The other week, I went for dinner at a place that had a online ordering system. My experience was as follows...
Arrive at the table, scan the QR code
No phone signal in the restaurant, so I need to connect to the wifi.
Connect to the wifi, get a captive portal
Need to put my phone number in to connect to the wifi; there is no signal, so I need to go outside, to receieve the confirmation code.
Connected to the wifi, scan the code again, choose my food.
Go to pay, need to register an account
Put my email address in, I already have an account on this food ordering service!?
Do a password reset
Put in my credit card details (why not use apple pay?).
This whole time, we're sat at a table, in theory to meet friends, but we've spent the first 15 minutes all glued to our phones!
> Need to put my phone number in to connect to the wifi; there is no signal, so I need to go outside, to receieve the confirmation code.
Somewhere around these steps is where I would leave. It’s the equivalent of sitting at a table for 15 minutes waiting for the waiter to give my group menus - they don’t want me as their guest.
 It happened, both the waiting and the leaving before ever getting menus. That restaurant taught me that if the service is bad before even ordering the food one shouldn’t be afraid to leave.
In a non-personal QR code setup, on the other hand, responsibility is shifted to some bureaucratic process which is nothing but frustrating.
As noted in the article, most/many people do not go out for diner to quickly buy and consume a meal, but to spend nice time with people.
15 minutes waiting time spent chatting with a waiter or with each other even has the potential to contribute to a positive experience, whereas 15 minutes setting up your smartphone definitely does not.
Absolutely. In this case however, there were multiple waiters refusing eye contact while passing right by our table and there were also other tables right by ours that got there after us and was being taken care of. It was as if we weren’t there.
I would just leave to be honest
I hold at 15% standard. Yet, many apps have defaults for 18%, 20%, 22%... all way up to 30% from what I've seen. And, they allow me to "Custom Tip" which I do once I find it (it's usually small and text instead of a button like the presets). However, once you select custom I'm back into dollars instead of percents so I have to do the math myself (and I don't even remember what the total was by this screen). At this point, I'm feeling like "okay you just don't want my money then because I'm not a whale of a tipper" so I have as some act of defiance started just skipping it altogether. I know it's not fair for that server but it's what little I can do to voice my dissent of the system.
We're talking patron UX here and point is I don't what to shoulder the burden. I didn't even want to calculate 15% tip in my head and you want me to start carrying cash everywhere, something I haven't done since Y2K was a concern. Spend 15 minutes waiting for the manager to come over? No thanks.
> Not tipping doesn't accomplish anything and the server who has no control over the system and is already underpaid gets screwed over.
I view that as "not my problem". I know it's wrong if the server gets screwed, I'm not arguing this is a just behavior on my part. But, if you extrapolate my behavior to all patrons the restaurant would get a hint real quick that people didn't want to tip 20%/25% and reduce the defaults. They know I'm dissenting it's just that I'm the only one dissenting so they're not even paying attention. Instead, what is happening is the opposite. Patrons were conditioned that 15% is too low. 20% is now standard, pushing up to 25% which will be standard in a couple years if trend continues.
FWIW, I hate tipping in general. I wish they were paid a fair wage and I was billed appropriately on the front end.
To me, a waiter provides no value at all. I'd rather order at a counter and pick up the food myself. Then I don't have someone asking me "how is everything" when my mouth is full. I don't need to pay someone a 30% cut for this.
Also, I don't feel like my check size is very related to the amount of work involved. At least in my 95% use case of 2-4 people. The waiter does the same thing, checks in on us just as much, still juggling 5-10 other tables. I'm there for an hour. I just don't see $15-30 of value in the service I got during my interaction (my typical check size is $50-100), that's where I land back on my 15% standard. I don't always see that value either, but it's what helps me sleep at night.
If I'm with 5+ people or stay longer than an hour or am eating at a higher priced place where waiter is probably serving fewer tables simultaneously then I adjust accordingly.
Another irk of mine is how alcohol falls into this equation. If I buy a $50 bottle of wine I'm supposed to give $10 tip when usually all they do is open the bottle? My rule is a dollar per serving. It's probably outdated rule and needs some adjustment for inflation as that's been my rule for a long time.
Honestly if the minimum wage was increased appropriately we wouldn't have to bother with tipping at all.
Billionaires get tax breaks while the lowest-paid workers buying power goes down every year without fail.
And no guillotines because they're all too busy trying to keep their head above water. GG billionaires.
In the end, I left my usual tip to the server and zero to the rest and left it for them to figure out, just like in every other restaurant on the planet. Servers make full, much higher than Federal minimum wage in my state plus tips, so really we should be abolishing tipping at this point IMO.
