Good Questions! One Question, three answers

Traditional or digital menu – which format is more compelling?

timer3 minMay 2023

In the ‘Good Question’ section, experts express their opinion on topics that move the hospitality industry. Short and sweet. Today’s question for the round: a haptic or a digital menu – what belongs on the table?

Jasmin Ohlendorf 

is the hotel manager of the Renthof in Kassel, a former Carmelite monastery dating back to 1298. In her opinion, the traditional menu is the business card of the hotel.

‘We prefer to work with our haptic menu because it’s easier to read in the traditional sense. It’s like a business card for our hotel. It conveys a certain sense of culture. If guests prefer a digital menu, they have the option of viewing our menu online on their own device. During the coronavirus pandemic, our guests got used to scanning a QR code and reading the menu online. But there was a real sigh of relief when the menu was available in a printed format again. People also got tired of laminated or bagged menus very quickly. Due to our sustainability strategy, we mostly use recycled paper or grass paper to present our diverse food options in an appealing way.’

Timo Schmitz

manages 5P in Düsseldorf. He combines urban art with urban food. He sees clear advantages in using digital menus. Besides being more hygienic, they can be updated daily and offer scope for creativity.

‘For me, the biggest advantage of a digital menu is flexibility. Our menu changes frequently, and this is an easy and cost-efficient way to adjust the menu quickly. You can also highlight certain dishes or incorporate pop-up windows. Digital menus are also hygienic, which is not only important with regard to the coronavirus. It also avoids sticky surfaces, makes it easier to keep menus organised and automatically produces less waste. Our menu is always up-to-the-minute and interactive. We often receive positive feedback for this. By scanning a QR code at the table, our guests automatically land on our website, which incidentally increases our click counts. If guests explicitly ask for a haptic menu, we give them our tablet that we use for the ordering process. It also displays the menu even larger. So far, everyone has been satisfied with that option.


Olaf Jordt,

Head of Customer Education at METRO Hospitality Digital, the digital menu offers many benefits and becomes a virtual waiter during the ordering process. Nevertheless, he does not think that the printed menu will disappear completely.

‘We can assume that the proportion of restaurants that use a traditional menu will steadily reduce in the future. Nevertheless, the printed menu will never go away completely because the feel, the weight and the romantic presentation are important features, especially in high-end restaurants. However, the shortage of skilled workers  is forcing restaurateurs to implement more and more digital processes. A digital menu thus becomes a virtual waiter during the ordering process. It offers restaurateurs many options, such as responding flexibly to daily or weekly specials, offering advice via videos and even transmitting orders to the POS system. All things considered, modern restaurateurs should stop questioning the advantages of a digital menu and simply use it. Presenting a menu will be less important than the added value of the digital ordering process.’

Did you know?
With emission values on the menu, restaurateurs can make a statement and simultaneously encourage their guests to be more sustainable. Displaying CO2 values on the menu: why it’s a good idea!

If you’re wondering how to make the menu and other information available online, it is easy to create your own online presence, even without digital skills. Learn more about the hospitality industry website with DISH Starter: