When the pandemic began, many restaurants switched to using QR codes over physical menus.
The thinking behind this change was simple—menus are often reused, which could theoretically increase the risk of viral spread. Having each person use their own phone to look at a menu allegedly reduced the likelihood that the virus could be transferred from one customer to another.
While this was the stated reason, the switch to scanning QR codes also provided other benefits for a restaurant.
First, the use of a QR code could be cheaper, as physical menus no longer needed to be printed and servers didn’t have to spend time handing out each menu.
Second, menu listings could be changed as needed — so if a restaurant suddenly had supply chain issues, they could alter their offerings without reprinting a giant stack of menus.
No matter the benefits for the restaurant, customers’ response to QR code menus has been less than positive. That’s why TikToker and server Conner (@turningtablesmoremoney) recently sparked discussion after telling servers to continue handing out physical menus, even if their restaurant offers QR codes.
“Nobody likes looking at their phone to see what they’re going to eat or drink — especially not old people,” he explains.
@turningtablesmoremoney No one likes QR Code menus! Scanning over a physcial menu is part of the dining experience. Make sure to hve real menus for all your guests And make sure the menus are clean!! Theres nothing more gross than a sticky menu #servertiktok #serverlife #menus #qrcodes #tipsandtricks #moremoney #servertips #restaurant #buymybook #fyp #viral #psychology ♬ original sound – Turning Tables
“No one likes QR Code menus!” Conner adds in the caption. “Scanning over a [physical] menu is part of the dining experience. Make sure to [have] real menus for all your guests — And make sure the menus are clean!! There’s nothing more gross than a sticky menu.”
Conner is right about customers’ distaste for QR code menus.
As reported by CNN, “A recent Technomic survey found that about 88% of respondents said they preferred paper menus to digital QR codes.”
“About 66% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they didn’t like QR codes because they involve pulling out your phone as soon as you sit at the table,” the article continues. “About 57% agreed that using QR codes felt like a chore, and 55% agreed that QR codes were hard to read and browse through.”
Commenters noted that other factors can also reduce the efficacy of QR code menus.
“Omg especially when my wifi is slow,” stated a user.
“Or when boomers don’t know how to scan a QR code,” added Conner in response.
We’ve reached out to Conner via email.
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