As the world continues to adapt to be touchless and contactless, I have noticed a trend that in theory seems like it should work, but it actually, has some flaws. More and more restaurants have sign or something similar that has a QR code on it that will take you to a web page that has the restaurant's menu. At Lowell's Restaurant in Seattle, Washington, the table that they sat us at had the QR code between two windows. Following with the trend of COVID, they no longer had traditional menus. Instead they had QR codes that a customer would scan to pull up the menu. This is a effort that I have seen several restaurants do in an effort to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID between customers. It does have some flaws and ways it can be improved.
My camera phone had the hardest time trying to capture the QR code so that it could take me to the online menu. As you see form the photo above, you can barely see the QR on the pillar between the windows. This is known as a silhouette. Because there is a significant amount of light behind the subject that you are attempting to photograph, the camera struggles to see target object. To get this same effect with the human eye, go into a dark or dimly lit area. Then point a flashlight at your eyes and try to see beyond the flashlight. You will struggle to do so because your eyes have adapted to the flashlight because of its brightness. In this case, the placement of the QR code is in the worse possible location. Ideally it would have been better to tape it to the table or place it in a stand up picture frame.
Include Text URL
What would have made this process less frustrating have been to have the URL address next to the QR code. While some phones are good at take pictures, they may not be as great with scanning QR codes. In my opinion, the best alternative to this is to have the URL listed next to the QR code. That way if a customer, like myself in this case, has an issue with scanning the QR code, then they can still access the menu online by typing in the URL.
One of the waiters did realize that were having issues with scanning the QR code. Thus he came by the table and offered a paper menu for us to use. This, while it may increase the cost to the business by having to dispose of the menu once a customer has used it, still allows for customers who are having difficulties or may have left their phones at home to be able to place an order.
Hopefully restaurant owners will be more conscious about the placement of their QR codes if they are using them in an effort to maek the customer experience better.