Perhaps only behind romance and the Eiffel Tower, France is known for its love of good food – and the communal experience of dining with friends and family. COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on restaurants everywhere. Some are staying afloat with take-out and delivery service. Those that plan on surviving are looking for new ways to keep their businesses afloat.
To increase that margin of safety, French startup aumenu worked with SAP partner W3COM to develop a fast and efficient way to eliminate at least one source of potential contagion: the menu.
Imagine entering your favorite eatery. You are seated and a friendly waiter greets you and takes your drink order. But then, instead of handing over menus, the server motions to a QR code on your table.
You’ve seen these before: a grid of small, black squares on a white background. QR stands for quick response, and you see why after you scan it with your phone and the restaurant’s menu instantly appears on your screen – touched by no one but you.
This feature alone would close the sale for most concerned restaurant owners, but the product also delivers additional value to the restaurateur and a unique experience for patrons.
QR codes are not new. Restaurants could do this work on their own, but the process of transforming printed menus into digital files is resource intensive. Plus, the quality of the labels would be poor and the cost to replace them high.
“You can’t do high-quality printing with a home laser printer,” says Guillaume Boucher, CEO of W3COM. “That paper can’t survive the daily, aggressive cleaning required by a restaurant. The owner would be re-printing labels constantly.”
The process from aumenu and W3COM takes the restaurant’s menu in whatever file they share – Word, PDF, PowerPoint, Excel – and quickly transforms it into viewable web pages, complete with tasty photos.
“Life will be very complicated for owners as restaurants re-open to the public,” says Boucher. “They won’t have time to go on their websites and turn menus into digital files or, worse yet, start retyping existing menus.”
This will be a new and unique experience for customers. After scanning the QR code, diners can enter their email address if they like. This makes it possible to deliver a separate bill to each patron. It also alerts the restaurant when a loyal customer has returned. That can mean a free drink or appetizer.
The system was designed in SAP Business One Cloud hosted by SAP, making it easily scalable. “We are looking for partners in countries beyond France,” says Boucher. “And because the data in SAP Business One is so well structured, swapping languages and currencies will be easy.”
Pierre-Louis Gueguen, president of aumenu, says, “SAP Business One is at the heart of the service provided by our startup. It was evident to us that such a project needed a strong ERP software with a great reputation.”
While the technology hums quietly along behind the scenes, diners venturing out after a long lockdown will see that their favorite restaurant, café, bistro, diner, bar, joint, or dive is taking smart steps to help ensure their health – as they enjoy good food.
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