You’re reopening your bar or restaurant soon (at some capacity) and it feels like until then you'll be playing one long, drawn out game of whack-a-mole.
Of the million things you’ve got to figure out, from inconsistent government rules to getting back on track with your distributors, there’s one big thing hanging over your head: your menu.
How in the world are you going to do it? How can you provide a contactless menu experience that gives customers an up-to-date, customized menu? How can you provide a menu with descriptions for your ever changing beer list? And how can you do it without spending hours on the computer each week?
Here’s a secret: you can do it in just one click. Read on to learn how to create and maintain an awesome digital menu—and the QR code that sends customers to it—with just one click.
QR Menus: safely provide the information your customers need
It’s frustrating—you’re dealing with competing factors right now.
On one hand, you have an extensive beer program, which means you need to provide customers with information so that they can choose the right beer for them.
On the other hand, because of Covid-19, the traditional means of providing that information to customers—servers/bartenders and hand-held menus—need to be limited.
We created our QR Menus to help you navigate this moment. With our QR Menus you can provide your customers an experience that’s both safe—they only ever touch their own phones—and informative—our QR Menus automatically include beer descriptions and all other relevant beer info.
The same goes for your other menu items (like wines, spirits, cocktails, and food).
How QR Menus work
Setting up your QR Menu is a simple 5-step process (only 3 steps if you already have and maintain your BeerMenus page).
Step 1: Create a BeerMenus page.
Step 2: Add your beers and other menu items to your BeerMenus page.
Step 3: Click the “QR Menu” tab.
Step 4: Preview your menu and contact us for free QR Menu customization.
Open the camera app on your phone and point it at the QR code preview on your QR Menu tab:
Your QR Menu will pop up. You'll immediately see our default design theme (which is pretty darn spiffy!):
But if you'd like we can customize it to your business:
Step 5: Print your QR code and place it in your business.
Select from the 3 QR code options we have (more on those below) and print as many as you need:
Then place them in your business.
Now, whenever you something on your menu changes, just update on BeerMenus. Your QR Menu (the menu folks see when they scan your QR code) will automatically update as well.
There are 3 options for QR codes. Which should I choose?
As you can see in the above image, there are three options for printing out your QR code. Here's what they look like.
Basic (just the code):
Consider 3 things when deciding which to use:
Are you planning to make your own QR code graphic?
How much space can you give to QR codes?
How sophisticated are your customers with technology?
If you're making your own QR code graphic, then use the Basic QR code. The Basic code is just the QR code itself (there's no frame around it), so it's easiest to work with when when grabbing the code to add it to another digital file.
If you think your customers won't really have any idea how to use QR codes, then you should use the Educational code. Keep in mind, however, that these are relatively large (they print out 4 per sheet of US letter-size paper):
If you don't want to make your own graphic and you feel like you just need to nudge customers toward using and viewing your QR Menu (or you don't have room for the Educational QR code), then the Instructional QR code is probably right for you. These print out with 12 per letter-size paper:
Of course, you can use whichever and however many codes that you want—they're your unique codes, so you use them to your heart's content!
An elevated menu experience for you and your customers
When some folks hear "QR Menu" they think of a degraded customer experience: we're just doing this for now because we have to. We'll be back to paper menus soon.
We're not so sure about that. In a lot of ways, QR Menus are better than printed menus.
QR Menus are customized to your business. They're organized the way you want. They're legible, and answer most of the questions your customers have about your offerings.
Print menus do all that too, you're thinking.
That's true, but with QR Menus you no longer have to be as considerate of space. You can include the full breadth of everything you offer without worrying about your menu pushing on to a second page.
You can also include all your different menus in one central menu location and have that menu be professionally designed, without needing to pay a web person or graphic designer.
Want to list your food, cocktails, wines, beers, N/A beverages? Just add them to your BeerMenus page. Want to market the beers and other products that are available for to-go? Add a menu section called "To-go beers." Want to advertise your merch or gift cards? Create a "Merch and Gift Cards" menu section.
And as for customer usability—once folks get over the small initial hump, QR Menus are actually easier to use than paper menus for a majority of the population. Depending on what's relevant to each customer, they can simply select that menu section and drill straight down into that one—no need to read through irrelevant menu sections, rifle through several paper menus, or scan multiple QR codes.
That’s not to mention the different directions this could go as we launch improved versions and capabilities:
Make it easy to boost your BeerMenus followership (so you can automatically notify them when you get new beers).
Ask customers to enroll in your email list
Ask customers to follow you on social media
Offer customers discounts
Exciting developments like this are coming soon, but if you have a particular idea about how you’d like to leverage QR codes, we're open to ideas! Drop us a line at email@example.com.
Why it’s so important to include beer descriptions on your QR code menu (hint: $$$)
In a tiny nutshell, including beer descriptions on your menu will help you increase your beverage sales.
Why? Because beer descriptions make the ordering process easier and faster, which increases sales
Imagine you’re a bar or restaurant with a big beer selection. If your QR menu isn’t up to date or doesn’t include descriptions, you’re putting a lot of pressure on your bartenders and servers to provide your guests a great beer ordering experience.
