back to article Wait, an actual QR code use case? TGI Friday's builds techno-restaurant

The good burghers of TGI Friday’s have cooked up a plan to get you in and out of their eateries faster: using mobile tech. The restaurant's Manchester Piccadilly Station branch is the first Fast Track TGI Friday's, which aims to serve you within ten minutes and help you pay quickly and leave by using your mobile phone. This …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fast track TGI Fridays. For those people that REALLY don't want to have a relaxed conversation over an overpriced poor quality meal.

    1. Lamont Cranston
      Thumb Up

      TGI's are probably smart enough to realise that a bulk of their customers

      are in the "get in, get fed, get out" crowd. Particularly at a train station.

      Not having to hang about waiting for the bill sounds ideal for those accompanied by small children, too.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You don't have to run out as soon as you pay. Being able to pay from the table and not have to wait around for some crappy waitress who is in the back texting while lifting your CC number is a good step forward.

    3. JDX Gold badge

      You can have a relaxed conversation over your meal (your snotty comments on the quality are neither here nor there) regardless. Not having to wait for a waitress to come and visit you, especially when you want to pay, would be nice. Trying to pay is the area I hate in nearly all restaurants... you feel bad walking up to the till but often when they clear away your plates they assume you don't want to pay, or ever leave!

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Walking up to the till? I'd forgotten about that. Over here they come to your table with a portable, wifi card reader and a purse.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Yes, they should do. Except they frequently lose all interest in you as soon as you finish your food. You'd think getting the money would be important!

          Walking to the till is what you do in exasperation to avoid wait for a waiter...ask for bill...wait 5 minutes...wait 5 minutes for them to come and take your money.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wahaca has had something similar for the last few months. Each table has a QR code which will let you check and pay your bill. It too needs an app installed though

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Never mind fast food

    Some clueless politician who didn't even know what they were has already decided that the unloved QR codes should be used for, your energy bills:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/qr-codes-on-energy-bills-put-consumers-in-control

    The larger player in this sector are resigned to idiotic and all pervasive government interference, but the smaller suppliers are less than happy about this idea about kick starting competition, because redesigning bills, and making the QR code do something useful isn't cheap. And despite all of the polticos' vacuous thinking about "competition", this won't make any difference because the real driver of higher costs is global markets, and interventions by governments as they conduct their ongoing War on Climate Change (at our expense). But luckily your gran will be getting a QR code on her energy bill, and she can use her Hudl to move to a new supplier and she can pretend that she's saved money.

    On the other hand, if the Rt Honourable Ed Davey really wants to help my household cut energy bills, perhaps he could stop passing new legislation, statutory instruments, regulatory guidelines, and launching market reviews, competition enquiries with the frequency of somebody enjoying norovirus, and then he could shove his beloved renewables and EU-directed energy policy up his @rse.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Never mind fast food

      enough hot air coming out of Westminster to not require heating down there

    2. Adam Trickett
      WTF?

      Re: Never mind fast food

      Wasn't quite sure what the point of a QR code was on a electronic bill. I've not had a hard copy utility bill for several years so I was most surprised when something designed to interface between physical and electronic appeared on my electronic bill.

      It's a good job our 19th century politicians are catching up with the 20th century... One day they may even understand the Internet...

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Never mind fast food

      It seems reading that they don't really care what data the QR code contains, they just know they want one. I assume they've thought of all the authentication issues before unleashing this on the nation.

      1. Not That Andrew

        Re: Never mind fast food

        So the supplier could satisfy the requirements of the bill by just including a link to their website in the QR code? That's the impression I got

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Never mind fast food

          Out of morbid curiosity I read on a bit more. If you scan the example QR code on the first page of this PDF you get sent straight to an example online dashboard with your address and energy usage, the option to share them on Facebook (sigh), and a button to go to a tariff comparison website with this data.

          https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/qr-code-use-in-energy-sector-midata-programme-study

          So no, I don't think they have thought the authentication through that much.

  4. plrndl
    Joke

    "and leave by using your mobile phone."

    So they're doing away with the trains too?

  5. Kubla Cant Silver badge
    Windows

    ...only really suits regular customers...

    TGI Friday has regular customers? People who, having made the mistake of going there once, decide to return?

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Whereas you have been once and never returned, making a generalisation on the entire restaurant chain based on a sample size of one?

      Well done.

