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8th July 2023

QR Codes in restaurants: A benefit or a burden?

Do QR codes add or take away from our dining experience in this post-covid world?
QR Codes in restaurants: A benefit or a burden?
Photo: Geralt @ Pixabay

The use of QR-coded menus in restaurants has been slowly growing in the past few years, accelerated by the reopening of restaurants following the pandemic. Many eateries use QRs to both reduce the spread of germs and reduce costs. Whilst this technology has its benefits, there are also potential drawbacks.

One of the biggest benefits of QR codes in restaurants is their convenience. Customers can easily access menus on their smartphones without having to handle physical menus or wait for a server to bring one to them. This can save time and reduce the risk of spreading germs, especially with covid on the mind.

QR codes also offer a more sustainable approach to menu updates. Instead of having to constantly print new menus to keep up to date with fluctuating prices and specials, restaurants can simply update the PDF or website. This both saves money and reduces waste, taking a step towards becoming more eco-friendly.

Another benefit is that QR codes can provide additional information to customers. For example, a QR code on a menu could link to a video showing how a dish is prepared or to a page with nutritional information and allergens. This can enhance the customer experience and help customers make more informed choices without placing this burden on waiters.

However, one significant concern is that not all customers have the means to access QR codes in restaurants. Smartphones may be attached to almost everyone’s fingertips, but not everyone has a device capable of scanning QR codes or may not know how to use them. This can be frustrating for some and could even discourage them from visiting a restaurant.

QR codes can also impact personal interactions between customers and servers. Granted, some customers may prefer the convenience of using a QR code to order and pay for their meals. Yet, many others may miss the social interaction of talking to the servers, also impacting servers’ ability to upsell items or provide recommendations.

There is the concern that QR codes could be used to gather data on users without their knowledge or consent. Despite the majority of restaurants employing QR codes for legitimate purposes, such as improving the customer experience, there is the risk that personal data may be collected for marketing or other purposes remains.

Ultimately, whether QR codes in restaurants are a benefit or a burden depends on how they are implemented. If they are used in a way that enhances the customer experience without sacrificing personal interactions, they can be a valuable tool for restaurants. However, if they are used solely to cut costs or gather data on customers, they can be a burden on both customers and industry staff.

As with any new technology, it’s important to carefully consider the potential benefits and drawbacks before implementing it. Although QR codes in restaurants can be a useful tool, they should be used in a way that balances convenience with personal interactions and privacy concerns.

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