You mean just like every restaurant in USA. I rarely tip in France, only if I had a really special interaction with the waiter/waitress. Once it was because the waitress was a student we chit chat a bit and ended up talking programming (!). I never tipped once in China (nobody does it there)
I guess I don't know how you go from the idea that you are accomplishing nothing while making someone else's day worse to being able to say "not my problem" and go on with your life.
I would much rather they were paid a fair wage. But I'm not going to voice my opinion on that matter by refusing to give them the money that I personally factor in as part of a meal anyway. I get where you're coming from, but I don't see how this method of addressing it is intended to accomplish anything.
In several states they are. Washington St. doesn't have a lower minimum wage for servers.
What a curious statement, American Stockholm Syndrome in full effect.
I'm in Australia and tipping is only really done in the case of exceptional service. The price on the menu is the price you pay. Nobody feels animosity towards someone who pays the price on the menu, and nobody feels guilt for "only" paying the price that was specified.
Also nobody would expect sub-par service or to be disparaged if they don't pay more, as sibling commenters have mentioned.
Much simpler for everyone - why should customers have to do convoluted maths to work out how much to subsidize a business that can't afford to pay their workers? That is pretty much the definition of an unviable business.
If the point is not to keep calculating the tip, that's worse. And then we would need to wait to get the change on the tip?
I'm moving towards a fixed amount. Since, as I mentioned elsewhere I don't see a strict correlation between menu price and work performed. The amount of work to bring me a steak is same as work to bring me a burger; but the steak might cost 3x more. Majority of dining experiences follow the same script and same amount of interaction with waitstaff so I'm thinking of just giving everyone $X and don't even consider what I spent. Maybe adjust up if we had appetizers, extra beverages, or some difficult situation. Having a toddler, I've left my fair share of huge "sorry for the mess" tips and that doesn't bother me at all.
You thought you were dissenting, but it mostly just reflects poorly on you.
Source - brother is a server.
So with the paper pad waitress experience:
1. Responsive, zero latency interactions.
2. Accepts free form text entry.
3. No multi step UI control lookups.
4. Allows entry of customer modifications and requests to items.
5. Allows custom abbreviations.
Flashlight mode doesn't last very long, though.
Is flashlight mode when you set it on fire?
Well except, you know, literally a stylus.
I am waiting for the first restaurant that only has Cooks and Food Runners with no traditional waitstaff...
This will likely coincide with the removal of tipping as a custom in the US. We will move to kiosk ordering, press a button to get drink refills, pay at the table, and leave.
They've had this in Japan since before tablets in the form of vending machine restaurants. You order and pay at a vending machine and get a ticket, you sit down and hand in your ticket, and someone brings the food to your table.
I haven't been in many years, I guess now they have touch screen kiosks instead of old school vending machines.
I 100% prefer pay at table, and would 100% prefer order at table as well, less chance they get my order wrong
Actually, now that I've think of it, I'm not sure I've ever seen the "large-screen credit card terminal with order entry" version in real life.
Just realized this is another problem averted by Chip+PIN for payments. Since you have to physically touch the keypad, there's reason to take you to the PoS terminal, or the terminal to you, and no reason to take the card from you.
Chip+Sign is what we have here. I dont even know what my PIN would be for my Credit Card, Pin's are only really used for Debit cards but I almost never use my Debit card for anything at all.
I still feel that these products are "sold" to restaurants and aren't actually all they're cracked up to be.
A few converted to carry out only, and have not gone back to buffet style.
There are still a few open of course but no where near as many, and the ones that survived seems to be of lesser quality
I bet you are one of those people that believe wait staff only make $2/hr right?
Even shadier shit happens where the restaurant makes employees repot tips that didn’t happen to keep above the minimum. Then they have to pay taxes off income not earned. Is it illegal? Yeah but it’s difficult to enforce and the people getting screwed are already very vulnerable (not your hipster big city wait staff)
The context of this conversation is around restaurants being able to legally pay less because of tipping, however if they willing to violated the laws that we have now, why would they not also violate the min wage laws.
Around here an average meal at a restaurant would be about $14 lunch and $18 dinner per person.
So to make the often promoted $15/hr wage, the server would need to clear $96 in tips over the base wage of $3/hr. At an average of 18% tips that would mean the ticket revenue would need to be $534 for the shift. @16 avg per person that is about 4 people per hour, or 1 or 2 tables per hour
If the restaurant is that slow, that the server is only serving 1 table per hour, well chances are the server needs to look for another job anyway because that place will not be in business very long.
This is also why alot of servers I know prefer the tipped model over a higher base wage, if a strait 15/hr wage was created with no tips, many servers would make LESS money then under the current system
Most of the people calling for a $15/hr base wage have a delusional belief they will make $15/hr PLUS tips... that is never going to happen
It almost does in Portland. Starting July 1st, it's $14 plus tips. There is no "tipped employee" minimum wage. It's the same for all. I think it will be $13 per hour in the rest of Oregon outside the metro area but there may be a third level for the most rural counties.
