The COVID-19 pandemic is changing how we live our lives in nearly every possible way. Businesses of all stripes have been affected, but restaurants have been particularly hard hit. Fortunately for business owners, dine-in options are slowly returning, but patrons are understandably nervous. One great way to help calm their fears is to create a digital menu and then link it to a QR code.
A QR code is essentially an advanced bar code that can contain information like a website URL. Restaurants around the country are paying agencies to create digital menus for them and link them to a QR code that they can print out and place on every table. Instead of handling a physical menu that might be infected, diners need only take a picture of the QR code with their phone and the digital menu pops up on their screen.
But you don’t need to pay someone for this service. You can do it yourself, for free, using your Google My Business account and the free QR code generator offered by Flowcode.com. Here’s how!
Create a Digital Menu and QR Code in 9 Simple Steps
In order to create a fast, free online menu you’ll need your Google My Business listing set up. If you haven’t done that yet, check out our tutorial. Once you’re set up and logged in, you’re ready to begin.
Step 1: Select “Menu” From the Lefthand Column
Google My Business listings offer restaurant owners a simple interface for creating a digital menu. To access it, select “Menu”.
Step 2: Upload a Photo of Your Menu
If you already have a physical menu, you can upload photos of each page. This is a quick way to get your menu into Google, but it isn’t necessarily the most professional looking. If you have an extensive menu and you don’t relish the idea of manually entering every menu item however, it’s a good option. Just click “Add photos” and then either drag your photos onto the screen or search for them on your hard drive.
Step 3: Create a Digital Menu Manually
Instead of, or in tandem with uploading photos of your menu, you can create a virtual version by typing each menu item into Google’s interface.
You can create a section, like “Lunch” and then enter every item in that category one at a time. Add a price, a description, and then click “Add”.
Once you’ve finished a section you can easily create another by clicking “Add menu section”, seen at the bottom of the photo above.
Step 4: Navigate to Your Completed Menu And Copy the URL
Once your menu is finished, copy the URL to your clipboard. In the next step, you’ll paste it into Flowcode’s QR code generator.
Step 5: Go to Flowcode.com and Paste Your Menu URL
Flowcode.com’s QR code generator is free, and simple to use. To begin, enter your menu’s web address into the field provided. Flowcode gives you a number of service options that you can link to. In this case, we want the default, a website.
Step 6: Design Your Flowcode
Flowcode gives you a few design options for your QR code. You can choose your preferred pattern, color, and theme. You can even insert your restaurant’s logo into the center if you like.
Once you’ve made your selections, click “Create”!
Step 7: Sign Up For a Free Account
When you create a digital menu with Google My Business, it’s saved in your profile, but if you want your QR code saved for future editing, you’ll need to create an account. This isn’t a necessary step, however. The QR code you create will work regardless.
Step 8: Download Your QR Code and Print it Out For Each Table
Your QR code is finished and ready for printing! Flowcode lets you download it a number of ways. You can choose the raw code or have it conveniently formatted to fit a poster, postcard, sticker, or table tent. You can also choose your preferred file format.
In our case, we want to download a table tent template so that we can set the code in full view of our diners.
Step 9: Check “Create a Digital Menu” Off of Your Bucket List
That’s all it takes! Once you place your table tents, your customers will have instant digital access to your menu in a safe, hygienic manner.
Adding a Digital Menu to Your Google My Business Listing Has Other Benefits, Too
Not only will your patrons gain safe access to your menu, but also your Google My Business listing will get a boost.
Google prefers a complete profile. The more information you provide them, the better they can index your listing. Adding your menu (manually, photos aren’t as good) gives Google extra keywords their algorithms can reference. When someone searches “cheeseburgers near me”, your restaurant will appear higher in the search results if cheeseburgers are on your menu.
So even if you have no need for a QR-coded version, it’s still a good idea to add your full menu to your Google My Business listing.
Our hearts go out to all the struggling business owners. We here at Puget Tech hope things return to normal sooner rather than later. Keep fighting the good fight!