If 2020 taught us something, it’s that QR code menus are the best way to future proof restaurants from increasing takeaway fees and sanitary requirements.
Yet QR code menus are so much more than “quick bandaids” for COVID-19, with more and more restaurants adopting them as an advanced customer acquisition tactic.
Digital menus are cheaper to use than laminated and single-use menus, and you can add pictures for every dish without worrying about the length of your menu.
A contactless QR code menu also doesn’t need to be constantly cleaned, making it the ideal option for restaurants operating during the pandemic and beyond.
Known as “proximity marketing,” this new field of QR and NFC marketing tactics is growing to become a true powerhouse for restaurants, barbershops, and other local stores.
But where should you start?
There are a few ways to create a digital menu…
To clear things up, I will show you 11 of the best QR code menu providers based on cost, quality, and how well you can customize your menu to fit your branding.
QR Code Menu 1: Doe Magnet
With so many same-ish QR menu generators popping up on the internet, it’s important to remember what makes diners choose your restaurant over any other…
Dish quality is certainly a big factor to consider but—more importantly—you have to think about how customers perceive what you offer, and that only comes through with branding.
Doe Magnet is a personalized QR code menu service that allows your restaurant’s brand to work on its own by leveraging its strengths and highlighting a positive diner experience.
With pinpoint precision, Doe Magnet can take your existing menu and transform it into a digital experience without you having to worry about any of the steps of the process.
This bespoke service allows you to:
- Get your restaurant’s menu to stay consistent with its branding
- Increase revenue by highlighting your most profitable dished
- Host the QR codes on your behalf for easy management
- Save time without having to design the menu yourself
As a restaurant owner, a good menu experience is your biggest marketing tactic as people tend to bond with your specials and come back for them again, and again.
Your menu is also a powerful word-of-mouth amplifier, making it easy for previous diners to share their experience with others visually. That’s even easier with a QR menu.
Doe Magnet offers the entire spectrum of diner menu experience: from peeking from outside to what they see on their phones as they scan their QR codes all the way to ordering.
In fact, the service allows diners to pay directly within their digital menu environment, making your waiters’ job a lot easier and helping you turn tables up to 3 times faster.
To start with your own Doe Magnet QR code menu, simply request a 100% free quote and a live agent will be immediately with you to show you a preview of what to expect.
QR Code Menu 2: Beaconstac
Beaconstac is an all-in-one proximity marketing provider offering dozens of tools in the restaurant and local business industry, so they don’t just offer QR menu designs.
It’s important to note that Beaconstac offers their QR code menu solution as a self-service type of product where you’re generating your own dynamic QR code from scratch.
This is great but also prone to some liabilities:
- Without a professional designer, you may end up with a menu design that doesn’t fit your brand guidelines and doesn’t convert diners as well as you’d hope for.
- You need to create the whole thing from scratch, meaning you have to dive deep into configurations and settings as envisioned by the Beaconstac team.
- While their pricing and support are good, having to “rent” your QR code menu under yet another monthly subscription doesn’t give you full ownership of it.
These are all drawbacks to an otherwise great solution that is used by big names such as Marriott, Hilton, and RitzCarlton (i.e. huge chains with tens of thousands of employees).
If you’re looking for that type of solution, you can sign up for a free 14-day trial easily but, if you’re a small restaurant owner instead, I’d recommend sticking to a bespoke service.
QR Code Menu 3: Menulingua
Menulingua is an interesting proposition, especially for restaurants that have to deal with tourists on a regular basis as it allows you to easily translate things into dozens of languages.
Unlike traditional menus where you have to create either a separate menu for each language, or include multiple entries into one menu (making it huge), QR menus are easy to handle:
- Let the diner choose their own language as they load up the menu
- Separate each menu language without spending on loads of paper
- Keep everything updated with cross-language QR menu management
There are two ways you can go about creating a Menulinga menu:
- Create your QR code menu yourself using their self-service generator, or;
- Send Menulingua your existing menu and they’ll bring it up for you.
Out of all the generators out there, this is my personal favorite as it truly offers more than just renting a digital space but rather solves for a big problem which is language.
It’s a good solution for restaurants in touristic locations as well as restaurants that need to offer their menus in more than two languages at once. Signing up is free and easy.
QR Code Menu 4: Bonee
Unlike Menulingua, Bonee is a self-service only QR code menu generator that allows you to pick multiple languages but with a more simplistic and less feature-rich approach.
I’ve included Bonee in this list primarily for two reasons:
- It can be inexpensive depending on your restaurant’s needs
- The setup is simpler than most QR code menu generators
Although I like Bonee’s QR menu creation interface (mainly because of its simplicity), I don’t love how they market the tool as a “do-it-all” type of generator, because it’s not.
You have the standard features from QR generators:
- Include your “catalog” (i.e. menu items)
- Generate a dynamic QR code for it
- Pick a theme to brand the menu
- Print the codes and go live
With Bonee, you can also run promotions, gather feedback, keep track of orders, and analyze a full list of customers (very helpful!) but that’s about it. Translation is built into the tool.
If you’re curious to learn more about Bonee, they have a 7-day trial. My recommendation is to always go into one of these tools prepared, otherwise you’ll just lose yourself in the settings.
QR Code Menu 5: Menumodo
Menumodo is an interesting proposition because it caters primarily to chains or groups that have multiple restaurants under one management. The home page gives this off pretty well.
While the tool’s dashboard looks a bit outdated, the company behind Menumodo seems to be consistent in releasing solutions that fit their customers’ needs.