Don't mean to be too much of a jerk, but I may adjust my tipping downwards. I typically do closer to 20%.
This whole $2 thing is bullshit that’s carried forward if you’re the average HN reader in a coastal city. My friends who are waiters across a spectrum of restaurants (in a coastal city) probably make $50-60 an hour, and double that at the higher end places, for a job that yes, can be exhausting (but not exceptionally more so than many other low-skill jobs), and requires no specific training or degree.
It's amazing how some can re-invent the simplest of ideas simply for the sake of getting tech rammed into the stream.
I tend to not jump to malicious that can be attributed to virtue signaling and/or incompetence.
If you're just unusually fastidious, I guess that's your right. But when you're claiming (or at least implying) that everyone must conform to those same levels to avoid covid-19 transmission - which is what we're still seeing quite a bit of - then that's hygiene theater.
Any time a business claims to do something in the name of health or environmentalism, they are actually just using those as an excuse to cut corners.
Here in Belgium the government asked a lot of mostly useless measures out of our bars and restaurants. You think they're happy paying hundreds, sometimes thousands of euros having Plexiglas screens installed all over the place, inconveniencing customers and staff alike?
I've been to a restaurant where they raised the prices of drinks to accomodate for using biodegradable plastic cups (sit-in restaurant!)... this is not enviromentalism, this is charging 20c for a 5c cup, instead of using glasses like a normal restaurant.
Also, the reusable cotton bags are just an excuse to charge more, because you'd have to reuse a cotton bag 7100 times, to make it as friendly as using plastic bags ( https://theconversation.com/heres-how-many-times-you-actuall... ). ...of course, paper is rarely an option.
it's only a printed sheet
I.e Not have a captive portal if your only going to the menu, have the captive portal if you want full access to the internet
Clearly they cheaped out on hiring a network company that setup their wifi wrong
If I have jump through a bunch of hurtles to view your menu I am out
I think this is the crux of the difference of opinions. Dining at a restaurant is different things to different people at different times. I love the 'luxury' dining experience with all that it entails, will happily pay a lot of money to experience it, and I cannot wait to do that again. And in those cases, yes I expect that all aspects of the dining experience live up to that. But just as often I'm just hungry and want a halfway decent burger and beer served to me as quickly and efficiently as possible.
For most people and in most situations, dining at a restaurant isn't a luxury experience, it's just a way to get food.
It may seem a bit ridiculous to appeal to VAT - there are fairly 'ordinary' goods that are nevertheless deemed inessential and taxable after all - but I just wanted a way to say that I think GP's use of 'luxury' is being misinterpreted as a desire for fine dining; as I read it, I agree, it's discretional expenditure which has my discretion when I think I'll enjoy it. If I don't, why should I?
I don't think that's any more entitled than the converse view here that we have some sort of moral obligation to personally (and not through taxes) support restaurateurs through limited opening.
 - https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/luxury
And if we want to talk history, having food made for you by other rather than making it yourself is not a new thing. Having a servant or a wife/mother/grandmother making you dinner was far more common in the past than it is now. I'd probably guess that more people know how to cook and cook their own food today, than at just about any other time in history
I think we've been depending on others for food prep for a very, very long time.
Did the slightly more than half the population throughout history also have someone else cook for them too? A woman's woman perhaps?
No, I'm not buying any argument that says a person is not privileged to have someone provide for them just because they consider the provisioner to be a lesser being like a woman or a slave. Quite the contrary in fact: I consider that a reinforcing argument for a privileged existence.
Servants and maids where much more common in the past than now, especially among the middle class. Also it was more common to have several generations living under the same roof, so 1-2 people would often be preparing meals for 6-12 people. Today it is much more likely that you have 1-2 people preparing food for 1-4 people.
I strongly suspect that the proportion of people eating a meal they cooked themselves is almost certainly higher now than at virtually any point in history.
No it isn’t, GP was recounting historical norms. Get off your high horse.
“Acceptable”? To whom? This is why you sound entitled. The alternative is not dining out. You make it sound like restaurants are letting you down or should try harder. The word “acceptable” has no place in this conversation.
It’s fine that you don’t want to go out to restaurants right now. But you’re complaining about how inconvenient it is for you like there is no underlying reason for things to be in this state. Businesses ate also victims of this pandemic.
All of this makes me upset because it sounds extremely insensitive. The world is mourning millions of dead and you’re grumpy about your restaurant experience being ruined. Might be just your wording but one would expect a bit more empathy.
The base opinion is: I haven't gone to such places since Covid began because the experience is less enjoyable and more stressful.
