QR Code At-Table Ordering Brings Holiday Cheer to Restaurants, Staff, and Guests
The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year, and according to 88% of Americans, they are also the most stressful. After some marathon shopping or time spent enjoying the sights and sounds of the season, it’s nice to take a break for dinner and drinks before heading home. Restaurants are still in a bind with staffing shortages, and with more customers coming through the doors, the added workload for servers can snowball out of control. Eric Seymour, VP of Channel Programs at me&u USA, is spreading good cheer to restaurant operators with helpful tech that can make the difference between skating through the holidays or falling through the ice.
There are those who love to plan weeks, even months ahead, to put their culinary skills to the test, creating a holiday feast for friends and family. While the planning, shopping, preparation, shopping again, cooking, last-minute shopping, and the monstrous task of cleaning up may appeal to some, there appears to be a growing movement to outsource holiday meals to a favorite restaurant. To maximize their profitability and manage the frenzy of the holiday season, restaurants need a solid strategy to keep the kitchen running smoothly, ensure they have adequate staff, and create memorable holiday outings for their guests. Eric Seymour, VP of Channel Programs at me&u USA, a global leader in at-table ordering specializing in restaurants, bars and breweries, advises, “From November to January, the hospitality industry needs to have all hands on deck. And as we head into 2024, the best gift restaurant owners can give their staff, customers, and themselves is the gift of smart technology, like me&u, that can turn chaos into a Christmas miracle.”
A commanding 60% of holiday revelers plan to dine out, 50% plan on ordering takeout or delivery, and 25% plan to combine the two. It’s easy to see why: 82% of consumers say letting a restaurant do the heavy lifting reduces their stress, and 78% say dining out during the holidays allows them to spend more time socializing with friends and family rather than cooking and cleaning. To fulfill those expectations in 2023 will require overcoming persistent challenges — inflation, escalating food prices and operational costs, and hiring and retaining staff. QR code scan-order-pay technology provides more visibility over inventory. It helps operators forecast ordering trends and foot traffic, so restaurateurs can use data-driven insights when placing food orders, reducing food waste.
With the increased foot traffic, the holidays bring with the traditional hustle and bustle of shopping, holiday parties, and vacations, QR code scan-order-pay technology keeps the tables turning and the drinks flowing by streamlining the process from the initial order to paying the check. Customers easily scan a QR code at their table using their smartphone and instantly access an interactive menu that guides them on their dining journey, suggesting appetizers, seasonal specials, and drink pairings catered to each guest. Orders are synchronized, alleviating confusion in the kitchen, avoiding backlogs, and ensuring guests receive their orders more quickly and simultaneously. And there are fewer mistakes due to human error and miscommunication, which is particularly valuable when waiting on large groups or accommodating dietary restrictions.
About 30% of a server’s shift is spent taking customer orders, generating and delivering checks, and processing payments. Since guests have control over ordering and payment with me&u, restaurants can reduce table turnover time significantly, adding capacity for additional diners, and decreasing wait times for customers. With the transactional parts of service taken care of, servers can focus on delivering an exceptional customer experience. Also, since guests no longer need to wave down their server, research has demonstrated that 29% of customers order another round when prompted by me&u, which boosts sales by 12%. The interactive menu does the upselling, encouraging diners to spend more, which can increase the total check by up to 30%, which increases tips for servers. Restaurants can realize an increase in revenue of up to 35%.
According to a GOBankingRates survey, 41% of Americans prefer to split the check based on each person’s order, the same percentage split the check evenly, and 18% take turns covering the whole bill.7***** One study found that 47% of millennials would rather pay the total cost of the bill rather than have an awkward conversation about money, compared to 33% of Gen Z and 31% of baby boomers.
Splitting the check can be a heated debate among friends and family. Seymour observes, “When co-workers go out to a restaurant for a holiday get-together, no one wants their soup to cost the same price as a prime rib, and no one wants to lose a friend over something so trivial. With me&u flex, diners can avoid a rift between friends or family by letting me&u do the math, splitting the check evenly or by individual orders.”
Some diners prefer to stay the course with traditional ordering using a physical menu and placing their order with the server. me&u flex is a two-way ordering solution where both customers and servers can order and add items to the table. The friction-free process allows servers to focus on building relationships with guests and creating memorable moments.
me&u offers other practical features that restaurateurs can tap into:
- Wait Times: This feature allows restaurant operators to mark wait times for menu items or whole categories, set time ranges, and alternate during regular and busy time periods. This helps manage customer expectations and gives customers the ability to order an alternative item if they are in a rush.
- Festive Period Menu: Have a limited menu automatically kick in during peak times to focus on items that are easy & quick to produce, relieving pressure on the kitchen and ensuring operations are running efficiently.
- Featured Product: Promote specials and high margin items by selecting and highlighting it as the first thing customers see on the menu, helping restaurateurs drive customer spend.
Seymour notes, “People have enough to handle during this hectic time of year. When restaurants implement advanced technology solutions, there are measurable improvements, from streamlined operations and increased revenue for restaurant owners, higher earnings and job satisfaction for restaurant staff, and more elevated and memorable experiences for guests. The holidays are a magical time, and me&u allows servers to spend more quality time with diners, turning order-takers into magic-makers.”
A global leader in the hospitality technology space, me&u is on a mission to build a better future for the hospitality industry. Launched in 2017, me&u was conceptualized by Founder Stevan Premutico to transform the traditional ordering experience in a bid to solve deep-rooted structural issues that have been the Achilles heel of the hospitality industry for decades. The technology is not just a digital menu but one that is intelligent and highly personalized to the ordering experience for both the customer and venue. me&u presents the best of both worlds — seamlessly enabling greater human connection while ensuring efficiency for venues, greater client satisfaction, and retail growth. The company that Premutico has created works with operators, not against them, to create a more profitable future for the industry through fair financials, transparency, and a hospitality-led founding team. Visit meandu.com.