ny times banner size 01 scaled
Author picture

QR Code Menus are Here to Stay—Experts Say

The global pandemic pushed QR code menus to the spotlight as restaurants used them as contactless alternatives to printed menus.

Fast forward to three years, more diners have been openly expressing displeasure over digital menus and demanded good ol’ menus instead.

The customer is always right, they say, so quite a few restaurants listened. The once ever-present QR codes got flushed down the drain as food establishments returned to physical menus.

But despite getting thumb-downed by most diners, some restaurants remain steadfast in their trust in the tech tool, believing in their capabilities and the opportunities they can bring.

Many may believe the end is near for QR code menus, but these two-dimensional barcodes still have a long way to go.

Are QR code menus on their way out?

To challenge the recent claims made by the New York Times, the Guardian, and the Business Insider about the fading popularity of menu QR codes, our compelling statistics emphatically refute their assertions. 

Contrary to their predictions, our data unequivocally demonstrate that menu QR codes are not only here to stay but also poised to continue their widespread adoption, regardless of personal preferences.

A lot of customers strongly averred, “I hate QR code menus” but many restaurants still plan to invest in them.

According to SpotOn’s State of Restaurant Tech Report, 63% of restaurateurs want to invest in QR codes for menus, ordering, or payment.

Interactive digital restaurant menu software MENU TIGER also found a 37.6% increase in active QR code menu users, with US establishments comprising 26%.

A quick Google Trends query also tells us that searches for keywords such as “QR code menu” and “menu QR code” didn’t wane, maintaining a steady demand for more than 24 months running.

How does a QR code menu really work?

Initially, the QR code menu led to a PDF copy of the menu. Restaurant owners had to digitize their menus and then embed the file into a QR code using an online QR code generator.

One problem that came with it right off the bat was the font size. Diners had to zoom in and out on the PDF menu to view the item details. They also had to scroll or flip a few times for menus with three or more pages.

Here’s when one of the restaurant trends, the smart QR code menu, comes in. It offers a more efficient way of catering to customers by allowing dine-in customers to access online menus, place and pay for orders, and even give tips.

These also allow restaurants to provide customers with a more personalized and convenient dining experience. They can easily change and improve their menus, offer multi-language support to address language barriers, and even provide cross-selling and upselling features. 

Moreover, the smart menu QR codes generate valuable insights and analytics to help businesses make accurate and improved decisions.

Smart menu QR Code: More than just a technology


Compared to paper menus, smart menu QR codes are more convenient for restaurant owners and patrons. 

A rundown from Eater shows that 78% of customers enjoy QR code ordering. The data debunks that there is an existing QR code shortage, and it’s running out of popularity.

You may offer contactless ordering and even a better menu experience to your target customers by utilizing this technical solution.

The use of a contactless ordering system protects your customers from the risks of virus transmission or the spread of germs. Customers can only place orders and even make payments by using their smartphones to scan a QR code!

More so, a smart menu QR code gives your clients immediate access to the menu, enabling them to peruse the options at their own speed without feeling rushed to make a choice.

In addition, you may easily accommodate customers of different nationalities inside your restaurant. 

You may easily translate a menu that can serve customers from other countries with the use of this advancement.

There won’t be any uncomfortable interactions as a result, and these foreign clients can quickly dine at your restaurant with comfort and ease.

Smart menu QR codes not only help you in catering to customers but also allow you to gather analytics and insights to make sound decisions for your business. 


Restaurants may increase operational efficiency, adjust to shifting market conditions, and even provide a better customer experience using QR code menus.

Smart menu QR codes are one of the restaurant trends that are simple to connect with restaurant management systems, which streamlines ordering procedures and lowers the potential for errors and misunderstandings within a business. 

Additionally, these streamlined operations can improve business efficiency, reduce waste production, and maximize worker productivity—all of which are essential during a recession.


How can employing QR code menus can save you money?

The QR code menu is a practical tool for restaurant operators.

You can modify the menu’s content on the backend at any time; it could be adding seasonal items, editing item availability and prices, or updating the food description without reprinting anything.

Since edits are done online, you don’t need to spend every time you take this action.

Aside from that, it can help you operate despite the labor shortage, with 2 million roles unfilled, according to the Washington Post in 2023.

You can delegate taking customer orders using this technology since it allows customers to place orders right at their fingertips without interacting with the staff.

QR codes and printed menus go hand in hand

While QR code menus initially replaced paper menus at the height of the pandemic, they are not here to put an end to them. MENU TIGER CEO Benjamin Claeys believes in this notion.

“The success of the QR code menu is that it actually benefits many people. And this doesn’t mean that QR code cannot go hand in hand because you can have a traditional menu with a menu QR code on it,” he said.

There’s no denying how QR code menus helped restaurants survive the pandemic. 

The takeaway

Despite all the negative remarks about menu QR codes, it is undeniable how this technology has greatly helped food establishments not just by staying open during the pandemic but also by streamlining operations to improve customer experience. It’s cost-efficient, reliable, and flexible.

Is there an ongoing QR code shortage in the hospitality sector scene? It’s very unlikely. And the data and trends have proven that.

QR code menus are the future of the restaurant industry.

MT Blog Banner Brands

Share this post