But it is said with contempt for the businesses and regulations, which the businesses cannot do much about. Even where it is open, they have to think about their employees and the risk they put them in. Not only that, but folks have been dining in tents and under wooden awnings - in booths even - enjoyably for decades. Where I am at, before covid hit they had heating and blankets outdoors so the restaurants could extend the outdoor seating season. The poster acts like it something horrible thrust upon them, when the fact is that they simply aren't a fan.
> you’re complaining
> All of this makes me upset because it sounds extremely insensitive.
> The world is mourning millions of dead
> a bit more empathy.
You're attacking a person for their honest opinion while knowing almost nothing about them, their life etc. In fact you sound angry and insensitive, please keep your emotions under control
People forget that restaurants are a really modern invention. They were first introduced in France at the turn of the 19th century to provide more than just a way to order one type of food. The main reason they exist is the service, ambiance, and menu. Until "nice" restaurants came about, there were pretty much just taverns and inns, which were not renowned for their dining experience, and in most locales there was just one or maybe two, and the food selection wasn't great.
That's on you and your location. I've been eating back at restaurants just fine for about a year now without a mask (for while it was mask on unless at a table, which is a bit of a joke to act like that helps anything). It was nice being able to walk in anywhere without RSVP but that's going away too as more and more people are back to work and social activities.
Around here in door dining was only closed for a couple of weeks maybe a month or so. Then it was 50% capacity for a few months, then 75%, and we have been fully open for in door dinning for several months now
1. QR code to PDF of full actual menu. If they direct you to a HTML page is usually awful and is accordion based mobile UI that involves a bunch of clicking in and out. A PDF can be zoomed in/out but all the content is right there.
2. QR code to pay. This is great when it comes on your bill and you can just pay and leave. However, if it allows Apple pay it's very smooth. Unfortunately, most of the systems involve a web based checkout flow including manual credit card entry and capturing more info than is really needed (email/phone) so they can spam you later.
I also believe that current iPhones sold in China support two physical SIM cards and no esim.
Looked at gsmarena now and indeed most models have dual-sim versions (as well as single sim). But when I look at a local store, it seems that roughly 1/2 has dual sims (that's including eSIM).
What I will not do is make accounts, or fill in an online order form. And I will not give out any personal information, including my email, without very good reason.
Last year here in Germany the government started to require restaurants to take down the name, address, phone number of every customer, so they could contact trace if there was an outbreak. Fine by me, in these special circumstances. But one restaurant we visited actually had a waiter show up with a tablet showing some online form I was supposed to fill out. I told her "No thanks, please get me a piece of paper and I will write it down". The owner then came with pen and paper, and we had a nice and friendly chat. He explained that he wanted to make it easy and "cool" with tech. It also turned out that his "tech-wiz" nephew had coded up that online form for him last minute (very cliché :p). I explained to him that while understandable, it's actually harder for a lot of people to type on these things (including me to a degree) than use a pen and paper - the owner thought for a few moments and admitted that he too finds it easier to use a real pen "at his age" - and that storing this kind of information in digital form is just one mishap away from really angry (former) customers and GDPR penalties, and how managing this kind of data is actually harder to get right in digital form than collecting some pieces of paper and running them through the shredder some 4 weeks later. We visited the same place about a month later, and they had switched to pen and paper entirely. I like to think our talk helped them with that decision.
I cannot really fault that owner. He was trying to do the best in a suddenly changed and shitty situation, and in his line of business he didn't really have to deal with privacy issues and the associated dangers and regulations before, other than cashless payments where the payment processor does most of the heavy lifting and compliance anyway.
Connect to the wifi, just a short PSK, no captive portal
Order food from web page (no registration or account, the QR code is already set up to be my table). Extra-options for the dishes available.
Initiate second order, add some 0-cost salt, mayo, and water.
Payment didn't involve the website at all, just paid at the register with cash like normal.
At no point was I urged to enter any personal information or install an app.
The only downside? After deciding what to eat, adding the table number and pressing "order"... you discover that you can only pay by credit card (I mostly use debit).
No option to pay in cash. I had to go to the cashier, re-order everything, tell her my table number and pay in cash.
Not that huge of a deal, first world problems, but still - they could have stated right away the payment methods for the online thing.
There's not enough people in the demographics the restaurant cares about to make an accommodation.
There are lots of iPhone users and often business can getting better (lower) processing fees by accepting more secure methods like Apple pay so if it's literally just flipping a switch and possibly paying a bit less for processing why wouldn't a business do it?
Apple pay is, for the poster, a stand in for NFC pay of some sort. Which indeed requires a device, which indeed is its own class of requirement, but also, cash works even if less practical.