There are a few things that raise some red flags:
- The contact/demo buttons send you to an email address rather than a form
- Page design isn’t that great which is a shame for a menu design service
- Some interactive buttons and elements on the site don’t work at all
Features are similar to other QR menu generators: dynamic QRs, menu editing, no app required, and so on. The difference here is in the services’ positioning.
If you have multiple restaurants or perhaps hotel restaurants that you’d like to connect under one roof, Menumodo may be the solution for you. Check out their features.
QR Code Menu 6: Orderlina
You can’t beat services that deliver value upfront, and Orderlina is one of those services. While mostly focusing on the QR generator formula, Orderlina also offers menu consulting services.
This is a breath of fresh air in a sea of DIY solutions which may end up hurting your brand reputation if set up in half or with a non-optimal design. Orderlina tries to solve that.
Three things I like most about the service are:
- The forever free plan which doesn’t require trials or credit cards
- A consulting service to help you with maximizing sales
- Onboarding from the Orderlina team to get started
The 3 points above show a level of commitment that’s superior to any other service within the QR menu generation niche, and we find the setup to be ideal for most restaurant owners.
My recommendation is to get started with Orderlina’s forever free plan, play around with the configurations, and see if they fit your needs. It can’t hurt to give it a spin!
QR Code Menu 7: Minimal.Menu
Don’t want to wrap your head around tons of complicated configurations? Then Minimal.Menu may be the service for you. It’s a one-stop-shop for setting your QR code menu up quickly.
Note that this comes with its drawbacks:
- You don’t have much control over the theme of your menu
- Features are stripped down to the bare minimum
- No integrated payments with your QR code
I find that services like Minimal.Menu are absolutely worth using, especially if you’re in a hurry to get your QR code menu up and running. Why? Because it’ll ensure it looks good.
By limiting your options to just a few really good-looking and minimal menu themes, this type of service allows you to enjoy the best of both innovation and simplicity.
I wouldn’t personally recommend using it for the long-term as using QR codes for your restaurant should be an investment into a framework to be used for years to come.
However, I can recommend using it if you’re in a hurry, especially since its price is relatively low at only $14.99/month. You can sign up 100% free and start today.
QR Code Menu 8: TouchBistro
As I approach the end of this list, I’m providing you with some alternatives that aren’t 100% focused on just QR code menus, but which may be worth looking into anyway.
TouchBistro is one of those options…
Known primarily as an iPad POS system, TouchBistro also offers their own little QR code menu generator to start with their ecosystem. It’s a small part of their overall tooling.
With the landing page linked in the heading, you can type in your details and the tool will offer a hyper-simple QR menu to use. I don’t recommend using it, but it’s there if you need it.
QR Code Menu 9: Barpay
Barpay is interesting because it focuses more on paying rather than just browsing your menu. The name says it all as it’s made primarily for cafés and pubs but restaurants can use it too!
One thing I love about Barpay is how its marketing is deeply integrated with its design aesthetic: simple, useful, and convenient. That’s the way I feel about the product in general.
And it’s not just a feeling…
Barpay gives you a lot to start with:
- Real-time menu updates (Finished some ingredients? Change the menu on the fly!)
- Manage your menu with your own intuitively-designed dashboard
- Collect customer feedback for each individual dish
Barpay offers these features at the price of… $0.
So, the tool is definitely worth a try. But if you want to make the menu truly yours (branding, themes, and so on), you have to pay a minimum of $24/month, which makes sense.
Considering the interesting payment options offered, Barpay is a good solution for restaurants who are looking to modernize their payment infrastructure. Start for free today!
QR Code Menu 10: FineDine
FineDine is a complete menu and payments management solution, from QR codes all the way to physical kiosks that can help you streamline order processing.
It’s one of the more advanced business solutions on the market, so I only recommend it to restaurants who know they’re going to invest in this type of thing for the long-term.
Their product lineup looks great:
- Tablet menus with integrated checkout
- Mobile-first QR code menus with no app
- Delivery and pick-up menus replacing GrubHub
- Physical kiosks that allow for streamlined ordering
I find that FineDine works great for restaurants who are willing to invest heavily in the whole digital restaurante ecosystem rather than just QR code menus. If this is you, great!
While the service offers a 14-day free trial, I wouldn’t recommend getting started without first talking to a salesperson or at least understanding exactly what you want with your menu.
QR Code Menu 11: QuickOrders
As the final entry in the list, QuickOrders doesn’t have any special features that haven’t already been mentioned previously. It’s just an alternative to to other services.
Features are standard:
- Get your QR code menu up and running
- Choose a theme and add branding
- Run a basic ordering system
With all the great solutions highlighted in this list, I don’t recommend using QuickOrders because of its outdated UI and long sales process (you can only request a demo!).
However, for the sake of being exhaustive, I’ve included this service as well. Feel free to browse their website around at the link above and see if it fits your needs!
Each option highlighted above has its pros and cons but I’ve made sure to include only the best QR code menu services available in 2021 and—hopefully—beyond.
The Best QR Code Menus Aren’t Generated
They are made specifically for your restaurant. That’s because your customers are unique, and your brand has to reflect that throughout their entire experience with your food.
Following a storyline with your brand isn’t just a fancy way to convince you that personalization is the key to your restaurant’s success… It’s just how consumers react to things—emotionally.
With a QR code menu that brings that emotion to your existing and potential customers, you’re giving them a reason to come back again, and again, and again.
That’s why the best QR code menus aren’t generated…
Just like a tailor is able to make a suit that lasts a lifetime, a menu designer can help you design a QR code that helps with attracting and retaining customers for years to come.