What do QR codes, a wine list and your Smartphone share in common?

I was out to dinner at a Boston white tablecloth restaurant a few weeks ago with a coworker.  The waitress plopped down a couple of menus and a fairly extensive wine list over the usual pleasantries one would expect at any fine dining establishment. My coworker looked over the menu while I reviewed the wine list. The waitress promptly came over after about 5 minutes and asked us if we had any questions about the menu, the wine list, and to take our drink order. This created an awkward moment since my coworker had not yet seen the wine list and I hadn’t had time to fully digest the dinner options although I was doing my best to multi task between the two menus. We told the waitress we needed additional time to decide. I then turned my attention to the menu, passing the wine list to my colleague. After a few minutes of noodling, we had decided on our appetizers and dinner entrees; however, we were still passing the wine list back and forth in an attempt to settle on the perfect combination to go with dinner. I finally settled on a nice glass of Bramosia Chianti as a compliment to my herb crusted veal main dish after asking the waitress for her recommendation.

A few days later I was on a conference call with my coworker and we digressed from business to discussing our fabulous dinner out. This got me thinking about the wine list. Other than asking the waitress for an additional wine list, was there a technology solution? What if the restaurant had a mobilized version of their website? Would it be possible to review the wine list on my Smartphone?
After discussing this with other team members at my company, we came up with a simple solution: place a
 QR code (Quick Response) on a 3 ½ x 2 seating card typically used for weddings and formal events in a stylish table stand on each table. The QR code would link directly to the mobilized version of the restaurant website allowing patrons to review the wine list or menu tableside, or at the bar. On the back of the seating card, the restaurant could imprint a QR code linked to their Facebook page.
QR codes have been around since 1994, but their uses in our everyday lives since the advent of Smartphones is evolving. Everyone…from supermarkets to the U.S. Post Office is testing them out. According to
 comScore, 20 million Americans scanned QR codes on their Smartphones in Oct. of 2011 with 9.8% scanning a QR code while in a restaurant. QR codes could be used for a verity of restaurant applications such as viewing a wine list on a Smartphone, promotions, takeout ordering, online reservations or tableside mobile payments. One objection to QR codes is that they are ugly, but there are out-of-the-box solutions that allow you to make them look sexier by adding a background logo. With 20 million people scanning QR codes and 50% owning Smartphones in the U.S., the time is right to get a mobile version of your website and think of creative ways to use QR codes to bring in more business for your restaurant.

Please share with the community about your use of QR codes at your restaurant.

Views: 556

Tags: Mobile Websites, QR Codes


You need to be a member of FohBoh to add comments!

Join FohBoh

Comment by Jon Rock on May 24, 2012 at 10:05am

Jim, I like your video idea. I agree, not all restaurants are candidates for table tents. In the case of a white table cloth, you could put a QR code card in with the guest check to drive traffic to your mobile website (menu/wine list) and your Facebook page after the fact. I'm from the boomer generation, so pulling out your Smartphone at a classy restaurant is probably not cool. However, as we know, the millennials look at the world differently. Adoption of technology will happen at a slower pace in the restaurant industry, but it will happen.

Comment by Jim Matorin on May 23, 2012 at 6:19am

I like how you are processing.  QR codes in restaurants that either go to the wine list or recommended pairing, videos of exhibiton style cooking of menu items to entice, source of where the menu components come (video be really cool), etc.  Not sure you would have to put a card on the table.  Be patient Jon, operators are catching on.  I would also be patient and not let waitstaff rush you.  I always take my time when it comes to ordering and eating.  I am the guest.

Comment by susan holaday on May 23, 2012 at 6:12am

This is such a good idea and makes so much sense - bravo!




Social Wine Club for Craft Wineries


Read the latest

Read the latest food and beverage coverage by SmartBrief in SmartBrief Originals: -More

Kids LiveWell turns 3 with 42,000 participating eateries

NRA's Kids LiveWell program has grown from 19 restaurant brands to 150, with 42,000 U.S.  -More


Posting a job or finding a job starts here at FohBoh. Call us about special $50 posting packages to syndicate across all major jobs boards.

National News

Ward Whitworth Named President for On The Border Mexican Grill

On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina, which was recently acquired by Border Holdings, LLC, an affiliate of Argonne Capital Group, today announced the appointment of Ward Whitworth as President of On The Border.

The Melting Pot Targets Houston and El Paso, Texas for Franchise Expansion

Restaurants, Inc. announced today that it is actively seeking franchisees to expand its presence throughout the Lone Star State, naming El Paso and Houston as target markets for future franchise development.

Encore Restaurants Purchases 8 Existing Five Guys Restaurants, Plans to Develop 45 More

Encore Restaurants, LLC, a subsidiary of Dallas-based Encore Enterprises, Inc., has announced the purchase of eight existing Five Guys Burgers and Fries restaurants across central California including Elk Grove, Fresno, Lodi, Natomas, Roseville, Stockton, Tracy, and West Sacramento.

Takeout Orders to Hotels Jumped 125% in Popularity in Last Three Years

For many Americans, hotel room service is considered a travel luxury; however, data from PFK Hospitality Research1 suggests that room service revenues fell 9.5 percent from 2007 to 2012, with some hotels shuttering unprofitable operations altogether.

National Restaurant Association Praises House and Senate Commerce Committee Passage of Travel Promotion Act

Yesterday the National Restaurant Association (NRA) praised the House passage and Senate Commerce Committee markup of the Travel Promotion, Enhancement and Modernization Act of 2014. The bipartisan legislation reauthorizes Brand USA, the nation’s first global marketing campaign, to promote the United States as a destination for international travelers.


If you are looking for capital to start or grow your restaurant, create the next 501c3, develop and launch the next app for the restaurant industry,or want to help your peers in some meaningful way, we want to know about it.


TED: Ze Frank: Are you human? - Ze Frank (2014)

Have you ever wondered: Am I a human being? Ze Frank suggests a series of simple questions that will determine this. Please relax and follow the prompts. Let's begin …

TED: Heather Barnett: What humans can learn from semi-intelligent slime - Heather Barnett (2014)

Inspired by biological design and self-organizing systems, artist Heather Barnett co-creates with physarum polycephalum, a eukaryotic microorganism that lives in cool, moist areas. What can people learn from the semi-intelligent slime mold? Watch this talk to find out.

TED: Shih Chieh Huang: Sculptures that’d be at home in the deep sea - Shih Chieh Huang (2014)

When he was young, artist Shih Chieh Huang loved taking toys apart and perusing the aisles of night markets in Taiwan for unexpected objects. Today, this TED Fellow creates madcap sculptures that seem to have a life of their own—with eyes that blink, tentacles that unfurl and parts that light up like bioluminescent sea creatures.

TED: Nikolai Begg: A tool to fix one of the most dangerous moments in surgery - Nikolai Begg (2013)

Surgeons are required every day to puncture human skin before procedures — with the risk of damaging what's on the other side. In a fascinating talk, find out how mechanical engineer Nikolai Begg is using physics to update an important medical device, called the trocar, and improve one of the most dangerous moments in many common surgeries.

© 2014   Created by FohBoh.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service