Your staff has to remember what kegs kicked, which bottles recently came in, how to describe all your beers in a compelling way, and so on. While a lot of bartenders do have encyclopedic beer knowledge and are very articulate, that’s certainly not the case for all of them.
As a result, your bartender might have to run over to see if something’s still available, they might scramble and search for that scrap of scratch paper so they can read off the rotating beer selection, or they may have to grab a sample of the beer (possibly more than once).
Ordering a beer this way is a production. It takes a long time. And all that time spent deciding, waiting, and finally, eventually ordering is time not spent spending money and drinking.
This is exactly how you could lose out on sales: a subpar QR menu leads to a sluggish ordering process that prevents people from drinking as much as they otherwise would.
On the other hand, if your menu is up-to-date and includes descriptions for all your beers and other items, your customers will be able to educate themselves on your selection and be able to make an informed decision all on their own, often before their bartender comes over to take their order.
Customers with an awesome QR menu will be cheers-ing before the customers with the subpar QR menu even decide on a beer.
How to display the codes in my business
Best practices for displaying QR codes are still emerging, but you can follow common sense to get a good deal of the way there.
Put it in the right place. Your customers need the QR code to order, so at a minimum you need to have at least one at each table or in front of each barstool. Also, when your customers’ drinks and/or food arrives, will the QR code still be visible? You want it to be easy for them to order their next beer, and covering up the menu only makes it harder.
Make it easy for everyone at the table to access. Think through the experience from each seat at the table—are there people who might have trouble scanning the code with their phone? Is there a way around that? Should you consider putting it off-center instead of right in the middle of the table?
Secure it well. You’re going to be disinfecting more rigorously than usual, so make sure you affix the QR code down securely and laminate it. Though you certainly can, you don’t want to have to replace these several times a day.
Display QR codes in other places as well. Get creative with your QR codes—are there other places inside your business where your customers will have their phones out and ready to use (e.g. the bathroom, a wall outside as they wait to get in, etc.)?
Have ideas of your own? If you have some tips of your own to share about how to place QR codes, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org—we in the industry have to stick together and help each other out right now!
Frequently asked questions
How much does it cost?
QR Menus are a part of our Print Menu toolkit. The pricing of that toolkit can be as low as $49/month or $499 per year, which saves you $89 on the year (although if you email dylan -at symbol- beermenus.com and mention that you read this, you’ll get a discount on that 😎).
We offer other tools as well (Online Marketing toolkit, TV Menu software, and online sales), and if you bundle tools together to create your membership you can save quite a bit. If you have questions about how all the pieces can fit together, reach out to email@example.com or give us a ring at 347-927-1574.
Can I adjust the design myself?
Right now adjusting the design requires getting into the code, so we’re handling all design updates.
However, we’ll customize your QR Menu for free, so please don’t hesitate to schedule a call if you’d like us to customize your QR Menu!
We’re planning to add more self-serve capabilities at a later time, but we wanted to get this out as quickly as we could.
Can I see some examples?
Yep! Here are a few more examples:
You're BeerMenus.com. Does that mean I can only make my beer menu with you?
Nope, you can include all the menu items you’d like: beer, wine, cocktails, food, merch, etc.
I can create a QR code on my own that sends people to my website to see my menu. Why should I use this instead?
You definitely could do that, and it would certainly be better than nothing. But this QR Menu experience is better in a couple key ways:
Our QR Menus automatically include beer descriptions. As we’ve documented, beer descriptions make it easier for customers to choose the right beer for them, which increases average check size. You can include beer descriptions on your website, but in order to do so you have to track them down and add them manually. Our QR Menus will automatically include descriptions for you.
Our QR Menus are easier to update. You don’t have to log into Squarespace, you don’t have to track down beer information or descriptions. Whether you're on your phone or your computer, just start typing the name of the beer on your BeerMenus page, select it from the drop down, and click “Add to menu.” All the beer information will automatically update on your BeerMenus QR Menu.
I can create a QR code on my own that sends people to my BeerMenus page to see my menu. Why should I use this instead?
Again, you could do that, and it would certainly be better than nothing. But this QR Menu experience is better in a couple key ways:
Our QR Menus include beer descriptions. As we’ve documented, beer descriptions make it easier for customers to choose the right beer for them, which increases average check size. When viewed on mobile, your BeerMenus public page does not include beer descriptions. This QR Menu does.
Our QR Menus are designed to be an on-premise menu, whereas your BeerMenus page is more like a marketing page. Because of that, when someone arrives on your BeerMenus page on mobile, they see your address, your phone number, and a bunch of other information that doesn’t make sense for a customer that’s already at your business.
We can customize your QR Menu to your business. Your BeerMenus page is always going to look and feel like a BeerMenus page. Your BeerMenus QR Menu can use your fonts, your color scheme, your logo, and your branding so that it feels like a real menu.