What is a QR Code?
QR (Quick Response) codes are popping up all over the place, bringing interaction to all types of media ranging from television to billboards. With one quick scan of these codes using a cell phone (and a QR reader app), consumers can instantly retrieve more in-depth information about what they are looking at.
Who is using QR Codes?
Recently, I discovered QR codes are now being implemented in many aspects of the food and beverage industry. This is quite innovative and can be extremely useful, with endless benefits. Restaurants, cooking magazines, grocery stores and cooking shows have all tested (or are testing) the water with this emerging trend and, at this point, there doesn't seem to be an end in sight.
How are QR codes being used in the food and beverage industry?
We've all popped our head into a new restaurant just to check out the atmosphere and take a look at the menu. Typically, we are handed a paper take-out menu to bring home which eventually tends to get tossed in the garbage. Now some restaurants are using QR codes in their entryway, on their regular menus, and even on their tables so customers can scan the menu onto their phone. This allows the customer to have instant access to the menu at all times, creates customer loyalty and at the same time, saves the restaurant money on paper menus. Another innovative way restaurants are now using QR codes is by placing the codes next to menu items. This allows the consumer to view the list of ingredients (especially good for those with allergies), and sometimes, if the chef obliges, they can even view the recipe.
The food industry is also using the QR code trend to offer you the ability to scan recipes from magazines. Imagine this: You're in the doctors office and the doctor is running late (imagine that). You skim through a few magazines and run across a recipe you'd like to try. Instead of ripping the page out or stealing the entire magazine, you simply scan the QR code next to it and Voila! You have the recipe at your fingertips. Once the recipe is scanned onto a cell phone, it can easily be shared, giving the merchant a lot more exposure than it would get just sitting on a table in an office.
Grocers and liquor stores are also taking advantage of QR codes. Let's say it's Friday night and you stop by the liquor store on your way home from work with the plan that you are going to pick up your favorite vodka. As you stroll down the isle, you happen to notice that tequila is on sale. “Hmm,” you think to yourself. “That sounds good but I don't know what to mix with tequila.” You then notice the QR code on the sale sign and scan it. You now have twenty different tequila recipes on your phone to choose from. The rewards: You party it up like a rockstar and the store sells one more sale item.
As for future uses of QR codes, I have learned that the BBC is beginning to use QR codes on a new cooking show titled “The Good Cook,” developed to allow for television interaction. Oftentimes, people tend to get frustrated when a show's host talks too fast, especially the novice cooks, which tempts the viewer to change the channel. By placing a QR code at the bottom of the screen, viewers can scan the recipe ingredients for each dish presented. These codes will also bring the viewer directly to the show's website, thus, increasing website traffic.
QR codes are amazingly easy to implement and are a flexible marketing tool. Although I did not mention all the many possible uses of these codes, you can see that having the ability to connect the consumer to relevant information is apt to increase their interest in the product. Once consumers become more aware of what they are, I imagine all businesses will find a way to utilize them. Anything that creates ease of use, saves money and increases business is definitely worth trying. After all, without QR codes, some may never figure out that tequila can be so fun.