What is a Digital Menu?

Everything you need to know about QR Code Digital Menus for Restaurants

Restaurants across the world have been forced to pivot and change due to Covid-19. One of the biggest changes is the rise of QR code digital menus. Digital menus are useful to stop the spread of germs, save money on printing costs, and ensure your guests are always seeing your most up-to-date offerings – but that’s just the beginning.

Digital menus are a complete game-changer for the restaurant industry and offer ample amounts of opportunities to innovate, increase operational efficiency and make more money. 

What is a Digital Menu?


On the surface, a digital menu is an interface that users can use to browse a restaurants menu. This is not to be confused with a “digital menu board” – this is meant to be accessed by a diner on their smartphone or mobile device via QR code. 

Here’s an example of how one could look on a diners phone or mobile device.

The restaurant menu is usually accessible from a QR code placed on a table.

Digital menu on smartphone.

How to get a Digital Menu for your restaurant?

There are a lot of softwares and websites out there to easily create a digital menu (including OrderUp, which is free for restaurants). It’s a super simple process and can be complete in under 36 hours with no labor or technical “stuff” from your end. 

All you have to do is submit a PDF, Image, or URL (link) to your Menu. 

Then a QR code as well as digital menu URL will be sent back to you within 36 hours.

Voila! A beautiful, free digital menu. 

How do Diners Access a Digital Menu?

Diners can access your menu either by inputting your menu URL into a browser such as Chrome or Safari. Or they can scan a QR code, which will bring them to your restaurant’s menu. 

How do I Edit or Update my Digital Menu?

Depending on where and how your digital menu was created, you may be able to make updates on your own, or you may have to create a brand new menu and QR code to reflect the new items or any changes.

If you’re using an OrderUp Digital Menu, your menu comes equipped with a Menu Builder that updates and reflects changes in real-time. It’s easily accessible and can be accessed from any device that’s connected to wi-fi. 

Learn more about our Free Menu Builder application

What Makes an OrderUp Digital Menu Different?

There’s an abundance of great digital menus for restaurants out there. So why should you consider an OrderUp digital menu? For starters, it’s completely free. It’s super-mobile friendly. It’s easy to update, add new menus, items or specials. It helps your restaurants SEO, can help build email lists, and supports operational efficiency, revenue and costs. 

It’s a Mobile-Friendly Website

An OrderUp digital menu is a dynamically created mobile-friendly website. Instead of a PDF or an image, your menu is its own website. OrderUp menus are designed to be accessed, viewed and interacted with from mobile devices. 

Improve SEO

Because OrderUp menus are optimized for mobile devices, and are their own websites – we’re seeing some interesting results in how they interact with Google and Search Engines. This is important because of how consumers are interacting online, in general. Over 66% of total Google searches are made from a mobile device. 

With that in mind, Google continuously updates its search engine to give searchers the best possible answer to their query. This means that mobile-friendly sites and menus are favored over links to PDF’s or Images, in the eyes of Google. We cover this in greater depth in another blog post which can be accessed below. 

Learn More About Digital Menus and SEO


Capture and Build an Email List

With new privacy laws and increasing demand for consumer data transparency, small businesses can be put at risk when looking to run digital advertisements to drive traffic and increase sales. 

Collecting emails from your customers is the best way to communicate your offers, and drive repeat business. A study showed that a 5% increase in repeat business could result in a 25% lift in revenue. A single email marketing campaign can result in up to $3,400 in profit!

Whether you’re building a loyalty program, driving repeat visits or educating your audience on a new menu or drink, direct email is the best way to do it in 2021.

OrderUp offers easy and free guest email collection or “email opt-in”. This is completely free and also completely optional. If a restaurant wishes to use the email opt-in, it’s super easy, non-intrusive and can be customized to include incentives or deals. See the image below for an example of the type of prompt that could appear on the diners phone after scanning the QR code menu. 

We’re seeing opt-in rates of between 7%-10% at our partner restaurants, and an increase to over 26% when offering an incentive. 

Learn More About Building an Email List for Marketing

Easy to Edit or Update

Any time you edit an OrderUp menu, it updates in real time, everywhere it exists. This means that your guests or potential diners always see your most up to date menu. Every menu has an easy to use Menu Builder where a restaurant operator can add new items in just a few clicks, update existing items, change price or image, modifiers and toggle between in and out-of-stock. 

