The Post-Pandemic Role of Cell Phones

© Provided by Food & Wine Thomas Barwick / Getty Images

This story is part of The New Rules of Dining Out. Read the rest here.

At Dante, a casual cafe and bar in Manhattan’s West Village neighborhood, the scene on a recent Friday night looked similar to any pre-pandemic, early evening dinner service of 2019: tables were filled with people excitedly talking over the constant noise of bartenders shaking, stirring and mixing cocktails behind a long marble bar and the kitchen hummed along plating orders for servers to bring to tables. The only difference is that instead of being presented with menus, new tables and bar guests are instructed to use their smartphones to access a digital copy of the menu and pay their tab on them.

It feels like not too long ago restaurants and guests were at odds, with some restaurants going as far to ban cell phones and publications (including this one)  encouraging guests to put their phones away during their meals. Now, the cell phone has taken on a new, central role as a key part of going out to eat, and restaurant owners are rethinking the way they communicate with diners and potential guests as well as how to incorporate this piece of tech into a dining experience.

The most obvious way phones have become a part of the new normal of dining is the proliferation of the QR code, which guests can use to access menus and even place food and drink orders. Short for Quick Response code, the square barcode was invented in 1994, but didn’t really take off in the US until the pandemic. According to the National Restaurant Association, half of full-time restaurant operators started using QR codes during the pandemic and while there are security concerns about the technology, most operators agree that the good outweighs the bad.

For Nathalie Hudson, principal at Dante, the QR code has been a welcome addition since it allows the restaurant to make changes to the menu on the fly or update it once something is no longer available. “I do think an actual physical menu is still so much nicer than the QR menu, however, printed menus take a lot more time, money and resources, as they need to be printed and updated daily,” she says. In that way there’s less worry that guests are getting out of date menus or may order something that is sold out. “You can change QR codes multiple times throughout the evening to ensure that it is constantly up to date with any items that run low.”

Phones are also guests’ tabs now, with some restaurants using programs that give guests the power to order and close their checks via their cell phone. At Maketto, a casual Asian-inspired restaurant and retail space in Washington, D.C., director of sales Keem Hughley, saw how guests wanted to engage with servers differently. “We’re still in the middle of a pandemic so some people want to be left alone while some want more engagement,” he explains. Maketto started using Go Tab to offer guests a way “to be in control of their dining experience”. Guests are greeted by a server but place their order via their cell phone and can keep their tab open for multiple rounds of drinks or food without waiting for a server, allowing them to pace out their meal. “Our directive for our servers is to greet each table and get a gauge for what they’re looking for,” Hughley adds.

© Thomas Barwick / Getty Images In the early days of the pandemic, cell phones were how we kept in touch with our favorite restaurants, now, for better or for worse, they’re a part of how we dine at them.

For Christine Sahadi Whelen, managing partner of Sahadi’s in Brooklyn and author of Flavor of the Suns, at first, the idea of phones being incorporated into the dining experience at Sahadi’s felt antithetical to the idea of going to a restaurant to connect with others. But since opening she says she’s seen technology have the opposite effect. “I was worried people wouldn’t engage with one another but they’re actually doing it in a really organic way,” she says. Whether guests are using a QR code to pull up the menu, creating a story on Instagram about their experience, or snapping a picture of a dish, she finds that they’re still creating memories and engaging over dinner in a restaurant, which is exactly the experience she and the team want guests to have. “It’s a healthy mix of tech and tradition.”

Although most diners are comfortable, some guests still prefer to put their phones away and be presented with a paper menu which most restaurants will still accommodate. “It pains me to see someone being forced to use a QR code if they don’t want to,” Hughley says. “Our job is not to force you into the future, our job is to make sure you have a really good experience.” At Dante, paper menus are available and at Sahadi’s, a server will talk through options with guests if they prefer. It’s about meeting each guest at their “comfort level with tech” instead of forcing them to hang on to their phones, Whelen says.

And it won’t be going anywhere any time soon. “I think QR menus are here to stay due to the ease by which they can be updated and changed,” Hudson says. “I think potentially QR codes could become even more fun, perhaps leading to animated or 3D menus.” It’s all a good thing, and a part of dining for the foreseeable future. But there is one rule owners like Whelen doesn’t bend on: “I do want you to turn off your ringer though.”