I do not miss 400 options(!) nor the icky stick menus that sticks together like a 80's playboy magazine. Its good to see digital revolution embrace restaurants. I'd much rather struggle with my phone and my own grime than fiddling with the menu.
Like all things in life, when its implemented well it works and when it does not it is terrible. I still think there is room for this to be the future though. I say this as a westerner but perhaps the west is not ready for it yet but I really enjoyed the experience of using QR codes in China. Go to a restaurant I just get shown where to sit and don't need to waste time with the host/server giving me menus or telling me anything. If I have questions they are there to answer the but I can also just sit down, scan the QR code, menu opens up and I can order food. Food just shows up minutes later. When I am done I go to the front and pay with Alipay.
The benefits to me of not having physical menus is huge. From the business perspective there is less interaction time necessary to serve a diner. Sure if this is an upscale high touch experience physical menu is where it stays BUT the majority of dining experiences are not like this. The menu is up to date and easy to modify. Possible to include multiple pictures and information about the food.
I might be wild but I really like the experience and wish more places would adopt it. Like all things I think here in the west its still too new so we have a mixed bag of good and bad implementations. Give it a few years and I think it will be narrowed down to the POS providers who offer it as a feature.
For me the best restaurants in China were the mom and pop joints where the person who takes your order is also the person who cooks your meal, or at least where you can see into the kitchen from the dining room so you can call out a request or ask a question as they're preparing it. This way it's much easier to figure out what's in the dish, see if the food is fresh, ask for it a bit more spicy, add another side, whatever. It makes the meal into a more of a social experience, and something that feels homey and satisfying rather than mass-produced.
Ironically going to these sorts of Chinese chain restaurants with the QR code menu, they also tended to be twice the price of the mom and pop joints, so whatever money they might be saving by eliminating a server is definitely not passed down to the consumer.
I usually can't stand comments that are just "correlation does not imply causation," but are you sure you aren't mixing up the two here? It's not hard to imagine why a McDonalds wouldn't be one of the first to pick this kind of technology up, but I have a hard time that a previously good restaurant that adopts this will suddenly have their quality fall down the shitter. Nothing really changes for the wait staff except now the order shows up on a screen instead of a handwritten form.
>For me the best restaurants in China were the mom and pop joints where the person who takes your order is also the person who cooks your meal, or at least where you can see into the kitchen from the dining room
There's a similar sort of thing in Japan, but with older technology. You place your order with an automated kiosk out in front of the restaurant and pay the machine. It spits out a ticket that you hand to whoever and eventually your food comes to you. It exists at large chains as well as some mom and pop places, including some where you're sat eating your food a few feet from the cook/chef. The places I went to that had these didn't seem to suffer from lower quality than their counterparts without such a system that didn't have it, nor did they feel more "mass-produced."
In China restaurants can go under very quickly - you might see at a certain location two or three different restaurants in a year. The mom and pop operations tend to be eaten up by the national chain restaurants and "hip" (i.e. QR code ordering) franchises, and when one of these restaurants moves in then not only does the food quality go down, but the prices go up too. I think a lot of young Chinese techies like the change because it seems more clean or more hygienic or more futuristic, but if you just want to sit down and get some local food made by a local person, that experience is harder and harder to find.
FWIW I didn't read the gp's comment as implying causation. I read it purely as correlation. That restaurants that use these systems are much more likely to use other cost saving "short cuts" as well. Just because someone notes a correlation does not mean they imply a causal relationship between the two. Correlation, even without causation, can still be highly useful. Lack of causation does not equate to spurious correlations. You'll note that on this website that the problem isn't that one doesn't cause the other, but rather that there's no reason to suspect these factors are correlated in the first place, and that correlation does not imply connection.
I do my best to eat plant-based most of the time, so I always appreciate when I can have a chat to the cook or server to see what is in the dish and if they can avoid garnishing with ground pork or whatever. To me that's the whole point of going to a restaurant, to have someone cook for you personally. If you're just going to get a production line meal, then you might as well order from a vending machine or get a meal to go from a convenience store. No judgment on those meals, they are fine too, but when I go to a restaurant I expect a bit more of a personalized service.
I personally go to restaurants for consistency. Do you really think waiters taking orders pass along information about who ordered the order and their preferences? You can give instructions to the waiter but from my experience it's not carried a large chunk of the time. Every layer is a place for miscommunication, so going consumer -> app -> cook is a lot less likely to be messed up than consumer -> waiter -> notebook? -> terminal -> cook. There's generally a high turnover for waiters and I don't think they're all super informed about the meals, but I guess it depends what restaurant you go to. But with online ordering a restaurant that can't afford to have a highly trained wait staff can still deliver high quality information to customers
You can provide a lot more information on an app about a dish, including pictures, ingredients and customization options than a person.