Learn more about our Free Menu Builder application


Unlimited Menus + Time and Date Restrictions

Do you have a bunch of different menus that you’re constantly switching in and out based on the time and day of the week?

Some examples we see are: 

  • Happy Hour
  • Brunch
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner 
  • Game-Day

With an OrderUp menu, you can make as many menus as you’d like. You also have the ability to choose which menu you’d like shown and at which time and days during the week.

For example: Perhaps your restaurant serves Breakfast from 8:30 AM to 11:30AM every day. This can be easily created and reflected automatically in our menu builder.

Improved User Experience

Because our menus are mobile-friendly, they provide a great browsing and user experience. Instead of pinching a screen to see menu items like a PDF driven digital menus, OrderUp digital menus can be categorized and sorted into as many menus as you’d like. Listen to OrderUp’s CEO, Chris Gilpin speak more about how restaurants are improving their customer experience with technology on the Technology Trailblazers Podcast

Free Contact Tracing

Ditch the pen and paper! For areas that require covid contact tracing (like parts of Canada and the United States), our menus come equipped with fully encrypted contact tracing software. Guests are required to enter in their contact information and answer a set of questions (depending on which area you’re in) before viewing the menu. 

Let us worry about contact tracing, so you can focus on running your restaurant. 

Watch 1 minute tutorial on how it works

Free QR Code Ordering & Payment

OrderUp is the only contactless ordering and payment software that is completely free for restaurants. We mean it! Empower your guests to place their orders, and pay directly from their phone (or your menu). Orders are sent directly to your point of sale.

[LEARN MORE: QR Code Ordering Flow]

While there are benefits to using just our menu, when a restaurant uses the QR code Order & Pay functionality, it can be extremely powerful in driving increased guest check average and decreasing table turnover time, among other benefits. See the image below for a simple overview of how it works. We currently support a number of restaurants in the following capacities:

Improving Table Turnover Rate & average ticket size with Contactless Dine-In or Table Service Order & Pay. Limiting long lines, wait times or queues for Food Trucks & Quick Service Restaurants. Helping Hotels go fully contactless for room service while supporting RevPAR (average revenue per available room),  and streamlining online ordering processes for  restaurants looking to facilitate online takeout ordering directly from their website or social media. 

How to set up Your Restaurant for Contactless Order & Pay

Increase Average Check Size

By allowing your guests to order and pay from their mobile device, you’re unlocking new opportunities to increase the average check size. This is mainly done by suggesting add-ons or upgrades, and changes in consumer behaviour. Contactless order and pay have been proven to increase average check sizes by about 27%!

“Do you want to make that vodka soda a double?”

“Add extra cheese and bacon for only $2.50!”

“Pair this Pinot Noir with your main.”

Learn more about how OrderUp can help increase average check size

Reduce Table Turnover Time

Reducing table turnover time (or increasing table turnover rate) is just one of the many ways contactless order and payment can help maximize your restaurants operational efficiency. Removing low-value and time consuming steps in the dining process such as splitting bills, running payment terminals or writing down and punching in multiple orders only results in a better, faster guest experience, and faster table turns for you. 

Furthermore, based on a Survey done by the National Restaurant Association, 52% of consumers already want restaurants to use technology to “make ordering & payment easier”.

Run Menu Experiments

Test your menu to find the optimal usage! This could mean strategically placing high-margin items, trying out different naming conventions, or creating new menus & categories.

When you use an OrderUp Menu, making changes and running tests is easier than ever. If you’d like to run tests but aren’t sure where to start – drop us a line! We’re more than happy to help you set it up, and analyze the results. 

 Tips for Digital Menu Engineering & Optimization

Well, there you have it! If you’re not currently using a QR code digital menu for your restaurant – maybe it’s time to make the switch. During times of rapid change, is often when innovation and technology accelerate.

The relationship between hospitality and technology is changing every day. Don’t get left behind. 

OrderUp offers completely free digital menus for restaurants, food trucks, hotels, QSR’s, bars and more. Position your restaurant for success in the new normal with OrderUp. 

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