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related


Alec Baldwin: Director of photography Halyna Hutchins killed, movie director Joel Souza injured after actor discharged prop firearm on movie set

On the set of the movie “Rust” in New Mexico, its director of photography was killed and movie director injured after actor Alec Baldwin discharged a prop firearm on Thursday, ... Read more »

Rylan Clark health: Star 'not in a good place' after suffering breakdown live on air

The 32-year-old already took a hiatus returning last month to his presenting duties where he is a firm fan favourite. But concerns that he has returned far too quickly after ... Read more »

Celtics games no longer airing in China after Enes Kanter posts pro-Tibet video on social media, per report

© Provided by CBS Sports Boston Celtics games will no longer be aired by Chinese media after reserve big man Enes Kanter, a frequent social activist and critic of Turkish ... Read more »

Asia tech shares jump; China property stocks rally on Evergrande payment

By Kevin Buckland © Reuters/ALY SONG Evergrande Center in Shanghai TOKYO (Reuters) – Tech stocks climbed in Asia on Friday, following U.S. peers higher, while Chinese property stocks rallied following ... Read more »

Johnnie Jackson makes admission over Charlton Athletic managerial vacancy

© Provided by Football League World Johnnie Jacksond Charlton Athletic caretaker boss Johnnie Jackson has made it clear to the South London Press that he would love to land the ... Read more »

Diego Forlan's miss for Man Utd vs Juventus was so unbelievably bad it almost looks fake

© GiveMeSport How did Diego Forlan miss?! Diego Forlan’s two-year stint at Manchester United was a bit of a disaster. The Uruguayan was signed from Independiente in the summer of 2002 ... Read more »

Retail sales drop for fifth month in a row

© Provided by City AM UK retail sales dropped in September for the fifth consecutive month but have bounced back from the pandemic, It marked the longest continuous stretch since ... Read more »

‘The Smurfs': Brand new animated series returns on Nickelodeon (VIDEO)

© Provided by Malay Mail The new Nickelodeon series premieres in Malaysia on Monday, October 25. — Picture courtesy of Nickelodeon KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 22 — Everyone’s favourite tiny blue ... Read more »

Masters champion Matsuyama takes 2nd-round lead at Zozo

© Provided by The Canadian Press CHIBA, Japan (AP) — Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama overcame cold temperatures and often steady rain showers to shoot a 2-under 68 Friday and take ... Read more »

South Korean actor Kim Seon-ho's ex girlfriend to take legal action against death threats, defamation

© Provided by Malay Mail Kim Seon-ho’s ex-lover says she feels bad to see his fall from grace as a result of her post. — Picture via Instagram KUALA LUMPUR, ... Read more »

Penumpang mungkin boleh guna kredit jika kami terbang semula, kata AirAsia X

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today AirAsia X berhutang kira-kira RM600 juta kepada penumpang dan ejen pelancongan, tetapi hanya akan membayar 0.5% daripada jumlah itu, jika penstrukturan semula hutangnya diluluskan. ... Read more »

SKB Shutters, Country Heights, Imaspro, Innature, Jaycorp, Malaysia Smelting Corp, RGT, Vitrox

© Provided by The Edge KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 22): highlighted eight stocks with momentum at Bursa Malaysia’s afternoon close on Friday. Only one stock showed positive momentum, while the ... Read more »

ProtectHealth urges more private medical practitioners involvement for Covid-19 booster dose roll-out

© Provided by The Edge KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 22): ProtectHealth Corp Sdn Bhd is seeking greater involvement of private medical practitioners (PMPs) in the Covid-19 booster vaccination program to expand ... Read more »

Fifth of Indonesia's palm oil sites lie in protected forests, says Greenpeace

Photograph: Hotli Simanjuntak/EPA Almost one-fifth of the land used for Indonesian oil palm plantations is located in the country’s forest estate, despite a law banning such activity, according to a ... Read more »

Thursday evening UK news briefing: Quarter of Covid hospital patients not admitted with virus

Your evening briefing from The Telegraph Evening briefing: Today's essential headlines European battles | France will block the UK's associate membership of the EU's €100 billion research programme unless Britain ... Read more »

Teachers reminded to get their jabs as students return to school

© Provided by MalaysiaNow Education Minister Radzi Jidin has issued a reminder as schools reopen that teachers who refuse to be vaccinated against Covid-19 could face strict action including termination ... Read more »

Don't lose moral high ground by accepting frogs, says Kit Siang

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today Lim Kit Siang says it would be better to lose by being consistent with political principles and integrity than winning with ‘opportunists and crooks’. ... Read more »

Crowds brave heat, snaking queues for nasi kandar fix at Penang's famous Hameediyah

© Provided by Malay Mail Customers wait for their turn to be served at Hameediyah Nasi Kandar in George Town, Penang October 22, 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin GEORGE ... Read more »

Kit Siang: Pakatan must not lose moral high ground by teaming up with four assemblymen who triggered Melaka state elections

© Provided by Malay Mail Veteran DAP politician Lim Kit Siang today said that Pakatan Harapan must defend its moral high ground by rejecting the ‘Melaka Four’. — Picture by ... Read more »

Najib mohon tangguh perjalanan ke Singapura untuk PRN Melaka

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today Najib Razak berkata, beliau akan berlepas ke Singapura pada 21 Nov dan pulang pada 5 Dis. KUALA LUMPUR: Najib Razak memfailkan permohonan untuk menangguhkan ... Read more »

NGO kecil diminta tampil untuk dibantu: MTSP

© Provided by Sinar Harian TEMERLOH – Pertubuhan bukan kerajaan (NGO) di daerah ini disarankan agar membina kerjasama dengan agensi kerajaan supaya lebih banyak isu dapat diselesaikan dengan tuntas. Pengerusi ... Read more »

