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The Menu Guide – Everything you need to know about digital menus

Digital menus are an innovative alternative for printing and creating traditional paper menus. The following guide gives an overview of possible applications and technologies of digital menus.

Where you can use digital menus

Digital menus are very versatile. They will bring you the greatest benefit where you either have hard-to-reach but attractive areas, such as a roof terrace. Or where you want to get along with less personnel or want to generate higher turnover.

The digital menu in the restaurant

The restaurant offers a wide range of applications for a digital menu.

In the classic restaurant, customers can easily find the QR code on their table and order from there with their own smartphone.

In an upscale restaurant, a digital menu can be used wonderfully as a wine or bar menu. In most cases, tablets and other devices are made available to the upscale guests so that they can get the best product overview. With meals with wine company a very popular possibility is to indicate the suitable equal wine to the respective meals.

In the self-service restaurant, the digital menu is used for information and ordering. Instead of waiting in line for a long time, customers can order directly from the table and receive a notification when the food and drinks are ready. The customer experience is massively increased.

The digital menu in the café, coffee house or bar

A digital menu can also be optimally used for coffee enjoyment or the cocktail bar.

In the cafés, customers can scan the QR code to directly access the offer of the respective house. From there, all specialities can be called up and orders can be placed directly. Great advantages are that customers can be offered many upselling opportunities. Customers order cream with their coffee, caramel sauce with their cappuccino or hazelnuts with their Café Affogato. Customers also appreciate the cross-selling offers on the digital menus. The digital coffee card offers its customers the right products for their coffee specialities. For example, customers can enjoy a raspberry cake with a cappuccino or an apple strudel with an espresso. Thanks to the digital menu. Unfortunately, many service employees do not point out these possibilities.

The same principle applies in cocktail bars. Here, too, the card is accessed by scanning the QR code. Advantages arise here in particular, if the next cocktail is pending however no waiter is in the proximity. With the digital cocktail card, cocktails are always within reach and just a click away. In this way you increase your cocktail sales considerably. Missing sales will decrease very sharply.

The digital menu in the hotel room or Limendo Menu in the hotel area

Depending on the provider and the technical requirements, a digital menu can be used as a digital service menu in the hotel sector in an even more versatile way.

The digital menu in the hotel for all areas

In a hotel room, a digital menu as a digital menu card replaces various existing hardware installations such as TV sets or tablets. Guests can use their own devices to access Limendo Menu and place orders from there in the digital hotel menu. Our Limendo Menu, for example, is so flexible that we can offer services or shop products in addition to food and drinks. The flowers in the room and the chocolates in the evening are just a click away and always in the guest’s pocket. Housekeeping or the caretaker can also be ordered easily via the digital menu in the hotel room.

The digital menu is used on the hotel terrace or in the spacious hotel grounds to cover these areas in an uncomplicated way. Today’s hotel complexes and hotels can no longer do without architectural highlights. What a pity that these areas are often not covered by the service. With Limendo Menu of the digital menu in the hotel this is no problem at all. Guests scan the QR Code at the respective areas and order the desired services from there. It is therefore easy to order the sports water for playing tennis on the hotel tennis court, the cappuccino on the hotel swimming pool or the cocktail on the hotel roof terrace.

A digital menu can also be used optimally in the hotel SPA area. In addition to the various SPA services, suitable products and beverages are offered here. In this way your guest can find the optimal package for the respective treatment or service. This is what distinguishes real cross-selling in the hotel sector.

Ultimately, the digital menu is of course used in a classic way in the hotel sector for the hotel bar and the hotel restaurant. Here, the same advantages of the digital map apply as for restaurants and coffee houses.

The digital menu as a digital sommelier

The digital wine list can be mentioned as the last important application for the hotel. With the digital wine list, the guest has the unique opportunity to obtain information about the wines independently of the sommelier. It is important that the wines are assigned to the respective dishes. So the guest knows exactly which wines would best suit the respective courses. Here there are then quite special many possibilities for up- and cross-selling. Thus, three to five possible wines in different price ranges can be offered with the respective dishes. If a guest is informed more intensively about a possible wine, then he can also get there again different alternatives indicated.

The same logic naturally applies to the digital spirits card and the digital cocktail card in the hotel. Also, in this area, the guest can be clearly better taught how to put together the optimal cocktail. Finding the right tonic for the respective gin is no problem with the digital menu. This is a great added value for the evening hotel guest at the hotel bar. By the way, the digital menu card also pays off for sales at the hotel bar. Cross-selling possibilities are also available in the cocktail menu, such as chocolate for evening rum.

The digital menu in the apartment or Bed-and-Breakfast (B&B)

The apartment and Bed and Breakfast (B&B) segment represents a very large growth market today. The Limendo Menu digital menu can be a great help in this area.

Used correctly, a digital menu as a digital menu card in the apartment represents the gateway to the regional service world. Cooperation with external partners makes it possible to offer various services in the apartment in the simplest possible way. Apartment guests can have their morning breakfast basket put together and delivered or book certain services such as theatre tickets and cinema tickets.

Another popular service for apartment guests can be created if various restaurants matching the category of the apartment are already available as digital menus in the holiday apartment. This gives the guest an insight into the food on offer in advance and can also reserve a table directly in the restaurant.

The digital menu in nightclubs and discotheques

In evening bars and discotheques, Limendo Menu serves as a digital menu certain VIP area. Here the same advantages arise as in coffee houses and restaurants. In addition, certain areas outside the VIP area can also be well covered in discotheques. A QR code on a column in the discotheque and the guests can order their drinks to the column easily.