From my perspective, if I need to use an app to select my dish, applying only the pre-approved customizations, then the experience is no different from ordering delivery. If you live in the US, then perhaps this experience is not unusual, since it's a lot like the experience of visiting a chain restaurant - same menu in every location, same customizations available, same "perky" waitstaff, same supplier of ingredients behind the scenes - it's basically just a more expensive version of fast food. Adding a QR code ordering system to this kind of restaurant is not changing much about the experience other than the speed of ordering.
But in other countries - notably China - there is a whole nother class of restaurants that is both cheaper and more personalized than a chain. And these family-owned restaurants are the ones that are being edged out by more expensive, less culinarily interesting restaurants whose primary appeal appears to be gimmicky apps that provide either the same or less functionality than a food delivery app does.
It might be that these chain restaurants are successful because a lot of people prioritize consistency over everything else. But I feel like in China in particular it is more trend- and status-based. People think it's cool to order on their phones instead of talking to the server, or they think it's classy to eat what the folks in Shanghai are eating instead of the local food from their region.
Personally, I would prefer to see more local restaurants and less chains, not just in China but everywhere in the world. I understand that's an orthogonal issue to QR code ordering, just in China it does appear to be correlated.
I guess an app could give people access to a webcam to engage in discussion with a cook as they prepare the food, for people who really want to watch the process and talk to the cook.. is that a feature you'd be interested in?
I mean, obviously, that wouldn't be right for a lot of places -- many eateries don't want people bothering the kitchen staff -- but if you've been going to places where people can interact with the kitchen-staff as they work, and if that's something the customers value, it'd seem like that process could be made more available.
Edit: Actually, when you were talking about engaging kitchen-staff, were you thinking of places like Subway? Or did you mean actually talking to people in a separate-kitchen, like you walk back there and chat with them while they make the food?
A lot of smaller Chinese restaurants are just one guy at a wok standing near the entrance and a bunch of stools inside (sometimes also outside). They're commonly a husband and wife team, where the husband cooks and the wife acts as a runner or takes orders when it's too busy to bark what you want at the cook, but sometimes it's just the one person. If you get there early, sometimes the wife is preparing mise en place at one of the tables, or on a stool out front.
Another common layout for larger restaurants is tables and stools on the inside plus a small counter to pay, but there's a window at the back going into the kitchen where they might have a couple of cooks and more space to prep.
In both of these cases it's not unusual for customers to know the owners and engage in some smalltalk, whether about the food, or whatever other thing. It's a lot like a classic diner in the US, or a UK "caff".
These QR code ordering systems tend to be in place at a different type of restaurant. They are more like strip mall chain restaurants with optimized seating and standardized menus and nobody knows anyone or cares. Personally I don't see the point of these sorts of places, because if you're just getting Sysco-style meals without any service then you could cut out the middle man and buy the meal without going to a restaurant.
It seems to me your focus is less on the quality of the food (provided it means quality standards) and more about the ambiance and experience of another human catering to your customized requirements. In any other domain this would be a luxury you'd be expected to pay more for.
I say bring on the impersonally delivered, high quality, cheap food!
On top of the increased cost, the food tends to be lower quality, not higher quality, presumably because the ingredients are mass produced and reheated by cooks who don't have any personal reputation at stake if they prepare something poorly. This is exactly what chain restaurants in the west are like, and they tend to be a much worse dining experience than either mom and pop or boutique outfits.
I ran into a few of those mom and pop joints in Korea as well. Basically every 김밥 (kimbap) shop is kinda like subway where you can see them prepare the food.
I believe they were talking about how interacting with an actual human is part of the experience of going out for them. And just going to a restaurant in order to fiddle with a menu screen and order kind of defeats the purpose since you could just do that with takeout? It doesn’t bother me either way, but I prefer restaurants that have a button on the table to call the server.
This is a great way of making tech look stupid to luddites and it reminds me of modern UX trends that expect people to just know how to do some mysterious thing--and developers rely on most users assuming they are the stupid ones because they don't know how to use an app's hidden functionality. Not. Accessible.
Every restaurant used to have the same UX, now they are all different. Stupid.
1) All such restaurants offering free open wifi
2) A commercialized system that hosts the menu PDFs on tiny https servers on the restaurant's wifi router and serves them locally (potentially avoiding issues with far-away outages and also saving on the internet bandwidth for the common case).
An appliance menu server would cost practically nothing if they're already offering Wi-Fi or use electronic POS/ordering systems.
If they have a QR menu move on until you find one that does not ... you are likely getting a more authentic meal.
Nobody wants PDFs. On desktop sites, it's common to add a (PDF Warning) to links that lead to PDFs.
