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October 13, 2023

QR Codes vs. Printed Menus – What Do Customers Really Prefer?

In recent years, the restaurant industry has undergone a significant digital transformation, with many establishments opting for digital menus in the form of QR codes. While this innovation may offer certain conveniences, it seems that not all customers are on board with the trend.

According to a survey conducted by Technomic1, a staggering 88% of respondents expressed a preference for paper menus over digital QR codes. This significant majority speaks volumes about the enduring appeal of tangible menus. But what exactly makes printed menus so cherished?

1. Convenience

While younger adults  are more comfortable with QR code technology, William Blair’s survey highlights that only 6% of consumers aged 45 to 60 are willing to use QR codes2. Not everyone is comfortable with this, and it can be perceived as an inconvenience, especially for older patrons. Printed menus bridge the technology gap, ensuring that all generations can comfortably enjoy their dining experience without relying on smartphones.

2. Better Dining Experience

For many, using QR codes interrupts the flow of conversation and interaction in dining experience. About 57% of respondents in the Technomic survey agreed with this sentiment1. A printed menu, on the other hand, offers a more seamless dining experience. It is readily available on every table, eliminating the need for customers to search for or wait for a digital menu to load. This accessibility factor and eye catching print also ensure that diners can make menu choices swiftly, promoting efficiency and a more pleasant dining experience.

3. Readability

QR codes are not always user-friendly, and 55% of those surveyed found them hard to read and browse through1. Printed menus, on the other hand, are tangible, easy to handle, and allow customers to quickly flip through pages to find what they want. They provide a tactile experience, allowing diners to easily discuss and share recommendations with their dining companions.

As the restaurant industry continues to evolve, it’s essential for establishments to strike a balance between embracing technological innovations and catering to the preferences of their diverse customer base. By recognising the enduring appeal of printed menus, restaurants can ensure that every diner feels welcome and comfortable, ultimately enhancing their overall dining experience.

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