East Africa’s largest telco Safaricom on Tuesday partnered with Chinese tech giant Huawei to trial an innovative new solution for restaurants that allows customers to scan a Quick Response (QR) code and pay their bills.

The solutions, “Scan & Order”, seeks to help restaurants digitize their menu and ordering systems enabling them to provide better customer service, optimize their menu and pricing strategies, and leverage the power of big data.

Safaricom and Huawei have long worked together to build widespread connectivity infrastructure and payments systems. Mobile financial services such as M-PESA have become a critical enabler for digital services, facilitating easy transactions between people, businesses and government, and enabling an ecosystem of innovative services.

From Left. Huawei Kenya CEO Will Meng, Pete’s Café CEO Pete Owiti and Safaricom’s M-Pesa Africa managing director Sitoyo Lopokoiyit when they cut a cake to launch the use of the QR ‘Scan and Order’ solution at Pete’s Café, Kilimani, Nairobi on May 17, 2021. Photo/ Faith Macharia

In a statement to the press, the two companies said the next step is to develop new digital services that build on these to change lives.

The Scan & Order technology is a new innovation that will not only improve service efficiency. It will also help restaurants optimize their product offerings and their pricing strategies, integrating with M-PESA for easy payments. It can give them tools to plan their fresh produce purchases and supply chains. By enabling real-time feedback mechanisms, Merchants can quickly and cost-effectively respond to consumers requirements in the restaurant.

It also enables them to develop loyalty schemes and build long-term relationships between users and merchants by enabling bonus point management.

By using the new service to order food, merchants and consumers can both benefit from this digital ecosystem. This is expected to bring continuous service improvement and improve the digitization level of the Kenyan catering industry.

Mr Owiti speaks to Mr Lopokoiyit during the testing of the service. Photo/ Faith Macharia

With the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing, it could immensely improve contactless ordering in restaurants thus reducing the risk of further infections.

Managing Director of M-PESA Africa and Acting Chief Financial Services Officer, Sitoyo Lopokoiyit started the solution at Pete’s Cafe in Kilimani:

“I want to thank Huawei their R&D team and everybody behind Huawei in bringing this solution to life. Thank you Pete’s for being the 1st restaurant to have Scan & Order.”

The trial has been launched at Pete’s Cafe, where the CEO, Pete Owiti said: “We are happy to embrace technology and again to be the first restaurant in Kenya to launch the Scan & Order service together with Huawei and M-PESA. Pete is 100% owned by locals for locals with a global touch. Together we are chasing a digital world!”

Pete’s café established it’s first premise in 2006 with a counter at Rosslyn Academy and Hillcrest International School as a family run business and has now become a fully structured corporate run business. They’ve since gone on to have 4 branches and have recently started works on building a new store at Shell Thika in a new partnership with Vivo Energy. The plan is to roll out at least 3 stores every subsequent year.

Will Meng Wei, CEO of Huawei Kenya when he spoke during the launch. Photo/ Faith Macharia

“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,” said Will Meng Wei, CEO of Huawei Kenya.