Although restaurant marketers have been slow to incorporate Quick Response (QR) codes into their menu design and marketing packaging, there are several reasons to include the coded information as part of a dining menu. In the most successful applications, patrons are literally eating them up.
QR codes can be a great way to engage, motivate and inform diners. Used on both take-out and in-house menus, QR codes can deliver detailed information about nutritional analysis, calories, even Weight Watcher® points of various restaurant menu items, while keeping the printed menus graphically clean and easy to read.
For patrons with smart phones (which is almost everyone these days), a QR code on a take-out menu allows customers to place and pre-pay for an order in advance. This is a tremendous time-saver for the patron and a simple bookkeeping task for the restaurant. Additionally, a QR code can direct a customer to a graphic site that includes not only descriptions of the entrée but also photos. These can then be shared via Facebook and other social media. For calorie-conscious customers, providing nutritional and caloric values can be a strong benefit.
When used to power speedier transactions and provide timely information, the QR code is a useful tool for restaurateurs seeking to augment the customer experience. On takeout menus, dine-in menus and real world advertising, the QR code has a purposeful place. The key, of course, is to make the information relevant to the customer, rather than just a marketing gimmick.
Smart restaurants are using QR codes to increase traffic by smart phone users in several ways. Enticing customers to order meals through their phone is just the tip of the iceberg. By printing QR codes on take-out menus, customers benefit by the convenience of direct ordering and payment, with more detailed information about each of the menu items, through their phones; and the restaurant benefits by streamlining the order process, thus saving staff time. Additionally, the restaurant can up-sell, by prompting an interactive experience and avoiding the ordering line.
The mobile landing page launched by the QR code on a takeout menu could include hours, contact information, a map and directions. Special offers and feedback forms could also be part of the mobile-optimized experience. Of special benefit to repeat orderers, most QR readers have a history tab that logs previously visited sites, so the information can be referenced at a later date.
Done correctly, in sync with the restaurant’s overall marketing plan, the QR code transcends the label of “marketing gimmick.” It can easily become a roadmap to information to help customers make informed decisions about their menu selections based on appearance, nutritional value, ingredients (locally-produced veggies, for example) and more. It can, in a nutshell, be the best remote call to action a restaurant can take.
In this video, interlinkONE's Jason Pinto demonstrates how a QR Code could be used on a restaurant menu. The QR Code helps people to easily jump from printed material to the web, enabling them to access all of the information they need easily.