And on a phone, PDFs are even worse. They're almost always sized for the desktop, which means you have to pinch and scroll to see anything, and I don't download stuff from Firefox often enough to know how to find and delete the menus for every single restaurant I eat at.
If the menu QR code led to a responsive website, I'd be fine with it. When the QR code leads to a PDF, it makes me angry. If the QR code led to an app I had to install, I'd walk directly out of the restaurant.
GP's experience sounds great; an interactive mobile/responsive website that I can directly order from would be more convenient than the traditional experience. PDFs are basically fine, but given the option I'd rather have a physical menu.
(Thankfully, I haven't yet heard of or encountered a QR code that redirected me to an app; that would be a pretty quick way to make me leave if no alternative were provided.)
In 2000 maybe?
This statement is utterly useless. It provides no value to the discussion, doesn't make any interesting points, and tries to emotionally manipulate the reader.
> Like all things in life, when its implemented well it works and when it does not it is terrible.
HN readers seem to be bearish on these technologies because they're usually implemented poorly, and there's very little reason to believe that the situation will substantially improve anytime soon (or at all). People generally discriminate between restaurants based on price and food, not menus, so there's little incentive for restaurants to improve electronic menus - similar to business websites - meaning that if QR code menus gain wide adoption, we're extremely likely to see significantly worse experiences near-universally.
Touch-screen controls in automobiles.
QR codes instead of menus.
All of these things seem nifty to marketing departments, may be accepted by consumers, and are detrimental to actual usage.
“I don’t like it” is not a critique though. The people you would want to hire could try to answer “here is an imperfect solution, how would you improve it?”
Funny enough this applies more to your statement than the statement you're responding to. They were making a meta-critique of the general discussion here, and I find it to be a legitimate perspective.
Personal sentiments on liking or not liking QR codes, which any lay user can make, does not make as interesting a discussion as a principled approach to what components of the UX flow exactly fails, whether these failures are essential to QR codes or specific to the implementations today, and how/if they could be addressed as an engineering exercise.
It is akin to saying "this first gen ICE automobiles suck, bring back horses" and go on to discuss the annoying doors of the car while the unexploited fertile land of discussions await on the actual engine, cost benefit analyses, incremental improvements, adoption barriers, UX flows etc.
It's really interesting to see how a different crowd to tech workers who are constantly in contact with the myriad of ways in which technology can be harmful to human interaction and happiness can be so quick to downplay any legitimate criticisms.
> Go to a restaurant I just get shown where to sit and don't need to waste time with the host/server giving me menus or telling me anything.
...in which you view a human being as a hurdle to be surpassed rather than a human being.
Conversations with waitstaff are often some of the most rewarding parts of a restaurant experience. Even just focusing on the food, the best way to find out about dishes you haven't tried is by talking to waitstaff. And I've formed great friendships with waitstaff at places I go regularly.
It certainly could be made super slick (embedding the table number, for example, in each QR code).
But with all that, it'd cost money. So pretty much the only places you'll see do this well are big chains which tend to have crappy food.
Your belief that it's good to cut out a human interaction is one you should reconsider.
The study you proposed doesn't address the topic at hand, because there's a very large confounding factor: packed lunches are going to have very different foods in them than what you'd get at a restaurant, which has obvious health implications.
I think most people have life experience that shows them that in-person human interaction is a necessary component to human happiness, especially after the pandemic. Maybe somehow you've never experienced or heard other people's experiences of that, but if that's the case, you really should seek out the opinions of people who aren't like you more often. Maybe start with the waitstaff at your local restaurant. ;)
Are you aware that there's a widespread feeling that tech/business folks are out of touch with reality?
Correct. Like most of my life, I have things that are opinions but I'm more than willing to change my mind if evidence comes along.
And to be clear, I did not make any assertions with my initial post about health and wellbeing from contactless ordering. It was you that came here to tell me:
> Your belief that it's good to cut out a human interaction is one you should reconsider.
The quote you quoted said nothing to that effect.
Personally, I don't believe it has an effect one way or the other. My opinion is this would probably only really matter for someone who's only social interactions came from talking to the waitstaff. That'd be a pretty rare individual.
> I think most people have life experience that shows them that in-person human interaction is a necessary component to human happiness
Correct, I don't disagree with this
> Maybe somehow you've never experienced or heard other people's experiences of that
Incorrect. What I've not experienced is any positive impact from talking to waitstaff, store clerks, bar tenders, valets, etc. I, like I'd assume most other people, do not get my human interaction from people I purchase services from. I get it from my family, friends, and coworkers.
Perhaps if I were proposing we move to a world where everyone lives in a box never interacting with another individual, you'd have more of a point. That said, my week is no better or worse as a result of moving to online banking or when I have groceries delivered.
