Scan to Order helps make dining in safer—and enjoyable again

Editorial Team

4 min read
Man and child looking at tablet

The COVID-19 pandemic won’t last forever, but we will be dealing with it for the foreseeable future. It’s affected the way we all do business, and many customers’ habits may already have changed permanently. In particular, the way we eat out, and in, has likely changed forever.


In this new reality, technology is no longer a mere convenience. It’s crucial for adapting to evolving health guidelines, local economic realities, and concerns about safety. Our new online ordering feature, Scan to Order, allows you to offer contactless ordering and payment for a safer, more efficient dining experience. Scan to Order is a feature of the Clover Online Ordering suite.

Simple tech specs

Scan to Order uses QR code technology to put ordering and payment literally into customers’ hands. It used to be that users would need a dedicated app to scan a QR code, making the codes confusing or impossible for less tech-savvy customers to access. But today, nearly every phone has QR scanning tools built directly into its camera. When a customer points their camera at a QR code, a link to a website automatically pops right up. 

The only requirement is that iPhone users have iOS 11 or higher; Android users need Android 8 or higher. 

Safety and efficiency

According to the latest CDC guidelines for restaurants and bars, reusable menus are no longer considered sanitary. As a restaurant owner hoping to offer a safe and sanitary dining experience, you could print large numbers of disposable menus for every guest, which would be expensive, wasteful, and not so great for the environment. Instead, you can create an online menu guests can access right on their smartphone or tablet. This digital experience reduces contact between servers and guests, allowing for better social distancing and increasing customer comfort. The digital menu can be edited on the fly with specials and menu changes, further saving you time and money over costly printed menus.

From the guest’s perspective, they simply scan the QR code with their phone camera, pull up the online menu, and place their order at their own pace and without having close contact with a server. They can then pay for their meal and tip through Clover Online Ordering. Drinks and food come out when ready, and if a guest wants to order dessert or any additional items, all they have to do is pull the menu up again and place another order. 

From the back-of-house perspective, orders placed through Scan to Order are fired directly to the kitchen with no additional effort on the part of your staff. Kitchen staff and servers can see who’s ordered what, and run appetizers, drinks, and entrées out to tables as they’re prepared.

The Scan to Order feature creates a fully contactless ordering and payment process, enhancing customer comfort levels at a time when many people are nervous about the safety of eating out. 

This system is not only safer, it’s more efficient and convenient. Guests pay their bill in advance to complete their order, so they can leave at their leisure as soon as they’re done with their meal. They no longer have to wait for their server to bring them a check. As a result, your tables will turn faster because the guest wait time is dramatically reduced. 

Online menus and Scan to Pay

If your restaurant isn’t using Clover Online Ordering for pickup orders, or if you believe your customer base will not be comfortable with a completely digital experience, you can still use components of the Scan to Order feature to create an online menu and eliminate the need to print disposable menus. Guests can look over the digital menu and place orders with their server. At the end of the meal, servers can drop a Scan to Pay bill for contactless payment that starts by scanning the QR code on the check

Meet the needs of today and tomorrow

Scan to Order creates a fully contactless ordering and payment process that will improve customer safety and comfort. It also allows restaurants to do more with less at a time when most establishments have had to cut back on staff. In fact, Scan to Order may even improve profit margins by allowing tables to turn faster—all without the high online ordering fees that both merchants and guests have to cover, that are typical of the third-party delivery apps many restaurants have been using during the pandemic.

Features like Scan to Order that increase safety and comfort today will continue to enhance the guest experience, improve table turns, and streamline back-of-house processes even once the pandemic ends and the restaurant industry returns to a healthier “new normal.”