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        For me, the sample size was 3 restaurants of crap food and even worse service. Not going back there ever again. Friday's waiters/waitresses make Marvin the robot seem happier than Richard Simmons.

    2. chris lively

      I honestly don't see how TGI is still in business. The food is horrible, why do people subject themselves to that garbage. If it was horrible AND cheap then I might be able to understand.. but it's not.

  6. Crazy Operations Guy

    TGI Fridays, badly mitating Applebees *again*

    My local Applebees has had a table-side device for nearly a year now that allows you to order (both initially and during the meal for more drinks / appetizers), pay, and even summon a server without the need for QR codes or even a smartphone.

    1. Gannettt

      Re: TGI Fridays, badly mitating Applebees *again*

      Whatever people think of poor service and bored wait staff, I find this electronic ordering rather sinister. Doing people on minimum-wage out of a job to save money really is the pits. if they could have a robot open up, cook the food and bring it to your table, these restaurant companies could do away with all wasteful human capital. The railway station situation seems logical, though, but for the rest of us, looks pretty bleak.

      As for TGI Fridays, cook-chill meals brought in on pallets, warmed over in a semi-automated kitchen, never really appealed to me.

      1. Warm Braw Silver badge

        Re: TGI Fridays, badly mitating Applebees *again*

        >Doing people on minimum-wage out of a job to save money really is the pits

        Doing people out of minimum-wage jobs in agriculture is what put an end to serfdom. Rinse and repeat throughout the history of economic development.

        1. Scroticus Canis

          "Doing people out of minimum-wage jobs in agriculture is what put an end to serfdom."

          And filled the UK fields with Eastern European labour and the dole queues with indolent twitter-youths.

  7. Miss Config
    Holmes

    QR Menu ?

    Why can't they extend this to the 'other end' and allow menus and choices therefrom be keyed in via smartphone ?

    1. peter_dtm

      Re: QR Menu ?

      exactly

      put the qr on the menu

      scan (using table scanner) hit ORDER button

      the waiters and waitresses can then concentrate on looking after the clients; keeping tables clean & clear of dirty plates/glasses so their meals become a pleasent experience

      and may be they will stop the usless 'is everything ok there ?' noddy questions - because if it isn't ok; you; the waiter/waitress will be 1st to know !

  8. big_D Silver badge

    Ages old

    We've been using them for donkey's years for warehouse logistics - their original concieved use.

    The QR Code celebrated its 20th birthday a couple of years ago.

  9. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Bogus QR stickers

    I was bored enough to scan the QR sticker on a bottle of ketchup in a restaurant, and it came up with a .ro address. I went to it on a VM at home, and it was quite the malware nest.

    1. DropBear

      Re: Bogus QR stickers

      You must have a quite high-en supermacro phone then - I find the typical 1x1cm QR codes on bottles are quite impossible to get close enough to to scan them. Something like 3x3cm is the absolute minimum I can scan with a macro-enabled Galaxy S2, and I have never seen one that big on any bottle...

  10. Colin Miller

    Why is an app needed?

    With an integrated billing system,

    all the QR code needs is http://tgi.com/payment/<restaurant- nmber>/<bill-or-table-number>

    and it will take you directly to a payment site, with the correct amount, and inform the restaurant that you've just paid. A smart site will allow you to under-pay the bill, aslong as someone else pays the rest of it, thus allowing splitting.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Use Scenarios

    (not use cases)

    Actually, I find QR codes quite handy to transfer info quickly from my computers to any phone with a barcode reader. In KDE, the clipboard tool has a "Show barcode" option which allows you to do this very painlessly.

    To be fair though, I have less of a need for that since KDE Connect came out, as it does automatic clipboard sharing between all interconnected devices.

  12. James 100

    I like the idea of paying this way (and their provision of power+USB) - and yes, electronic ordering would be a very welcome addition.

    Last time I was in a Harvester restaurant, the waitress entered the order on some form of smartphone (looked like an iPod Touch from what I could see, maybe an Android device though). Clever: she could see all the options at a touch (no more coming back later when the kitchen asks which dressing you wanted, or whatever) and no time wasted carrying a paper order back to the kitchen: she could go straight on to clearing another table or taking another order instead. Of course, better still if I could have entered the order myself.

    Yes, it does reduce the workload, hence potentially cutting the number of staff employed. That's not a bad think for everyone: how do you think those staff get paid?!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If only Clive Pounds were alive to see his dream of a fully automated restaurant come true.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's nice. Is the food any good yet?

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