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Common restaurant practice outrages Aussie diners: ‘Hidden fees’

QR code ordering surged in popularity during the pandemic and not everyone is happy about it.

Aussie diners have called out restaurants and cafes for “forcing” them to use QR code ordering and charging them sneaky fees.

Scanning a QR code to order and pay for food became popular during the pandemic, as restaurants encouraged diners to swap paper menus for their phones to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

But, as one Sunshine Coast diner has pointed out, the new way of ordering can often sting customers with added costs.

Image of Australian diners at restaurant and QR code ordering.
QR code ordering is now commonplace across Aussie restaurants. But some diners are fed up with being slugged with extra fees. (Source: Getty)

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“Went to a restaurant earlier in Sunny Coast, asked for a menu - the only menu they had was on the door and [I] was directed to a QR code menu on the table,” the diner vented on social media.

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“It’s for this f**king web app called meandu, which proceeded to charge a 6.5 per cent venue surcharge, a 2 per cent payment-processing fee, and then had the audacity to ask for a tip (10, 15, 25 per cent) as the cherry on top.”

The diner said they were “tired” of technology that was supposed to solve an issue but was “only making everything worse and more inconvenient for everybody”.

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Hundreds of others agreed they were fed up with the practice, with some encouraging people to vote with their feet and put up reviews about the “hidden/added fees”.

“You're waiting your own table and paying an extra fee for the privilege,” one person said.

“Some also want all of your details as well … hate it!” another person wrote.

But other Aussies said they actually preferred using QR codes to order because it was more convenient and meant they didn’t need to interact with people.

“I don't actually mind ordering from a QR code, sometimes it's just quicker and easier,” one wrote.

"I quite like the QR codes, especially if they have pictures of each item. It also gives you the easy flexibility of ordering more later, and you don't have to wait around to pay the bill at the end," another said.

QR codes here to stay

Despite not all diners being fans of QR ordering, Restaurant and Catering Industry Association CEO Suresh Manickam said the new systems were here to stay.

“The rising cost of doing business is playing a part. Margins are getting thinner and thinner as the price of energy, labour, rent and produce continues to increase,” Manickam told Yahoo Finance.

Manickam noted that every menu ordering app had different pricing structures.

“Some charge monthly subscriptions or fees per transaction, depending on the provider. The costs relating to the QR code functionality is being passed on to diners in a similar fashion to credit card surcharges.”

It’s not the only restaurant fee that Aussies are fed up with. One woman recently vented online about a Sydney restaurant charging her $10 per head for bringing her own birthday cake.

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