When the calendar turned to 2010, many brands started using Quick Response (QR) codes as a way to propel customers into getting further information about their company.

Despite some moderate success initially, QR codes faded because many phone or tablet cameras inability to scan them. In 2017, the QR scanner was integrated into phones when Apple launched its iOS 11. That was an advancement, but QR codes were seldomly used in the U.S. and Europe.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020. Restaurants had to find easy ways for customers to order and get food to them without contact. So the old QR codes were revived

Viewing menus online, as it turns out, was something customers found enjoyable since they felt safer. Restaurants benefitted since it was an efficient way to change menus.

Since 2021, however, restaurants haven't stopped at just QR menus. Now nearly every mobile device can scan, order, and take payments. 

Let’s look at everything restaurant QR code and answer questions like

  • What are QR Codes?
  • What are the advantages of QR codes?
  • What is the important role of restaurant QR codes?
  • How to generate a QR Code? 

What are QR Codes?

When a restaurant customer is seated, they can immediately scan the QR code to view the menu without waiting for a server. When a server comes, the customer is ready to place their order.

Depending on the restaurant’s software, customers can scan the QR code and order without waiting for the server. If the restaurant offers a touchless payment system, that will further speed up the table turns.

QR Codes were invented by a Japanese auto industry company in 1994. The codes were popular in Asia, but United States users had to download a QR scanner app to work, and for a number of years wasn’t accepted.

The QR code didn’t get any traction until 2020 and is now an inherent part of the culture.   

Three Important Advantages of QR Codes

QR codes greatly benefit restaurants and improve the overall customer experience.

1. Order Size Increases

Since customers can view the menu on their devices, they can look at the menu at any time after their initial order and add to it with a drink or a dessert. 

The average order value increases by 30% with QR code ordering since customers aren’t pressured by servers face-to-face. Customers are more relaxed in a less stressful situation.

2. Helps Labor Shortage

With customers in control of the ordering process and the fact they don’t have to look at physical menus to relay their order to a server, servers can now cover more tables. 

The restaurant industry only added 43,000 jobs in April 2022 but remained 790,000 jobs below what it was in February 2020. 

As many as 37% of customers use QR codes to access menus and order from the table, which means restaurants that face labor issues can continue to work smoothly with fewer employees.

The need for digital is clear to aid nationwide labor shortages.

3. Customers Prefer to Order by Phone

With the complete package of using the QR code to order and pay at restaurants, customers are finding out just how easy they are to use. The biggest value in using them is they can sit down, scan and order without waiting for a server to approach the table.

According to Datassential surveys, as many as 49 percent of restaurant guests say they've used a QR code to pull up a menu, and of people who've used them, 70 percent of them liked their experience.

How Restaurants Are Using QR Codes

When restaurants started adopting QR code technology, it was to scan and then view the menu. The next step is still ordering through the server, which ran to punch in the order at the POS system.

It didn’t save time. 

Now, restaurants are using QR codes to drive their customers to their mobile ordering platform and allowing them to place orders on their phones that go directly to the kitchen.

But there are more ways restaurants benefit from adding QR codes, such as driving loyalty program participation, increase in social media awareness, and accepting reservations or managing waitlists.

By using contactless payments methods, like Apple Pay and Google Pay, restaurants can prompt customers to join loyalty programs by asking for their emails after paying. 

When customers order through QR code menus, restaurants can add messages to encourage guests to follow them on social media, building on the restaurant’s branding. 

scanning qr code with MM ordering interface

Restaurants can add a QR code outside the restaurant where customers can scan and make reservations or online takeout orders. These can be strategically located in the establishment's window or, like a busy office building, to bring customers for lunch and dinner.

From the days of scanning a QR code and sending customers to a restaurant website that didn’t have a menu on it to be a valuable commodity for success, the codes have made great strides in accomplishing results.

Benefits of Online Menus Using QR Codes

When restaurants add QR codes to their to their business, there are a number of advantages and benefits that lie beneath the surface of the obvious.

  • Cut menu printing costs: Since the menu will be online, there’s no need for physical menus, which saves the restaurant money.
  • Show rather than tell: With menu items online, restaurants can add an image of each dish to entice customers to order more.
  • Update menus in real time: When a restaurant runs out of an item, it’s easy to keep customers informed through a digital menu.
  • Restaurants can be creative: Since menus are online, restaurants can add different daily specials or special event menus without adding to a physical menu.

How Can I Generate A QR Code Menu For My Restaurant?

Any restaurateur can generate a QR code. Some sites like QR Code Generator and QR Tiger provide stable features that allow designs and some nice graphics to add.

Both offer dynamic QR codes, which will enable restaurants to change their destination address to another by updating the data of the generated QR code. So if a restaurant runs out of salmon, the staff can edit the online menu to reflect that without generating a new code.


QR codes began ahead of the technology to scan them and through advancements in smartphone technology, QR codes are becoming a valuable link, opening avenues of convenience for device owners.

Restaurant owners appreciate the QR code system since it's faster to turn tables, allows more time for servers to perform more tasks, and engages with customers properly. Mad Mobile has a number of restaurant management solutions that can help you provide the seamless experience guests are looking for. Self-service technology allows you to turn tables faster, increase staff efficiency, and better engage with your customers

QR code ordering ebook