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Combat the Industry Chip Shortage

washington post qr code

Faced with no semiconductor chips for their ordering machines, restaurants pivot away from human servers and toward contact-less ordering

As noted in a recent Washington Post article, more restaurants are turning to new ways of menu ordering. The Arlington, Va., company GoTab offers a platform that allows customers to scan a QR code (QR stands for “quick response”) at their table and a menu pops up on their phones, from which they can order and pay. No ordering from a server or bartender, just a food runner to bring the order.

qr code menu

Embracing the new normal

GoTab’s CEO, Tim McLaughlin, says his company has gotten new business from restaurant groups as other POS companies have equipment back-orders and GoTab circumvents the problem with a simple QR code system, thus minimizing the central role of servers.

GoTab services venues from 80,000-seat racetracks, big breweries, large event spaces, and independent restaurants. Digital menus are becoming much more common than in the past. Half of full-service restaurants nationwide have added digital menus in the last year, and 40% of all food businesses have added a form of contactless payment.

“Servers are great when they’re available, and they’re not, if they’re not.”

Tim McLaughlin, CEO of GoTab

serving drinks

Restaurants pivot towards contactless ordering

The public is eager to return to sporting events and enjoy a meal out. But instead of full dining rooms, many restaurants are being forced to cut operating hours or leave tables open. If seats are not being filled multiple times per evening, the financial structure of the restaurant doesn’t work.

While leisure and hospitality jobs have increased by 292,000 in May, the industry is down more than 2 million from its pre-pandemic levels. At the same time, worker shortages have hit restaurants particularly hard, people changing careers, dealing with child-care challenges or avoiding such public-facing jobs for health concerns.

Many of those jobs could go unfilled if customers start shouldering more of the work of placing orders and payments. Thanks to automation and artificial intelligence, hospitality jobs have been looking different with contactless ordering and payment becoming the norm. 

Collection of devices with GoTab software on screen.

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