu?

Let us first tell you more about what a digital menu is. Actually, it has many names, among which are e-menu, QR code and online menu. There are some differences between these digital menu options, which we will talk about a bit later. The main thing they have in common is the absence of the usual printed menu.
Customers and cafe staff can save a lot of time by having built-in digital menu board software. Guests enter the establishment, sit down at the table and don't wait for a waiter to get to them. They independently scan the menu that is on the table and start choosing the desired dishes. The menu can be placed on a special tablet - this is another option among contactless menu solutions.

Types of Digital Menus

As we have said above, HoReCa digital solutions is a general term that covers different variants of non-printed menus. We have collected all the main types of such technologies that are used by both global companies and small businesses.
QR code

QR code

The easiest types of digital menus include QR code menus, which are integrated with traditional paper-based menus. These can be printed or written on paper menus like the normal menu cards or can be written on paper or billboards throughout the restaurant. To order, customers just have to use their own smartphone’s camera to scan the QR code that leads to an online menu. The online menu can also be easily changed without having to redo the menus in some way.
Mobile apps

Mobile apps

Today most of the hotels and many restaurant chains have been developing their own dedicated mobile applications. Some of the services that customers can find in the app include digital menus which they may download. Digital menus that are developed in the form of applications enable restaurants to offer a large number of functional features, such as the use of photos and descriptions of dishes, allergenic filters, and direct order. The disadvantage of restaurant menu app is that independent establishments could be limited by their size and may not be able to create their own app.
Interactive boards

Interactive boards

Just remember the technology that the major players in the fast food market around the world began to introduce a few years ago. McDonald's, KFC, Starbucks and other companies are installing special interactive boards in their restaurants. Guests view menus on a large digital board, can filter dishes, change ingredients and place an order. Moreover, such e-menu for restaurants can easily incorporate a contactless payment system. This approach helps to optimally distribute the workload across the entire establishment so that workers behind the cash register have more time.
Display menus

Display menus

Some restaurants, cafes or hotels employ the use of basic touch devices such as tablets or even TV screens, which can display your menu on the digital platform. However, they don't offer complex settings for proper menu design or the abilities to incorporate features such as online ordering. As for the advantages of using display menus, they are flexibility and actual savings on the paper menus.

Benefits of Digital Menus

It is no secret that most companies around the world have started to implement new contactless technologies since the advent of Covid-19. In this article we have collected for you maximum information about the opportunities of the mobile ordering system for HoReCa segment.
  • Quick, precise, and accurate. The virtual menu gives instant access to information about dishes: shows sections, quality photo, description, cost, estimated cooking time. Unlike its printed predecessors, the electronic menu is always free and available to any number of guests.
  • Easy menu changes. Creating menus electronically reduces printing costs to zero. A digital menu, when properly implemented, allows you to make any changes quickly and virtually free of charge: adjust the price, add/remove dishes, change the description and even increase the specified cooking time in case of high kitchen utilization.
  • Safe. Think about how many people before you have touched a paper menu. Now you realize that it is not safe in terms of hygiene. Touchless menu for bars or cafes, available on the customer's own gadgets, eliminates contact with the waiter.
  • New customers. The ability to access the link allows you to attract customers outside the restaurant, reaching a new audience. The link to the website menu can be indicated in the company's card in Google Maps, in social networks, messengers and e-mailings.
As you may have already realized, there are many reasons to learn right now how to set up a QR code menu.

How to implement?

Adapting digital menus to your restaurant or hotel services can upgrade your consumer experience while also serving as an effective management tool for your line of business. To switch from conventional printed menus to modern, smart menus for restaurants, try the following step-by-step guide.
How to implement

Step 1. Select the digital menu type

First, decide which kind of digital menu is the most appropriate for your restaurant, bar, or hotel. We have already described above what popular digital menu options for HoReCa exist today. You need to analyze and determine which option will be optimal for your business. For example, QR codes are considered the most common type of digital menu. Why is it so? They are easy to implement into the system, they don't require special maintenance, and they help the company's employees work efficiently.

Step 2. Design creation

Now you should create a beautiful and distinctive interface of a digital product that will stand for the atmosphere of your venue. It is also important to provide additional images and information while presenting a menu: photos of meals, drinks, etc. The layout should be clean and clear, and the user should not get lost trying to find a particular item or piece of information. Also remember to use clear fonts and make the text readable.

Step 3. Connect to the POS system

The next step you should take is to implement the new e-menu with the systems you use. Integration with your POS system provides specific advantages such as:
  • Orders placed by guests are instantly transferred to the kitchen. The waiter does not need to manually transfer this information.
  • Excellent inventory management.
  • Updating prices on all the devices at the same time.
This way, discuss with your software provider to ensure that appropriate APIs are developed for the new digital menus to integrate with other POS systems.

Step 4. Personnel training

It doesn't matter what type of digital menu you choose to implement, your staff needs to be trained on how to interact with such software. Working with digital menus is much different on the customer side and on the employee side. Provide training on how to use the new type of menu, how to properly take, transfer orders, and even make menu changes.

Step 5. Maintain the software

Do not allow your new digital menu solution to become an out-of-date issue. Schedule time to go back and make changes – whether it’s updating the images with current eats or optimizing the wording of the menus to fit better into a search engine or focusing on weekly features. Adhere to solutions on how to use the device, for instance having protective casing and regular updates of the operating system.

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Conclusion

When you have already implemented a digital menu in your restaurant, cafe, or hotel, don't be silent about it. Tell on your Instagram about the integration of smart technologies that have a positive impact on both guests and employees. As recent statistics show, custom digital menus for restaurants reduce wait times by 10-15%. This is an amazing figure that will help you fulfill more orders and, of course, generate more monthly revenue.
We realize that undertaking a digital transformation of a restaurant on your own can be a daunting task for those who have not had previous experience with such challenges. That is why Red Rocket Software is here. We can help you with contactless menu solutions for your business, be it a restaurant, cafe or even a hotel.

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