QR Codes All Over Your Plate: Will They Make Dining Companions and Waitstaff Obsolete?

Put down your fork and grab that phone.
Put down your fork and grab that phone. Photo: iStockphoto

At last, a way to alienate your dinner partners and put Bob the Perky Waiter out of a job: QR codes! The Boston blogosphere is abuzz today with news that Taranta, a Southern Italian–Peruvian spot in the North End, is experimenting with edible QR codes. Skepticism, mixed with optimism, straight ahead.

First things first: For the completely uninitiated, QR codes are those squiggly lines you see on storefronts, magazines, ads, and so forth. Scan one with your smartphone and get directed to an enlightening website with more information about whatever you’re gazing at. It’s great for marketing and all. But do we really need them affixed to our plates? Taranta says yes!

According to the Boston Foodie, Taranta Chef José Duarte has been experimenting with the codes for the past few weeks — despite one mishap involving a rubber stamp and squid ink. After refining his stamping process, Duarte managed to perfect the art and now he’s testing things out. During a demo, diners were able to scan their plates and be directed to the restaurant’s website, wherein they found recipes and ingredient lists. Someday soon, Duarte hopes to use the code to tell diners where their meal was sourced and when it arrived.

Taranta’s not the only restaurant to utilize codes, but they’re typically used to offer deals and discounts. (Minneapolis restaurant Chino Latino recently affixed QR codes to their bathroom stalls offering people deals on Habernero Hell Poppers, but that’s enough about that.)

We appreciate the educational component, but we also think it sounds kind of distracting. Do you really want to whip out your phone during a romantic meal and scan your plate for gluten info like you’re in the self-checkout line at CVS? On the plus side, we envision QR codes on plates as a terrific way to salvage a date gone awry. Conversation stalled? Wave your phone across your plate … repeatedly! It might also obviate the need for overzealous waiters. Who needs them to recite every ingredient lurking in your clams casino when you can find out for yourself!

What do you think: Are QR codes on plates the wave of the future, or a recipe for disaster?

A First for Boston? [Boston Foodie]
Chino Latinos’ New QR Codes [City Pages]

QR Codes All Over Your Plate: Will They Make Dining Companions and Waitstaff