Safaricom and Huawei have a new solution for restaurants and cafes named ‘Scan & Order.’
According to our knowledge, this is the first customers will use the service in Kenya. It has, however, been in action in other leading countries, especially China.
Huawei and Safaricom have been business partners for as long as we can remember; besides powering a notable share of its infrastructure, including the recently launched but yet-to-be-rolled-out to the masses 5G network, Huawei has always been close to Safaricom, having integrated its technology in many of its systems.
Safaricom, obviously, runs M-PESA, which is an interesting point because of its reach, as well as its business features such as Pay Bill.
The collaboration will use big data to see customers access online menus and make an order from their seats.
Another understanding is that the solution will use QR codes – you know, the ones you point your camera to scan.
Of course, it is very likely that the development will be picked by many restaurants because it will cut labour costs as many companies attempt to make ends meet during the pandemic.
It is, however, our hope that those restaurants that will pick the technology will not limit food orders to the scans as traditional methods work just fine.
For context, the solution works as follows; a customer scans a QR code, after which he/she has access to a hotel’s digital menu, which could be a website or smartphone app (we think it is the latter). The customer then makes orders from the platform directly and uses M-PESA to pay. The codes will likely be stuck on tables.
Still, we are not sure if this is something customers will use frequently for a variety of reasons.
First, is that some Android phones out there cannot pick QR codes unless you download a dedicated app (that is friction).
It is also likely that customers would be compelled to follow café online accounts – and let’s not talk about blatant personal data abuses that we all know about (how many marketing messages do you receive on a bad day?).
And what about a case where a customer is not digitally savvy?
Our point is that we hope other ordering options will be available.
And that this will not be the case of M-PESA 1Tap again.
Now back to the story. Safaricom says that the solution will harness business operations, which basically means that hotels will have more insights about their operations and ‘cost-effectively respond to customer requirements.’ Others include streamlined supply chains and real-time feedback, name them.
I want to thank Huawei their R&D team and everybody behind Huawei for bringing this solution to life.
Managing Director of M-PESA Africa and Acting Chief Financial Services Officer, Sitoyo Lopokoiyit
Building on this cooperation, Huawei will continue to work with Safaricom to continuously invest in innovation and support Pete’s Cafe’s digital business development. We will create more innovative services and a richer digital life for all Kenyans. Further bringing the digital world to every person, home and organization in Kenya.
Meng Wei, CEO of Huawei Kenya