Flu in restaurants: How QR codes help businesses in the face of a COVID resurgence

Flu in restaurants

The current state of flu season globally

The 2023-2024 flu season has been significant in the United States and worldwide. Globally, seasonal flu affects approximately 1 billion people annually, including 3–5 million cases of severe illness. Flu in restaurants is a major source of infection.

The World Health Organization reports an estimated 290,000 – 650,000 respiratory deaths yearly due to flu. This data underscores the extensive impact and spread of the flu virus – and the importance of flu vaccines – across different continents and populations.

In the United States, the CDC has reported substantial flu season activity from October 1, 2023, through December 16, 2023, with estimates of 5.3 – 10 million flu illnesses, 2.4 – 4.9 million medical visits due to flu, 54,000 – 110,000 flu hospitalizations, and 3,200 – 9,500 deaths caused by the flu season.

This increase in flu cases and a slight rise in COVID-19 cases continue to pose challenges for public health and other workers in various industries, including hospitality.

Internationally, the WHO’s FluNet Summary indicates that between November 13, 2023, and November 26, 2023, more than 301,639 specimens were tested globally for flu viruses.

Of these, 36,530 were positive for influenza virus, with a majority being influenza A. The data reflects a widespread flu prevalence, affecting regions including Europe, the Americas, and the Eastern Mediterranean, despite a flu shot or flu vaccine being made available to large parts of the population.

This global perspective on the flu situation highlights the need for adaptive strategies across different sectors and regions to manage the flu and COVID-19 resurgence risks.

Businesses, including restaurants, retailers, and office environments, are thus seeking effective solutions, such as those provided by QR Code KIT, to minimize the spread and impact of these viruses.

The impact of flu and COVID-19 on restaurants

The resurgence of flu and COVID-19 towards the end of 2023 continues to challenge restaurant owners, among sick workers, concerns about food safety, and commitment to maintaining a healthy environment for employees, customers and the restaurant staff.

These health crises, combined with economic pressures such as inflation and labor shortages, have significantly impacted how a hospitality business operates, necessitating adjustments in menu offerings, pricing, and a shift towards off-premises food services​.

In response to these challenges, restaurants increasingly adopt technologies that avoid contact. Menu QRs, like those offered by QR Code KIT, have emerged as a key tool in this transition.

The impact of flu and COVID-19 on restaurants

QR Code KIT: Pioneering digital menu solutions

QR Code KIT has been at the forefront of this digital revolution since 2020 when we launched free menu QRs at the onset of the pandemic.

Our advanced and reliable solution provides not just menu access but also a range of other QR code types that could benefit restaurant owners, such as QR codes for videos, QR codes for collecting feedback, and QR codes for social media pages, further enhancing customer engagement and business operations.

The role of QR menus in adapting to the “new normal”

As restaurants navigate the complexities of operating in flu season during a post-pandemic era, adopting menu QRs has become more than just a trend; it’s an essential tool that addresses multiple challenges.

QR menus have significantly reshaped the dining experience, offering benefits that extend beyond restaurant safety and disease control.

Health prioritization: In an era where minimizing contact and maintaining hygiene is still paramount, menu QRs eliminate the need for physical menus, which are often high-touch surfaces. By scanning a QR code using a smartphone, diners can view the menu, significantly reducing the risk of flu virus transmission and further spread, as the National Restaurant Association recommends.

The role of QR menus in adapting to the "new normal"

Operational efficiencies and cost reductions: The use of menu QR codes streamlines operations in several ways. It reduces the need for printing and replacing physical menus, leading to cost savings, which is especially important during times of economic uncertainty. Additionally, digital menus can be updated instantly without the need for reprinting, allowing venues to adjust offerings based on availability and seasonality efficiently.

Enhanced customer experience: Menu QR codes contribute to a smoother dining experience. They allow for quicker ordering, reducing wait times and improving table turnover rates. This efficiency is beneficial for customers, who enjoy a more seamless dining experience, and businesses, which can serve more customers, especially during peak hours.

Data collection and analytics: Menu QRs open up data collection and analysis avenues. Restaurant owners can track the popularity of dishes, understand customer preferences, and gather feedback, which can be used to optimize the menu and tailor marketing strategies.

Facilitating contactless payments: Menu QR systems integrate contactless payment options, allowing customers to view the menu, order, and pay from their smartphones. This end-to-end contactless experience enhances safety and convenience.

Future-proofing the hospitality sector with digital solutions

The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital solutions in the restaurant industry. Today, menu QRs are part of a larger trend that includes online delivery services, mobile payment options, and digital ordering systems.

These technologies are not just responses to the crisis but investments in the future of the restaurant industry, ensuring resilience and relevance in a rapidly evolving digital landscape.

Balancing safety with customer satisfaction

As restaurants continue to adapt to the challenges posed by the flu and COVID-19, the balance between safety and customer satisfaction remains crucial.

Menu QR codes offer a solution that addresses both these aspects, enabling food entrepreneurs to maintain high hygiene standards in public spaces and restaurant safety while providing a modern and convenient service to their customers.

Balancing safety with customer satisfaction

Menu QRs as a beacon of innovation in challenging times

The restaurant industry’s adoption of QR menus symbolizes its commitment to innovation and safety in the face of ongoing challenges.

As we progress, these digital solutions will continue to play a vital role in shaping the future of dining experiences, demonstrating the industry’s resilience and adaptability.

Discover our powerful menu QR and start a 14-day trial now to prepare for the peak of flu season.