The digital menu on the beach and in beach bars

The digital menu also offers considerable advantages on the beach. This is also an extensive area, which is often not served. With Limendo Menu as a digital menu mounted directly on the parasol, guests can place orders from there in a completely relaxed atmosphere. So, the morning cappuccino can be enjoyed directly on the deck chair and the evening aperitif can again be taken directly on the beach.

Types and techniques of digital menus

Fixed kiosk systems as a digital menu

The most common variant of digital menus today is permanently mounted digital kiosk systems. These can, for example, be built directly into a table or placed in the room as stands. Customers can then use these devices to obtain information and place orders.

Advantages of kiosk systems

Disadvantages of kiosk systems

Permanently installed uniform devices

Great advantages of such systems are the fact that the devices have already been uniformly installed and are therefore easily accessible for customers.

Robust devices

In addition, these devices are extremely robust and there is hardly any danger of something breaking.

Customers do not want to use all functions via third-party devices

The biggest drawbacks are that customers must rely on third-party equipment, which is often a major obstacle to payment.

Queues behind fixed devices

In the case of devices installed in the room, there is also the problem that the customer can place his order but cannot take a seat immediately and thus the queue no longer begins behind the cash register, but behind the permanently installed kiosk devices. Of course, this can also be intended to increase the table envelope.

App based digital menus

App-based solutions represent another category of great popularity. On these systems, the guest is prompted to download a specific app. In this app different functions from information to payment can be handled.

The biggest advantage of such solutions is that an app has been installed on the guest’s smartphones, which makes it easy to send push messages to the guest. In addition, the guest uses his own device and will be more receptive to payment via mobile phone. In addition, apps can be customized very precisely to the corporate design.

The biggest disadvantage of app based digital menus is that the guest has to decide to download an app specific to the visit. Even if they are very open-minded guests, this is only very limited, because nobody wants to download dozens of apps just to order them easier. A guest visiting several locations would be forced to download a specific app for each location. This is very unlikely and therefore there will be little change for the company concerned. The guests will continue to use the classic service.

Studies also show that generally fewer people are willing to download apps. Thus 51% of smartphone users no longer download any apps at all and 13% of smartphone users download only 1 app per month. These figures alone prove how unlikely the app variants will lead to the success of digital menus.

QR Code based solutions for digital menus

There are several variants of QR Code based solutions.

Classic service and pay via the QR Code

Today, there are solutions where orders are placed classically via service. The service then enters the order into the checkout system and then provides the guest with a QR code. This code can then be scanned, and the guest can view the invoice on a mobile website. In addition, the guest will be able to add further articles. There is also a variant here in which the guest must first download an app, but these types of digital menus have already been discussed.

The main advantage of such a solution is that it does not require any preparation. The guest can follow the usual process in the respective location and still take advantage of the digital menus. A disadvantage for the company is the unused potential in service optimization.

Use of QR Codes on the tables or other hot spots

In this variant, by the way also the variant of Limendo Menu as digital menu, QR codes are distributed on the respective tables or other hot spots (e.g. the bar counter). The QR codes represent the respective table number or designation of the hot spot. The guest is then prompted to scan a QR code and is taken to the respective mobile website. From there, all functions can be called up.

Great advantages of this method are the service optimization, the elimination of obstacles for the use of the guest (no app download) and the trust of the guest in his own device. This will lead to a significantly higher penetration of the use of services. The disadvantage of this solution is the preparation effort and the effort to ensure that the table QR codes are not exchanged. However, since these codes can be labelled, this problem can be solved very easily.

Use of beacons and WLAN-based technologies for the transmission of digital menus

Use of beacons to transmit the digital menu

Beacon-based solutions must also be mentioned as a further possibility. Beacons are small, Bluetooth-based transmitters that can send information, push notifications, to a terminal device. These can be attached, for example, to the tables or hot spots. For this to work, however, the guest must meet certain requirements. It must first have a compatible app installed and Bluetooth must be enabled, and push notification must be allowed. For Android devices it is also possible to receive notification via the pre-installed Google App. This relativizes a little the problem that users don’t want to install many new apps. However, this option is not available for Apple devices. We at Limendo Consulting have already carried out tests in restaurants and found that our notifications could only be successfully transmitted in approx. 3 to 5% (figures for Europe, Italy).

Purely technical and in terms of the user experience, beacons would be the optimal solution for the digital menu. Under certain circumstances Android devices transmit the menu to the guest as if by magic and the guest could then use all the functions of the digital menu.

The biggest disadvantage of this actually optimal solution is the lack of dissemination and the many prerequisites. Limendo Consulting, however, is still working on this solution because we find it very exciting. However, if the prevalence of conditions is so low (3 to 5%), we will not achieve a revolution in the hospitality industry with this solution.

Use of the WLAN

One last option is to transmit the menu via WLAN. The WLAN positioning is now very accurate (according to the latest studies by Stanford University: less than 10 cm deviation) and it would therefore be technically feasible to read the position of the guest via WLAN. However, the guest must still be directed to the respective digital menu. The easiest way to do this is to log in to the WLAN. After registration, the digital menu is transmitted.

A big advantage of this solution is that it does not require any preparations on the tables or hot spots. However, the technical requirements for logging into the WLAN are significantly higher than simply scanning a QR code. In addition, data protection aspects must be taken into account in this solution and the guest must be informed that his or her location will be recorded in the respective location. In principle, however, this would also be a very exciting solution for which Limendo Consulting is currently conducting research.