One romantic evening, Owen took his date Jennifer out, ready to go to a candlelight dinner.
He is tall, mighty and personable, she is petite, cute and charming. The restaurant is ranked No. 1 on the Black Pearl list by some people. It is said that the experience is very good and the atmosphere is great. As soon as they entered the door, they heard soft jazz music, and the waiter enthusiastically guided them to their seats.
Owen did his homework in advance. He can recite the restaurant’s signature dishes, know where the chef comes from, and learn how to order wine before dinner. He also remembers that Jennifer likes steaks at five mature levels. Everything is ready, just wait for the waiter to hand over the menu to initiate a conversation.
Good evening, sir and madam, please scan the QR code and order your meal here.
Oh, QR code, disappointing guy. But Owen is not the only "unlucky one." Similar scenes are happening one after another in restaurants across the United States.
QR code occupying American restaurants
Yes, you heard that right. The QR code we use every day to order food is reshaping the American restaurant industry.
According to a CNBC report, Bitly, a company that provides domain name management services, said in an interview that in the past 18 months, the number of downloads of QR codes has increased by 750%. Some experts in the catering industry believe that QR code ordering may permanently replace the existence of paper menus.
Go in and sit down, scan the code to order food, bury your head in eating, and pay to leave. This set of operations has long been engraved in the blood of the Chinese. The emergence of QR code ordering in American restaurants began during the epidemic last year.
Every time-honored menu that has been circulated by many people carries millions of bacteria every minute. In order to give diners peace of mind, the restaurant has to plasticize the paper menu to ensure that it is disinfected with alcohol after each use. But even if the waiter increased his workload, the customers were still flustered and didn't dare to touch them. As a solution, these small black and white squares began to appear in bars and restaurants: "Quick, sweep me to order!"
In addition to being efficient and reducing contact, restaurants will also use QR codes to order food to respond to the influx of online takeaway demand during the epidemic.
It seems to be just a small change in the ordering process, but from the industry's perspective, this is the beginning of the transformation of offline restaurants. For example, with the QR code ordering system, the restaurant can flexibly adjust the menu at any time according to factors such as food price fluctuations. Unlike traditional paper menus, every change is an environmental nightmare.
Seated is a platform that provides restaurant reservations and takeaways. According to co-founder Bo Peabody , QR codes are the beginning of a digital connection between restaurants and guests.
He pointed out that in the traditional dining experience, unless it is a regular customer, it is difficult for a restaurant to have a better understanding of the guests. And with the QR code ordering, you can get a clear picture of the customer's consumption frequency, taste preference and other information as soon as they sit down. To put it bluntly, it's not just data tracking.
Some people like it, some people get blown up
I like QR code ordering because it’s much refreshing to read the menu on my phone!
On August 21st, the American comedian @AndrewMichaan posted such a Twitter . 16,800 netizens who did not want to touch the greasy and stained menu gave him a passionate like.
And Christina Cauterucci, the editor of Slate, roared directly in the headline of a report :
Return my paper menu! I'm really fed up with QR code ordering.
Before proceeding, it is necessary to break your illusions-in fact, the QR code ordering emerging in American restaurants is not as convenient as we thought.
At present, the popular QR code ordering on the other side of the ocean is mainly divided into two types.
The first is the real online menu, which will blow Cauterucci directly for one second. After scanning and recognizing the QR code, it will guide you to the website. The pdf version of the restaurant's paper menu is waiting for you. Imagine that the words are small and there is no picture. You have to repeat the "tap-zoom-off" action on your phone to switch from appetizers to drinks, and struggle to see the entire menu.
▲ Help, why should I use my mobile phone to view the paper menu pdf!
Some ordering QR codes will be redirected to the restaurant's official website listing delicious dishes after recognition. But like the pdf version of the paper menu, the page does not have an operation to place an order, and eventually you have to signal the waiter to place the order. This doesn't sound like the Internet at all.
In contrast, the second way of ordering is much more efficient.
In the "digital menu" that is redirected by scanning the code, diners can browse the selected dishes, place their own orders, or even choose how much to tip, and finally complete the payment online and wait for the waiter to deliver the meal. The trouble may be that when you go to a different restaurant to scan the code to place an order, you open a different "digital menu", and you need to fill in the credit card information every time you pay.
▲Dish selection (left), checkout page (right)
Data shows that in the QR code ordering session, each diners spend an average of 11 minutes. And Cauterucci just wanted to say, "I really hate spending the first 10 minutes of social activities on my phone!"
It’s just a meal, why should I surrender my data privacy?
There are many more discussions about the replacement of paper menus with QR code ordering.
For example, it’s convenient to order a meal with a QR code, but if the WiFi in the restaurant is not open and the mobile phone signal is not good, can you just eat Northwestern? If the paper menu disappears, what should the elderly who don’t know how to use smartphones do? Do you still need to tip the waiter if you let the guests order their own meals?
Historian Rebecca Spang is the author of "The Invention of the Restaurant". She reminded that, in fact, modern restaurant culture originates from the concept of sharing public space , and the act of taking out electronic devices to start or interrupt meals is destructive . "Lack of communication makes the whole thing self-centered, and also It will make the people who serve the table look less like real people — more and more like robots.”
Food and beverage analyst Darren Seifer pointed out that some high-end restaurants are reluctant to use QR code ordering because they are "not elegant enough."
▲ Picture from "Tokyo Grand Hotel"
The most worrying issue, like you, is information security and privacy.
Today, when we walk into any restaurant, if we want to scan the code to order, we often have to pay attention to the WeChat official account first, or register as a member first. Every time I encounter this situation, I feel that my free soul has been "kidnapped".
Some Twitter netizens said that if I need to hand over my data to order a QR code, I will ask the restaurant to provide a paper menu, or even change to another restaurant. This spirit of "I would rather die than surrender" is exactly the same as that of a friend next to me.
But to make matters worse, not everyone is sensitive to this matter. Sometimes only a small discount and incentives are needed to make people willing to be tracked. Analyst Jay Stanley said :
When you use a QR code, it inserts an online tracking device between you and your meal. Suddenly, your offline dining becomes part of the online advertising empire.
The use of QR codes to implant viruses and other fraudulent behaviors has also become a concern and worry of American friends with the changes in food ordering methods.
Of course, as the CEO of food and beverage software company Uptown Network said , in the future, it is not necessary to use QR codes to order food, and the experience may be further upgraded. In any case, the era of paper menu dominance will not return.
In 1994, Denso Wave’s Japanese engineer Teng Hongyuan invented the QR code, which was used to track car parts during the manufacturing process. Unexpectedly, in 2021, two-dimensional code ordering will flourish in the United States.
And we are on the other side of the ocean, seeing everything in advance.
(The title picture comes from Bloomberg )
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