28 North Gastropub is one of many restaurants in Brevard County that utilizes a QR code.

Chances are you’ve probably encountered a QR code menu when you’ve eaten out.

The concept for the QR (quick response) codes was born post-pandemic as restaurants were forced to forgo physical menus when reopening after government-mandated lockdowns.

They work by opening the camera app on your phone and scanning the code. The camera recognizes the scan with a notification prompt and the menu comes up on your screen.

When it became apparent that COVID-19 was unlikely to be transmitted via surfaces, people started voicing their dislike for the QR code concept.

Many felt the old-fashioned way of ordering off the printed format was best as the system took away from the whole restaurant experience.

“Our coasters at the restaurant still offer our customers the ability to order food from the QR system, but we mostly use regular menus which are soaked and sanitized daily,” said Nikki Medearis, the restaurant manager at 28 North Gastropub. “Additionally, our check presenters have QR codes for our customers to scan and leave a review directly to Google, Facebook or Yelp.”

There’s no doubt using a QR menu system makes ordering more sanitary rather than holding the handheld version used by countless people. Yet, the QR system has evolved to more than just being a contact-free menu.

At 7Brew, the new drive-through coffee place on the corner of Murrell Road and Viera Boulevard, QR codes are used in marketing.

“By scanning the code, it creates a unique identifier linked to Facebook that provides customers with any promos we’re running,” said Luke Hastings, the communications director at 7Brew. “We can engage with our followers to create awareness for upcoming promotional events plus they cut advertising costs.”

Additionally, QR codes can quickly adjust menu pricing due to rising food costs and new items can be added in real time. It also eliminates printing expenses and environmental waste and it manages staff shortages in a tight labor market, as patrons can place their orders online.

They’re used to make online reservations and can accept payments without patrons having to wait for the tab.

The QR system is what the future holds, as evolving technology will make it a valuable tool for restaurants and businesses to navigate an ever-changing environment.