QR Code Menus... Spawn of Satan or Happy Little Thing?

Personally, I hate them. But here are two competing takes:

Bad: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/06/15/against-qr-code-restaurant-menus/

Good: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/06/15/restaurant-qr-code-menus-good/

What do you think?


I’m old enough that I’m presbyopic enough that I don’t want to try to be flipping through menus on my tiny phone screen. Give me a paper menu, please.

Also, my phone is old enough that it doesn’t know what to do with a QR code. Give me a paper menu, please.

To answer the titular question completely and directly:

Alex (Kaleo), I’ll take Spawn of Satan for $400, Please.

Edit to add from the “con” WaPo opinion.

  • [The ACLU reports that] 40 percent of people over the age of 65 still lack a smartphone. So do fully one-quarter of those earning less than $30,000 annually. A QR code menu is tantamount to telling the elderly and poor their business isn’t wanted.

I don’t lack a smart phone. It’s just not smart enough, apparently. Or maybe I just “need to get an app for that”, as they say.


It’s becoming more common lately. Annoying as I am not a phone user (and no, I’m not elderly). They go look for a printed menu for me but sometimes when ready to order they tell me x or y item is not available so I have to look at the menu again.

I have a “smart phone” but not for this kind of things.


It is. And to quote the title of the thread it’s the “spawn of satan”. It has not yet become an actual problem but it will one day soon. Reason is that I am one of the relatvely small number of people in the UK who does not carry a mobile phone. So far, the only times I’ve come across QR code menus, my life companion has been with me and she does carry a phone.


I’m fine with it. Not least because my phone screen is illuminated and the text on it enlargeable, unlike a paper menu. So it’s actually easier for me to read a menu from a QR code. If I had the paper menu, I’d probably need my phone’s flashlight/magnifier anyway.


Hahaha. I was going to say the same thing. I don’t like them but being able to zoom in I do love. I always forget to carry my reading glasses and in a dark restaurant I’d have to pull out my phone anyway.

Perhaps it’s my digital ineptitude showing, but even when I find the menu and enlarge it to being readable, I find it difficult to peruse the menu as a whole. It’s as if someone handed me a real menu along with a card with a small hole through which I have to spy the choices. Add to this the fact that many restaurants have different tabs for entrees, sides, dinner, lunch. desserts, beverage lists, etc., I get lost easily, and therefore start off disgruntled.


And that’s why the paper menu is still available.

Well, that’s why a paper menu should be available, but I’ve been places where it’s not, or the printed menu isn’t current.


Oh, I’ve never encountered that. There’s always a few behind the bar.

1 Like

I am always on a device but for some reason don’t want to look at a menu there. It makes no sense. I don’t understand myself.


Yes, I don’t like the QR code menus because I like to se the whole thing. By the time I’ve scrolled to the 3rd or 4th page I forgot what the appetizers were. I like to to see all of the menu to figure out my order.

As someone with worsening eyesight I am usually using my flashlight to read menus at night, particularly in dark restaurants. But I still prefer this to scrolling through pages on my phone.


I concur with everything kaleokahu and brisket44 have said. I want the whole menu in front of me to be able to peruse without scrolling up and down, opening multiple pages, using up my battery and possibly my data plan, etc. And I’m my early 50s, so hardly a fuddy-duddy.


^ This, absolutely.


I’m not a fan of these in general. If it’s just me, or me and a friend, I will deal with it.
But I often go to restaurants with my mom or older relatives who are not smartphone savvy. So a lack of a printed menu would want to make them go elsewhere.


I could read the pros and cons, but from my perspective: Spawn of Satan.
I get how they can help with changing menus but:

  1. They presume everyone is on the grid. I do not have a service provision that includes data. As such, the restaurant MUST provide ready wifi (without marketing BS) for the user.
  2. They presume everyone has the tech. This is officially creating more of a tiered system than we already have about welcome participants in the world.
  3. The places here that I’ve been that do that also make it our ordering system. GAH. The number of times they are not hooked up to existing pay services means we have to enrol in some bllcks that takes time and effort when we could be sat enjoying a conversation and a drink? NO.

Actually, allow me to revise my statement: the technology as possibility is fine. The way it is implemented, often to outsource labour and infrastructure onto the customer, is not.


I agree that your #3 is a scourge. One of the first times I encountered it, my companion decided to send back a beer she hated, and it was like pulling teeth to get it taken off the bill.

1 Like

Hate them. I regularly find they link to 404, or are not laid out to be legible.

I have a smart phone but do not do QR anything! I can scan an 8.5 x 11 page way faster then fumbling with a cell phone.

There’s also the newest trend of paying your bill by QR code. I’ve had that happen to me twice in the last few months here in the Bay Area. I wonder what happens if you want to pay cash.