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Restaurants rely on touch-free ordering during the coronavirus pandemic

As restaurants reopened their doors, many of them searched for protocols that made it as safe as possible for staff and customers. That included using QR codes.

WASHINGTON — Restaurants all across the country are putting new safety measures in place during the pandemic. To protect staff and customers, they are turning to new technology. At more and more establishments, customers will start to see the use of QR codes. 

GoTab is an app that allows a customer to scan a QR code and access menus directly on their phone. 

Lulu's Wine Garden was ready to roll out this technology back in March, hoping to change the experience for customers. 

"I didn't want a server at your table every five minutes taking away from your conversation and experience," Owner Paul Carson said.

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Little did he know just how valuable that technology would be. 

"Right now in the world of COVID it's just awesome because it checks so many boxes for us," Carson said.

Tim McLaughlin started GoTab two years ago. At first, people were skeptical about the ordering of the table technique. Since the start of the pandemic though, he's seen a huge jump in demand. 

"During March we did 100% month to month growth for March, April, and May," said McLaughlin. 

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Here's how it works. You sit down at a restaurant and scan the QR code at the table. A menu pops up and you're able to order your food and pay your bill with your phone too. Servers are still there to drop off your food and answer any questions you may have. 

"Safety has to come first for us. This is an opportunity for us to reduce contact, therefore reducing risk," Carson said.

It's a new reality for businesses that are doing whatever they can to stay open and safe for their customers. 

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