Your Phone will Soon be Your Restaurant’s Dine-in Menu

Jennifer Marston wrote . . . . . . . . .

A couple of years ago I came across a restaurant in Dallas, Texas that featured a menu written entirely in emojis. It was unexpected and creative, yet clear enough that a server didn’t have to come over and re-explain everything on the page.

I’m not (necessarily) advocating we battle the current restaurant industry fallout with emoji menus, but maybe we could use some of that outside-the-box thinking when it comes to revising menu formats to fit the new reality we live in.

Since reusable menus are basically germ repositories, it’s no surprise they’re out now that dining rooms are reopening. The CDC’s recently released guidelines for reopening suggest restaurants “avoid using or sharing items such as menus” and to “instead use disposable or digital menus. . .” The National Restaurant Association’s guidelines tell restaurants to “make technology your friend” and suggest mobile ordering, and every other restaurant tech company that contacts me these days is offering up some form of digital menu for restaurants to integrate into their operations.

A lot of restaurants will definitely start out by offering simple disposable menus. Paper is cheaper than software most of the time, and typing up and printing out a menu is faster than onboarding your business to a new tech solution.

Over time, though, that could change. As more emphasis gets placed on digital ordering for everyone, we’ll access more restaurant menus through our own phones and mobile devices. That opens up a whole world of possibilities in terms of what restaurants could one day offer on their menus beyond just the food items themselves.

Just a few examples: Menus could provide in-depth information the ingredients in a dish, like where that cilantro came from and how many months the apple traveled before it hit your plate. Menus might also include ratings from other customers, and Amazon-esque “you might also like” recommendations could show up on the screen. Maybe you could dictate the portion size you want, thereby reducing food waste.

With AI making its way into restaurant tech more and and more, restaurants could also build dynamic pricing into menus, based on time of day, foot traffic, weather, and offer coupons and promotional offers in real time. And sure, if someone really wanted to, an emoji menu would probably fly right now in more than a few places.

Most of these things exist already, though they’re not widespread and some are still in conceptual stages. The massive overhaul of the restaurant menu is a chance to start bringing those disparate pieces together to revamp the way we order our food.

Source: The Spoon

What’s for Lunch?

Vegetarian Set Lunch at Lotus Vegecafe in Toyohashi, Japan

The Menu

  • Soybean Nugget
  • Deep-fried Bamboo Shoots
  • Oven-baked Quinoa and Potato in Soy Milk Cream
  • Mixed Vegetables and Soy Pulp
  • Miso Pickled Fuki
  • Stir-fried Assorted Mushrooms and Amaranth with Garlic
  • Curry-flavoured Macaroni Salad
  • Seaweed with Wasabi Dressing
  • Spring Cabbage Salad with Amazake and Carrot Dressing
  • Soy Milk Soup with Chickpea and Cabbage
  • Cooked Sprouted Brown Rice

What’s for Dinner?

Home-cooked 4-course Western Dinner

The Menu

Potato and Peapod Dressed with Anchovy

Sardine with Chicory, Japanese Orange, and Quesatilla

Spagehtti with Shirasu Fish and Cheese

Dessert – French Tarte Tatin

What’s for Lunch?

Vegan set lunch at Lotus Vegan Cafe in Japan

The Menu

  • Veggie Tonkatsu (Pork Cutlet)
  • Steamed Vegetables
  • Fried Yam with Plum Sauce
  • Chinese-style Soybean Sasami
  • Carrot and Onion with Orange Marinade
  • Pickled Seaweeds
  • Red Kidney Beans with Tahini Dressing
  • Soup with Spring Vegetables and Barley
  • Cooked Sprouted Brown Rice

What’s for Dinner?

Home-cooked Italian Dinner

The Menu

Creamy Onion Soup

Green Salad with Broad Bean, Pea Pod, Broccoli and Cheese

Penne with Cuttlefish

Dessert: Green Tea Ice