Published 18 October 2021
by Josh Barrie
Taken from CODE Bulletin Monday 18 October
Yes, QR code menus have their benefits. I would list each one but the idea of doing so instantly bores me and anyway the negatives well exceed them, writes Josh Barrie.
QR code menus are a tedious, charmless development. A lot of the time they don’t work properly, they put diners back on their phones when tableside phone usage should be limited, and they steal all the soothing romance from menu perusal.
One of the most joyful parts of going out to eat is being handed a stiff piece of paper full of promise. And then being given a wine list, perhaps in a leather bound book that smells of past nights, which can be looked at before dancing over to the specials board, which will have something like market fish for £22.50 and whatever dessert the pastry chef has decided to cook that evening. A sticky toffee pudding or something, now it’s autumn.
If you are a QR code menu fan you might retort, “but the environment”, before getting back in your car and driving to the shops to buy chicken in a plastic tray and then booking a flight to Switzerland. Paper menus are the least of our worries.
I write this because QR code menus are becoming more common. In Mallorca the other week I had to try to navigate one in the Spanish sunshine. It was trifling and then my steak was terrible. How I wished to be at Rockfish, say, where there is a considered list of seafood and waiting staff use pens to circle orders in that immersive fashion. It makes you feel like you’re part of something. Imagine going to Quo Vadis and instead of Jeremy Lee coming out and chatting happily about pie, you just scroll on your phone, as you’ve done all day.
Also, you can’t keep special QR code menus. My dad still has one of Nico’s Ladenis’ originals from Ninety Park Lane. Memories, you know?