Social distancing requirements and new legislation to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are leading to café owners needing to make big changes in how they operate, including processes and cafe furniture. Handheld menus are almost a thing of the past, but a menu of some sort is an essential part of dining out.
So, What is the problem with menus? - COVID-19 can survive on surfaces for anything from two hours up to longer periods of time depending on the conditions such as temperature and material. Research has found that it can survive on plastic for up to three days. This can then be spread to a person if they touch the surface and then touch their mouth, nose or eyes.
Passing around plastic menus in busy café environments is an easy way to encourage the spread of the virus. The ordering procedure also means that the person serving each table is required to visit each group twice - once to give them the menu and again to take the order and collect it, further increasing person-to-person contact and increasing the chances of transmission. Sanitising the menus in-between each use is something that can take a lot of time and could easily be forgotten during busy periods.
A modern solution - Barcode or no-touch menus are a trend that's proving popular in countries such as Spain, Italy and the UK. They offer a sensible solution. Of course they don't eliminate the problem but significantly reduce the risk compared to physical menus. A barcode is placed on each table, directly sealed onto the cafe table itself, customers use their mobile to scan the code and are immediately taken to an online menu. Customers do not need to touch the barcode and if it is sealed under the glass of a table or a laminate lining it is easy to sanitise along with the rest of the cafe furniture at the start and finish of service.
Creative concepts - Each QR code menu can link to a restaurant app, which can be designed and branded in a way that's going to impress customers much more than a worn or sticky menu ever could! For a more advanced app experience, online ordering and even payment can be facilitated. This eliminates the need for all server to customer contact except for when the food is brought to the table - cutting down the number of server-to-table visits from three to one.