Why QR codes are terrible for restaurants? 🤯
The story of why some things shouldn't be digitised.
Welcome to the 143rd edition of the GrowthX Newsletter. Every Tuesday & Thursday I write a piece on startups & business growth. Today’s piece is going to 95,300+ operators & leaders from startups like Google, Stripe, Swiggy, Razorpay, CRED & more
Fact : I love UPI QR codes for payments.
Also a fact : I hate restaurant menu QR codes.
How restaurants are losing money with QR codes ⬇️
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Quick context 🗓
Menus were first introduced to the western world in 1770s, and for 240+ years there was hardly any innovation.
The pandemic trigger 😷
Restaurateurs were forced to rethink dine-in Menu cards as per covid-19 protocol. The timing couldn’t have been better to introduce QR code Menus.
Fast forward 2023 ⚡️
QR code based menus have completely replaces physical menu cards. You could hardly find a restaurant with a physical hard cover menu.
Why digital → physical reversal didn’t happen? 🥺
Restaurant owners & staff love QR codes ❤️
They can have limited staff to serve the same capacity of dine-in customers. It’s just better margins with no-one required to take orders. Definitely a delta 4 product for restaurant owners.
But, the reason goes deeper 🎯
From an operating point of view, digital menus are a saviour - seasonal items can be listed and taken off without any challenge, specialities can be highlighted, and price can be updated keeping up with the ethos of services.
Plus, pricing changes became smooth 💰
Adding / removing items for a paper menu has always been a challenge. With digital menus - the life is one edit away. No more scratch priced menus - customers hardly observe any price increase.
Most diners hate digital menus 🥺
The problem with random pdf menu with tiny word size is just cumbersome to read & order from. So many times I have just ordered the usual and stuck to the cuisine I already know from the menu than scouting through the options.
Loss of business in plain sight 👀
Every time you go to a restaurant with QR code based menus, the user interface is just bad - makes me feel like “Why am I being confused purposefully?”
It’s causing a specific behaviour 💔
Most diners look at the menu(s) for once and then they just close that Menu. This is stark difference in behaviour compared to physical menu(s) - customers used to check Menu for starters, main course & even desserts. With digital menu(s) - the effort is too much to “figure out what to order”, causing lower average bill amount per table.
No wonder premium diner places (think Hilton, Taj, Marriott) still carry elegant physical menu(s) & deeply understand this nuance. So if you are a dine-in restaurants, rethink your QR code Menu(s).
That’s all on QR codes for now 😆
If you have been paying attention - you will realise “digital transformation” for every freaking thing might not be the right thing to do for customer experience - doesn’t matter if it’s great for productising your service.
Ask your team - what all product experiences have you productised that has created a sub-par customer experience? - you are leaving money on the table.
Customer experience for basket size increase is critical 🙇🏻♂️
Especially when you spend so much cash upfront to acquire that customer. That’s why we built an exhaustive monetisation framework at GrowthX. It has helped over 2,000 startups solve their revenue capture framework. If you are thinking of monetising your product right now - GrowthX is the tribe you need.
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