How COVID turbocharged the QR revolution

Published: 18/04/2021

There aren’t many areas of life that COVID hasn’t impacted - from working and schooling to socialising and shopping, the way we’re living in 2021 is worlds apart from years gone by.

One area where the impact has been significant relates to the way we’re transacting - and we’re not talking about the shift from cash to card. 

The humble QR code has seen a huge rise in popularity off the back of the pandemic, and in this article, we’ll explain how and why.

QR codes

Invented in Japan in the mid-’90s, QR codes are essentially barcodes for the modern-day - they’re the little squares made up of black patterns you’ve no doubt seen in circulation already.

The key difference between a QR code and barcode is the quantity of data they’re capable of storing - up to two and a half thousand numeric characters compared to just 43 with a barcode.

Pssst: You can learn more about QR codes and how they work in our guide.

Why are they so popular?

Thanks to their large storage capabilities, QR codes can store heaps of really useful information like website addresses, names, and locations.

But perhaps more importantly, they can do so reliably, safely, and at a super low cost.

Unsurprisingly then, experts don’t expect this revolution towards QR codes to go anywhere anytime soon - in fact, there are whispers that Apple is in the process of developing QR codes using dots and colours (rather than black and white squares) for use in their enterprise.

The rise of QR codes

According to a recent report by the BBC, QR codes are now more popular and widely used than ever in the age of COVID, but why?

Because consumers can scan a QR code using their smartphone and be taken directly to a business’ website, browse, order, and pay, all without touching the likes of a menu, card machine, or any other shared surface.

We don’t need to explain to you why that’s useful amidst a global pandemic when everyone is afraid of contracting germs. 

Besides the obvious hygiene benefits, QR codes also offer consumers a super convenient experience - there’s no sitting around to be brought a menu or the bill - everything is done on the customer’s timeframe. They can order, pay, and leave without waiting. 

The benefits of QR codes

There are three standout benefits to be had by businesses adopting QR codes; safety, speed, and cost. 


Personal hygiene has never been more important than it is today - consumers are spooked and cautious. QR codes offer them (and you!) a safe and contact-free way to transact with businesses.

So businesses who hop aboard the QR train can position themselves competitively, keep their customers happy, and continue trading successfully throughout the pandemic and beyond.

An example

After the virus hit Sweden, one Stockholm based technology firm developed QR codes for businesses to display in their shop windows for passers-by to scan, allowing them to browse and buy without entering the store.

The tech has been adopted in 24 countries and counting and is reported to nurture a deeper and continuing relationship between businesses and their customers, despite the challenging circumstances.


We mentioned the time benefits to be had by using QR codes in hospitality businesses - it cuts down waiting times - and this can extend to other industries and sectors too.

Modern-day consumers are not accustomed to waiting thanks to the likes of Amazon Prime - convenience is mission-critical in order to keep customers happy, and QR codes offer them just that.

An example

Grocery stores have experimented with the use of QR codes and as a result, scanning food items and paying for them using QR codes is now trending. 

Consumers relish the ‘checkout-free technology’ as it allows them to go about their shopping and leave without having to queue up at checkout. 


So QR codes offer plenty of benefits for shoppers, but what’s in it for you? More money in your back pocket.

COVID has hit businesses hard so it’s never been more important to keep a close eye on costs and pinch pennies where possible - QR codes can save you plenty of those. 

Not only are they a relatively cheap technology to implement, but you’ll save money on the likes of printing costs (i.e. menus), and staffing (i.e. checkout assistant or wait staff). 

An example

A restaurant has 20 tables and typically hires two waitresses per three-hour sitting at minimum wage (currently £8.91 an hour). Thanks to COVID they’d have to provide single-use menus to each diner setting them back £15 per 50 menus.

By using QR codes they’d kiss goodbye to the menu printing cost and could get away with one waitress to cover all 30 tables, saving them in the region of £42 per sitting. 

The takeaway

The use of QR codes for businesses is booming, and it’s a trend that’s here to stay. Business experts suggest they’ll be pervasive across the hospitality and retail industries in the not so distant future, so now’s the time to join the movement to benefit both your customers, your business, and your bottom lines.

But how?

Order & beepaid

Here at takepayments we’ve been beavering away behind the scenes to offer businesses our revolutionary Order & beepaid app.

You guessed it, QR codes power it - we’ll develop a unique one for you that you can display around your premises, in your window, on your website, and so on. 

All your customers have to do is scan the custom code, browse your menu at their leisure, order, and pay - either from their table (when it’s allowed) or without even leaving the sofa.

Good to know: We’ll get you set up with your QR code and help set up your menu on the app, as well as link it to your kitchen and/or bar.

Within Order & beepaid you can also easily:

  • Chop and change your menu to reflect your stock levels, offers, and promotions.
  • Customise it to your heart’s desire to maintain your brand integrity.
  • Manage incoming orders on multiple devices.
  • Comply with Track & Trace, and
  • Offer a collection and/or delivery service - making adapting to lockdowns a doddle.

Order & beepaid is affordable and simple to use - you’ll only pay for rental and card processing fees with us, we don’t believe in hidden charges, all our pricing is transparent.

Top tip: Want to learn more? You can read all about the business benefits of Order & beepaid here.

Next steps

Sold? If Order & beepaid sounds like the solution for your business our specialist joining team will be with you every step of the way, plus:

  • We don’t charge sign up or exit fees
  • Offer short 12-month contracts
  • Provide round the clock support, and
  • You’ll get next day settlement thanks to our partnership with Barclaycard.

Reach out to one of our dedicated experts today! 

Bryony Pearce

Bryony Pearce


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