I was scrolling Twitter one evening and one of my (much younger) acquaintances had just put out this concise Tweet: “I’m not using a QR code to see your menu. Hand me a menu.”
He’s in his early 20s. He’s been out of college for right around a year. It’s a take I’d expect from a 60-year-old. This “kid” grew up on technology. Had a smart phone in his pocket at the age where kids in the 70s and 80s would have been collecting actual baseball cards. So, his take surprised me. I would have thought he’d be all about the convenience of quickly scanning a menu with his phone.
In this month’s Man on the Street column, Scott Wiener talks QR codes. His take is that many restaurants don’t use them correctly. Could that be why my 20-something acquaintance wants an actual menu in his hand?
From the restaurant’s perspective, QR codes make so much sense. Owners can easily and quickly make price changes or menu updates without incurring printing costs. But the consumer, it turns out, really doesn’t want them. They are demanding the physical product.
In a recent Technomic survey, a whopping 88 percent said they favor physical menus over QR codes. 88 percent! That’s a rather resounding damnation of the QR code, isn’t it? 57 percent said using QR codes felt like a “chore.” 55 percent said the menu is too difficult to read once pulled up on their phone via a QR code. Wiener brings up that exact point in his column.
That puts many restaurants in a position they don’t want to be in: one method is efficient and cheap — but customers want the opposite and are strongly voicing that.
What to do?
The way I see it, there’s really not a choice. 88 percent tells you all you need to know. Sure, go ahead and use a QR code here and there for those who prefer it. But give your customers an actual menu. It’s what they want.
Lastly, I didn’t feel the need to tease our pizzeria industry report here because we put it front and center on this month’s cover. But the numbers you read in this column don’t even begin to touch how deeply we’ve drilled down on so many other topics. Immerse yourself. Then head to PizzaToday.com where there’s so much more waiting for you.
Editor In Chief