An interview with our CEO and Founder, Yanki Onen, and Product Lead for Contactless Menu, Adam Ashur on:
How we ended up making the world’s best contactless menu
We launched our QR menu in April and it’s already a big deal, something we are pleased and excited about. QR menu provides a digitalised ordering and payment system that is customer-led and easily adapted to suit any business. We took some time to think back ‘that time we decided that a contactless menu was our next big step’.
AA: We didn’t come up with the idea of a contactless menu…
YO: We just made it better!
AA: … but it’s true we did realise how we could do that while sitting in a restaurant waiting to pay for our lunch and getting more and more frustrated at how long the whole meal had taken.
YO: Yes, we wanted a quick business lunch and although we loved the establishment and the food had been delicious - and when the staff did attend to the table they were great - it all just took too long and we were getting impatient.
AA: Hmm, at one point the waiter brought me the wrong drink and then when we finally did get to pay the bill, the POS machine was playing up - it was quite a mess on the service side of things. Yanki said something like: of course we could make this better, easily. And then we started wondering why we didn’t just do that.
YO: Look, contactless menus are everywhere since COVID, but a lot of them leave a lot to be desired. They’re often just a pdf version of the printed menu that you get when you scan a QR code in the restaurant.
AA: And then to pay is a different story altogether - once you’ve attracted a waiter's attention, they have to get the card-reader (POS machine) that’s often shared and you have to wait, or you have to have cash or your cards or whatever. And sometimes tipping is included and sometimes not so you need cash for that.
YO: We already had the business account part of wamo up and running and actually when we thought about it, the biggest users of the QR code payment functionality wamo has are F & B and Hospitality Industry businesses. We figured if we built a contactless menu that was visually appealing, interactive and that had a payment functionality built-in, we could solve a big problem.
AA: When we spoke to those businesses on our client list and asked them what would solve their biggest pain point, they said that from a customer perspective it was a solution that would cover the whole process of ordering, accepting orders and taking payments in one environment.
YO: Which is exactly what we’d seen in that restaurant.
AA: So it was obvious for us what we could do.
YO: And so simple! This is the whole point of the wamo technology that we have - it’s built to be flexible and to solve problems. With wamo tech, businesses get to say what they need to happen and we make it happen - and this has proved an excellent case in point.
AA: When we said to these clients: we can create a contactless menu that is an extension of the wamo business account you already have, that can function as an ordering, tipping and payments solution in one…
YO: They loved it.
AA: Yes, they loved it. Because now everything happens at the table and on the clients’ own phones.
YO: The waiting staff are free to improve the human-relationship side of being in a restaurant: talking about specials and the food and drinks, bringing things to the table and checking that everyone is happy.
AA: And the customers are in charge of the experience too - they don’t have to download an app or have wamo in any way on their phones - they just scan the QR code at the table and see a menu that‘s designed specifically for a smart phone - they can choose dishes, amounts, extras, drinks and place their orders themselves. When they are done they can choose their tip amount and pay directly through the menu without having to input card or account details. I mean, it’s so easy, it’s a whole different experience.
YO: Yes and of course for the manager and the kitchen it’s great too because the manager okays the orders as they come in and passes them on to the kitchen and all staff are able to see which menus are active, what tabs are open and which tables have paid from the wamo dashboard on their device.
AA: Yes… so ‘active menus’ is another feature our clients love - say you have a Wednesday 2-for-1 burger special - that would usually be a separate menu or print-out cost, but with wamo you can create the Wednesday menu and only switch it to ‘on’ on a Wednesday and then switch it off the rest of the time, for example. Also if you run out of an item you can just delete it rather than have to explain to an expectant customer that the delicious item they looked at and now want isn’t available (I hate it when that happens!)…
YO: That’s the other thing - with this menu + business account, our clients no longer need card-readers or any other integrations for taking payments - and they also no longer have to worry about printing a menu and reprinting it every time they want to make a change or update it to look better. Over time this can really bring costs down - especially if you’re a small business trying to be extra careful. And it’s better for the environment - this is very important for us.
AA: Also the menu is theirs to personalise. They can upload photos of the restaurant food or stock photos so that it really looks delicious, and they can add their restaurant branding too - updating it or making changes is fast and easy.
YO: And let’s not forget that unfortunately there is an urgent staff shortage going on across this industry (and many others) at the moment and this solution provides a super efficient stop gap to help with that problem. The hospitality industry relies on providing a good experience, or else the consequences can be unfairly harsh - people don’t like hassle around food and drink. They want to feel taken care of, in good hands…
AA: So that’s what we’ve helped with.
YO: That’s what we’ve helped with, yes. Now, what’s next?!
*According to our customers - but we know they know what they’re talking about!