Kru stesen TV maut kemalangan ketika berbasikal

© Provided by Sinar Harian CYBERJAYA – Seorang petugas di stesen televisyen dilaporkan meninggal dunia selepas terlibat dalam nahas pelanggaran dengan sebuah kereta dekat sini, pagi tadi. Insiden yang menimpa ... Read more »

Grey's Anatomy And Station 19 Fans Were Dealt Double Dose Of Bad News For Upcoming Crossover

© Provided by CinemaBlend Miranda Bailey walks through the hospital on Grey’s Anatomy Spoiler alert! The story contains spoilers for the Grey’s Anatomy Season 18 episode “With a Little Help ... Read more »

Taman Negara Johor dibuka 1 November

© Provided by Sinar Harian JOHOR BAHRU – Kesemua taman negara di Johor yang diarahkan tutup berikutan Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan (PKP) dan Pelan Pemulihan Negara (PPN) sejak Jun lalu akan ... Read more »

Physicists Created a Supernova Reaction on Earth Using a Radioactive Beam

© Mehau Kulyk/Science Photo Library/Getty Images Artist’s impression of a supernova explosion. For the first time, physicists have been able to directly measure one of the ways exploding stars forge ... Read more »

Alec Baldwin fatally shoots cinematographer with prop gun on set

© Provided by Al Jazeera Baldwin has a long history in film and television[File: Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images North America/ Getty Images via AFP] United States movie star Alec Baldwin has ... Read more »

How many chapters are there in Inscryption? Answered

© Provided by GamePur Chapters, or acts, in Inscryption are not clearly defined — when you transition from act to act, there is no title text or indication that you ... Read more »

Gwyneth Paltrow has 'barely had alcohol' since COVID-19 diagnosis

© Bang Showbiz Gwyneth Paltrow Gwyneth Paltrow has “barely” drunk alcohol since being diagnosed with COVID-19. The 49-year-old actress was diagnosed with the virus in 2020, and since then, she’s ... Read more »

Japan OKs plan to push clean energy, nuclear to cut carbon

TOKYO (AP) — Japan adopted a new energy policy on Friday that promotes nuclear and renewables as sources of clean energy to achieve the country’s pledge of reaching carbon neutrality ... Read more »

Landon Collins willing to step in at linebacker for WFT even if he's not happy about it

© Provided by NBC Sports The Washington Football Team is in need of help at linebacker and Landon Collins is willing to answer the call despite him extensive history playing ... Read more »

Police clear up mystery of entire family who died on a hiking trail

© Provided by When a family-of-three and their dog were found dead on a hiking trail over the summer, police were at first stumped as to what had caused ... Read more »

How online meetings are levelling the office playing field

Before the pandemic Francesca used to miss a lot of meetings because she had to drop off her kids at school before commuting into the office. If she did make ... Read more »

Swiss voters set to back government's COVID-19 response plan - poll

© Reuters/ARND WIEGMANN Guests sit outside of a restaurant in Zurich ZURICH (Reuters) – Swiss voters look set to support the government’s pandemic response plan in a binding referendum next ... Read more »

Kadar vaksinasi remaja negara antara terpantas di dunia, kata KJ

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today Dalam tempoh kurang dua bulan, kerajaan mampu memberikan 80% daripada populasi 12 hingga 17 tahun sekurang-kurangnya dos pertama vaksin Pfizer, menurut Khairy Jamaluddin. (Gambar ... Read more »

5,200 isi rumah di Balik Pulau bakal alami tekanan air rendah

© Provided by Sinar Harian GEORGETOWN – Kira-kira 5,200 isi rumah di Balik Pulau akan mengalami tekanan air rendah dari jam 8 pagi hingga 6 petang pada Isnin iaitu 25 ... Read more »

Celebrity birthdays for Oct. 22

Celebrity Birthdays for Oct. 22:   Black Panthers co-founder Bobby Seale is 85. Actor Christopher Lloyd is 83. Actor Derek Jacobi is 83. Actor Tony Roberts is 82. Actress Catherine Deneuve ... Read more »

Chelsea forced to think outside the box following injuries to Lukaku and Werner

© Clive Rose LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 20: Romelu Lukaku of Chelsea receives medical treatment during the UEFA Champions League group H match between Chelsea FC and Malmo FF at ... Read more »

Opinion: Biden is losing ground because he's not answering the tough questions

While I watched President Joe Biden’s CNN town hall Thursday night, I kept asking myself: What is the point of this? Who is the audience? © Heather Fulbright/CNN US President ... Read more »

Al Ain maintain unbeaten start to stay top of Adnoc Pro League

© Provided by The National Al Ain’s Ivorian defender Kouame Autonne celebrates scoring against Al Wasl. Photo: PLC Al Ain maintained their unbeaten start to the new Adnoc Pro League ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic