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16 QR Code Uses for Restaurants

16 QR Code Uses for Restaurants

You're a local restaurant and you want a new way to engage with your guests but you're not sure how. You want to create a unique experience that visitors will share and spread. You might be on a tight budget and would like the ability to do it yourself. You want to generate some buzz but need some ideas. Well, here they are.
QR codes allow businesses to interact with the consumer. They're a two-dimension barcode that you can be scanned by a smartphone. QR codes can contain a link to a website, a YouTube video, contact information, an event, and more. Learn more here.

So, what can a restaurant do with them?

1. Mobile video of different dishes being made

Maybe you want to highlight a few of your favorite unique dishes. What better way to do this than visually showing that process? A QR code can link to a mobile video on YouTube. Use it on menu inserts so someone can engage while waiting for their food. Scan the QR code on the left to see one of our projects.

2. History of the restaurant

Do you want to simply have your guests be served? Or do you want them to be a part of your establishment? Everyone has a story, including your restaurant. It's one thing to see old newspaper snippets on the wall as decorations. It's a completely different experience to watch a video in the palm of your hand highlighting the story of a restaurant. This is what turns regular guests into advocates for your business. Turn them into marketers. Share unique aspects of your restaurant history and allow word-of-mouth to take it from there. Thanks to social media, word-of-mouth has been ignited. Use it to your advantage.

3. Interviews with the staff

Again, ask yourself if you want to just serve people or if you want to connect with them on a different level. I frequent a local coffee shop and have learned that one of the employees goes to school with a focus in Business. Guess what? That was my focus in school. Do you know what just happened? This one little fact just made me that much more connected to this particular coffee shop. Imagine what a 30 second video can include. Hobbies, where they grew up, etc. People do business with people they like. Business has gone from corporate to personal.

Keep in mind, I'm only talking about the experience for your customer. Imagine what this would do for your employees. Imagine how the people on the front line will feel when you take the time to invest in them and help them share their story. Did I mention that your front line is in charge of your marketing and your brand?

Foster this environment in your business.

4. Interviews with the Executive Chef

Showing off the history of your restaurant via mobile video is great, as is an interview with the people doing the serving (waiters/etc). But what about showcasing how awesome your Executive Chef is? Show off their background, how their unique experiences results in awesome food. Maybe at the end of the video, ask the guest to request that the Exec Chef come out and introduce himself personally. Think about that connection. Some people might not even come back for the food, but because you have created a warm culture that is worth coming back to. (Although, hopefully you have both.)

5. Video recipes of certain dishes being made

Sure, maybe you don't want to give away all your secrets. But what about one dish a month? You know what they say, sharing is caring. I challenge you to take the risk and share certain recipes with your visitors. Why? Because this is different. How many restaurants do this? Word-of-mouth takes off when you exceed or change their expectations. You do something that is remarkable. Something remarkable is something worth sharing. Give your audience something worth sharing.

6. Nutrition facts

Do you boast some healthy food? Show it off! And do it in a way that engages the consumers in a way they aren't used to: on their smartphones. Sure, maybe everyone doesn't have a smartphone. Did you know Nielsen predicted that by the end of 2011 (this year), there will be more smartphones than non-smartphones? That smartphone owner is also paying for that extra monthly data package... surely they're a good candidate to come back and eat at your restaurant. Exceed the expectation.

7. Coupons

Look, paper coupons suck. Why do people still use them? Maybe its because people who are after discounts still look at paper coupons. However, what about a QR code linked to a mobile web page that had some discount. Logistics? Same as a paper coupon: show the phone. Or, forget about linking TO a coupon. Use them ON the coupon. Show someone what they can get with that special or what it entails through a more powerful medium: video. Don't forget, a mobile web page is trackable and can be discontinued at any time.

8. QR codes on flyers, brochures, takeout menus, signs, and more

QR codes can be used on any type of print material. They can link to any of these other ideas. The possibilities are endless. The pool of people who are willing to take a risk and try them is little.

9. Receipts with customer survey

One of my biggest pet peeves at restaurants is going there, eating, paying, and then seeing this on the receipt: "Go to ourwebsite.com to be entered into a chance to win $1000!" Or, maybe it says, "Go to ourwebsite.com to let us know how we can serve you better."

Ok, stop and think about what is happening here. You're asking me to take the receipt, go home, go on my computer, and participate in a contest or fill out some customer survey. Really? Odds are I'll forget the minute I walk out the door or throw away the receipt on my way out. If restaurants really cared about my participation or feedback, they would care about my experience. They would make it as easy as possible to voice my opinions.

Or, maybe they won't and I (with a million others) will just whip out my phone and rant on Facebook or Twitter about a bad experience. Capture negative (or positive) feedback before it gets out of control and meet people where they are: on their phones.

11. Text message to a loyalty program

QR codes can contain a ready-to-send text message. Scan the QR code and it populates a text message. Combine this with a text messaging platform such as Duffled (not an affiliate), and for as little as $35/month, you can have your own text messaging loyalty rewards program.

10. Daily specials

Do you have daily specials? Why does someone need to be physically present to find it? What if someone had a special mobile-optimized page bookmarked on their smartphone and was able to pull up your specials when they were deciding where to eat? Or, maybe you want to combine the above tip and send out a weekly text message on days you have your favorite special. This will allow you to be at the forefront of their mind and in their pocket. Think about it.

12. Restaurant location

If you end up sticking a QR code on a flyer or brochure, someone can scan it and pull up Google Maps with a link to your location.

13. Restaurant contact info

At the most basic level, using a QR code to store contact details is a great idea. Place this on business cards or takeout menus. This allows someone to easily scan the code and add your business to their phone. Simple enough?

14. Event details

Have an event coming up you want to promote? Stick a QR code that links to event details. Title, date, time, location, and description. Someone can scan this and easily add the event to the calendar on their phone. Cool?

15. Takeout menu

Above, I mentioned slapping a QR code on a takeout menu. Well, let me ask you this... why do you even need a takeout menu? What about a big poster in your restaurant saying, "Want our takeout menu? Scan this with your phone and take it out with you." Create a mobile-optimized takeout menu that someone can easily scan on their phone. Sound good?

16. Education

Is there something special about your business that sets you apart? Maybe you use organic ingredients. Or maybe you put extra love into a certain dish or there is a story behind it. Link a QR code to a mobile video or mobile page and simply educate people! Let them know why they should come back. Create this connection on their handheld personal device.

And while you're at it, don't forget best practices. If you want to create the QR code and track with analytics, for free, check out this post. If you want to use our own QR code generator for event/contact info, go here: http://qrgen.notixtech.com/

Did I mention all of this can be bookmarkable so they can walk out the doors with your content on their phones?

Did I mention that this content can also be sharable on Twitter and Facebook?

At notixtech, we build the landing pages for these QR codes (among other things). If you want to chat, drop us a line.

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