In defense of the maligned QR code
I like them. Restaurants like them!
Expedite is taking a two-week vacation! It’ll be back in your inbox on Wednesday, July 13. If you’re looking for something to read in the meantime, I have some suggestions. Here are three newsletters produced by my fellow Substack food fellows that I think you’d love:
BOSSBARISTA — Ashley Rodriguez writes about coffee, coffee culture, and the larger themes that surround it. She’s not afraid to talk about tough topics, including bad bosses and toxic workplaces.
Everyday Drinking — Jason Wilson, author of Godforsaken Grapes, a book title that I am immensely jealous of, writes about wine and beer and spirits. His writing is approachable and hilarious, but you’ll also learn a ton every time.
Snack Stack — Doug Mack writes about snacks! It’s an endearing topic but also a fascinating one. Doug covers the history of all sorts of snacks, unearthing the type of trivia that will win you friends at a dinner party.
Here we go again! Let’s talk about QR codes.
First they were helpful. Then they were terrifying. Then they were annoying. Now a prominent restaurant industry research firm is running with the headline “death to QR code menus.” What a time to be alive.
It’s been not quite three months since I’ve written a defense of QR codes and restaurant menus, but I’m going to do it again. Why? Because according to some new research from Technomic, diners hate QR code menus. Well, they prefer paper, at least. According to the survey (of just 1,000 people), 88 percent of diners prefer a paper menu to a QR code. But that’s a strange question if we’re trying to judge the efficacy and staying power of a new-ish technology, isn’t it? Forcing people to choose between the pre-pandemic norm — the thing that we’ve been accustomed to forever — and a new use for technology in restaurants… I’m surprised the new tech got 12 percent of the vote. Change is hard.