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5 Things Likely to Replace Traditional Restaurant Menus

These clever ways to display restaurant menus will keep employees and customers safe.

Who knows how many people touched that restaurant menu before you did? Before you even dive down that deep rabbit hole, there's hope. Restaurants are not only doing everything they can to keep you safe, but they are also evaluating every facet of their establishment so customers and employees take all the right safety precautions. This, of course, includes replacing restaurant menus.

According to an insightful article published by Grubstreet, there are a lot of clever contact-free ways restaurants can display their menu. And if restaurants want to still use a menu that customers can hold, they can also follow simple steps to keep that experience safe as well. Here's how restaurants are replacing traditional restaurant menus during the coronavirus pandemic, and for more restaurant news, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.




Chalkboards are an easy way for restaurants to show customers their specials, so why wouldn't it work for their full menu? If the restaurant or cafe has a menu that can fit on a large chalkboard, it may be the safest way to display a contact-free menu to all the customers. And while chalkboards are the most popular board seen in restaurants, it can be any kind of board that displays their dishes.


Mobile phones with QR codes

order on phone

For tech-savvy restaurants, tables can display a QR code that customers can scan with their mobile devices. After scanning, the menu will pop up, allowing the customers to scroll on their personal devices without having to come in contact with any public items or menus at the table.


Single-use paper menus

paper menus

Similar to takeout menus, customers are handed a paper menu that they can not only peruse for their meal, which they can keep for future reference (like ordering takeout the following week!) While this method can be clever for restaurants to receive even more business down the line, having single-use paper menus can be incredibly wasteful. Not everyone will keep their menus, and they will likely end up in the establishment's trash.


Menus displayed in plexiglass

menu frame

Similar to the chalkboard method, restaurants could display menus inside glass panels right on the table. Some restaurants could even place the menu against the table before covering ith with plexiglass, so customers can view the menu without having to touch it. These plexiglass items can easily be sanitized for future customers, instead of having to sanitize every individual page of a menu before seating another table.


Waiters reading off items


Why have a menu at all? If there are restaurants out there with limited menus (especially restaurants that go by a seasonal menu), eateries can probably save a lot of money by skipping menus entirely and simply reading them off to customers. However, if menus are longer than say 10 items, this can get complicated.

Eat This, Not That! is constantly monitoring the latest food news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed (and answer your most urgent questions). Here are the precautions you should be taking at the grocery store, the foods you should have on hand, the meal delivery services and restaurant chains offering takeout you need to know about, and ways you can help support those in need. We will continue to update these as new information develops. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date.
Kiersten Hickman
Kiersten Hickman is a freelance health and nutrition journalist. Read more about Kiersten
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