Twitter Is Taking The Side Of 'Boomers' In The Restaurant QR Debate

When the Covid-19 virus brought about a global pandemic and changed life as we know it, struggling industries looked towards technology for aid. More restaurants signed up for delivery apps to fulfill food orders when dining in was prohibited (via MarketWatch). When restaurants re-opened for dine-in once again, restaurants started replacing physical menus with digital QR codes in an effort to make dining as contactless and safe as possible. Customers could even scan a QR code to pay their bills online (via CNBC).

While companies like Bitly did see a considerable 750% increase in QR code downloads from the beginning of the pandemic till 2021, CNBC reports that some restaurants quickly returned to physical menus. This was partly due to the perceived lack of "classiness" involved in paying online, and partly because of the confusion it causes amongst not-so-tech savvy patrons.

QR code menus aren't just a matter of debate for restaurant owners; they're also polarizing for customers. One viral tweet posted in early February refers to boomers — people born between 1946 and 1965 — and says: "sorry I'm not scanning a QR code for your menu I'm with the boomers on this." Now, people on Twitter and Reddit are both taking sides in the great QR code debate.

Social media is divided over digital menus

Some users are arguing that the world was a better place with physical menus. They say using QR codes requires some digital skill, which can be more hassle than it's worth. "I don't mind online menus, I mind when new tech is forced on people. My nana still has a rotary phone, you think she's gonna have a smartphone for when she goes out once a month?," one Twitter user complains. Another confesses that even though they're 24, they have no idea how to use QR codes and are too afraid to ask anybody for help. 

Some people are also pointing out that digital menus can take ages to load, especially if you have a slow internet connection or an old and glitchy phone. One Redditor also adds that digital menus take away from the experience of eating out: "I was really excited to go to this fancy place and it had an ordering system like this. Feels like I paid $200 to be on my phone all night."

However, people on the other side of the debate are shedding light on the many perks of digital menus and ordering. "Sales per head up about 25% since installing. People aren't as self conscious about adding/subtracting, extra sides, sauces...It's great," says one Redditor. Others also note that digital menus are far more sustainable than printing new paper ones every time there are changes to the menu. Plus, QR codes enable restaurants to categorize their menu based on dietary preferences and even add photos of every dish.