QR Codes: The New Restaurant Advertising

With the growing boom in this century’s smart phone technology, restaurants are urged—if not required— to create mobile advertising content to remain popular in the competitive industry. There are a variety of new techniques that restaurant owners can use to spread the word about their services via smart phones. For instance, QR codes, or quick response codes, are a fast-growing means of mobile advertisement.

A quick response code is a square, two-dimensional version of a barcode that can hold thousands of alphanumeric characters.  They consist of a box of black and white squares that can be designed and personalized to suit your restaurant. QR codes provide curious consumers with pictures, videos, text, URLS, or even entire ebooks straight to their smart phone by using the camera.

Restaurants can put quick response codes on virtually anything.  They can be placed inside restaurants on posters, banners, napkins, and menus; they can also be advertised locally on flyers, billboards, and bus shelters. QR codes can be used to provide pictures or videos of meals not included in menus, information of up-coming specials and events, or exclusive coupons.

QR codes can easily be generated with the help of free websites like Kaywa and Kerem Erkem.  These sites are user friendly and provide customization options for creating your QR code.  However, In order to have access to the content provided by the code, consumers are required to download QR code reader apps like i-nigma, Barcode Scanner, or Red Laser.

When making a quick response code, restaurant owners must first decided how they want to advertise their content. Videos and snapshots are great ways to show customers how their food is made and what it looks like. Diners are more likely to order a dish based on a visual representation rather than a textual description.  If videos and photographs are too time consuming for a busy restaurant, they can simply advertise a quick response code on business cards or bills so customers can easily add the phone number to their contact list. QR codes that include coupons are a great way to entice customers into returning another time.

Although QR codes are most commonly used as an advertising technique, they can also be employed to create a more enjoyable restaurant experience.  For example, restaurants can place a QR code on their takeout menus that will redirect customers to the restaurant’s online ordering system allowing the customer to make a pick-up or delivery order.

The restaurant industry is one of the sectors that can benefit the most from the use of quick response barcodes. Any restaurant, no matter how large or small, can use QR codes.  A recent study found that 78 percent of 3-person tables had at the least one smart phone present.  Restaurants must embrace quick response codes and other forms of mobile advertising in order to thrive in today’s fast-paced electronic society.

Sadie Tyrpin


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