Apr 3, 2023 - Food and Drink

Seattle readers say they largely hate QR code menus

A cellphone, a printed QR code and a cup of coffee on a table

Photo: Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images

Axios Seattle readers have spoken: Restaurants are not a place where you want to be forced to pull out your phones.

What's happening: Dozens of readers wrote in response to our query about the utility of QR code menus. And, with few exceptions, most people wished they'd go away.

  • "There's something to be said for going out to eat and not once pulling a device out," reader Jake L. said.
  • "Having to get phones out for QR menus means people will inevitably look through their pending notifications and be distracted from the time together," added Kevin H. "Physical menus keep the focus on the people and the meal right in front of you."

Plus: Jill E. wrote that having to pull out her phone makes a restaurant trip feel like work. "I go to a restaurant to relax, not to have to get my phone out and start scrolling to figure out the menu."

Yes, but: A few people had good things to say, particularly when it comes to reducing the waste of paper menus.

  • Some, like Erin M., appreciated how QR code menus cut down on table clutter, as well as the need to use hand sanitizer after touching a physical menu.
  • Then there's the convenience factor. "You don’t have to wait for the waitperson to bring them to your table and if you want to add more after you’ve ordered, you’ve still got a menu available to look at!" wrote Mallori W.

The bottom line: As attached as we are to our phones, many of us see a sit-down restaurant as a great place to finally take our eyes off of them.


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