I could concede that if the only form of human interaction someone experiences is from a restaurant wait staff then there'd be a net negative for that individual. However, getting food delivered or preparing food at home hardly seems like the problem you are painting. Nor does it seem like me being "out of touch with reality".
Perhaps another concession I'd give is that I could see how limiting human interaction would minimize opportunities for empathy. Certainly, I think more people would be empathetic to field hands were they to directly interact with them.
But, again, I don't see how that really translates when talking about food prep at a restaurant.
If you're going to print out a half dozen menus, you're pretty much right back where you started.
I can see at some point I'll try to open a menu but won't be successful
To be fair, you just 100% described a keg. It's just not common -- or is even non-existent? -- for wine to come in kegs.
You can literally have both physical and digital menu's and cater to everyone's needs. No harm done.
People who loathe the idea can carry on, people that love the idea can carry on.
I wonder how often restaurants change their menus. I live on the coast of Poland and 5 years later of living here, I can probably tell you what the menu is for the 5 'hot' locations to go to because it literally hasn't changed.
But the negatives are also huge.
- My phone is slow, so it's painful to navigate the menu
- Half the restaurants have horrible UI for their menu
- You can't casually peruse the menu, you have to go item by item down the list.
At least to me, it's an awful experience.
I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it. It was like a custom web-DoorDash for one table with only one restaurant option. Probably someone could run with that and scale it up to a food court without much difficulty and a willing mall partner. Efficient, but if I gave a damn about the economics I would cook at home and this definitely removes some of the hospitality of the hospitality business.
"Huge" might be a bit of an overstatement relating to such a minor convenience.
This is false. A QR-code based menu does not work for people that do not use a smartphone.
* Homeless/poor may not have phones
* Old people don't have smartphones or know how to use them
* I don't want to have my phone with me at all times. I actually leave my phone in the car when dining sometimes.
* Something as simple as a listing of options, which is often static for weeks or more at a time, now depend on a WAN connection! It's meatspace dependency hell.
I know "menu costs" are such a thing that it is taught in accounting and business classes. Nevertheless, the idea of getting rid of a hard menu, even as a backup, is absurd, unnecessary, and dare I use a buzzword I hate, "privileged".
A few minutes later I witnessed an elderly couple experiencing the same thing. They sat for 10 minutes expectantly waiting for menus to be delivered.
As does a physical menu.
I don't want to take my phone out when dining.
One of the things I did was create a QR code on the labels such that they pointed to a bitly address which then redirected to the PDF of the lab results for each product.
This allowed for the consumer to actually read the Lab results, and it provided an litmus to the interest in each product by count of scans.
I loved it, it worked really well - but the company wasnt too fond of showing the direct lab results for the reason that the PDFs had the manufacturing facilities address on the PDF...
Could have done it better, but the overall idea was sound and was very easy to implement. An admin assistant could build this out.
Thought of also tying it to slack or something such that we could just have a product interest channel and get an alert any time the products were scanned into that channel...
There were actually a number of creative things that could be done using QR codes.
This is great for very small packaged goods, such as pre-rolls, wax, diamonds, etc - where you have very little space on the package, and are already regulated on exactly what information you must include on the packaging, so if you wanted to provide more detailed product info, this would work well..
There is a bad-ass product from Seagull Scientific, called "barTender" (as in Barcode Tender) -- which is free to use, and does any and all barcodes/QR codes - and label document design.
The only cost is a $500/$600 license for actually connecting it to a printer - but it makes it a breeze to create awesome labels, and print them out en-mass (like many thousands on the high speed printers)...
You can hook it up to a DB or a spreadsheet for pulling all your product labeling info easily to fields so they auto fill for the products you are printing.
Also, with using bitly - you also get a map of the geoip location of each scan - so you can see where interest is high geographically...
This seems like an odd take. I'd be interested in tangible data, but I'd be inclined to believe that most tech-affluent people are probably OK with QR codes being the norm, in general. It saves money, paper, and isn't really a hard step for anyone with a phone. In general the west is pretty pro-tech.
Everyone I know, "tech-affluent" and tech-savvy alike, hate them. Next time you go out for a meal with a large group, ask for physical menus and gauge the reaction of those around you - likely that most of them will ask for one too.
Requiring an inordinate amount of technological sophistication/complexity for simple things is how to build vulnerable systems.
In NYC, you can see this at World's Wurst  in SoHo.
for a good example of this look at the iPhone's predecessors and the iPad's predecessors... before those the PDAs were basically awful and internet phones were junk. the iPad basically created a wide-spread tablet market.
I would also be okay with an NFC approach or both NFC / QR code approach, NFC stickers are cheap and can do similar to QR codes.
Come now. Let's not get carried away.
But it cannot work in America because of the tipping culture.