QR codes have been around for a while, but have often been written off as a superfluous tool that was clumsy and unattractive. However the perception of QR codes has really shifted as a result of the COVID pandemic. Restaurants around the world have adopted them as a touchless solution for menu viewing, but this only scratches the surface of their potential uses for restaurants.
Since they can link to any URL, QR codes have the ability to connect restaurant owners with their customers in an unlimited number of ways. As restaurants shift towards online ordering and online payment, QR codes give restaurants a way to bridge the gap between traditional print marketing and new-aged digital marketing.
In this article, we’ll break down seven of our favorite ways that restaurants can use QR codes to transform their marketing.
Use a QR code to send potential customers right to your online or mobile menu so they have access to your offerings no matter where they are. This gives them the opportunity to review your menu at their leisure. It also makes it easy for you to update your menu on the fly without having to order new prints, and adding a drink or specials menu will be a breeze. Not sure where to start? Design companies make it easy to create and adapt menu templates for mobile use.
Your restaurant’s website or ordering system are great linking options. A website allows customers to quickly learn about your food, your style, and ultimately, your values. These aspects are critical to branding your restaurant, and lead to deeper customer association with who you are as a business.
If you decide to go the route of linking to your online ordering system, customers can order your food, products, or merchandise without having to wonder the best way to reach you.
Put a QR code on a table tent that links to a review or feedback page. This could be via online review sites or just your own feedback form. Feedback forms are ideal if your goal is to let your team know what’s working and what needs improvement.
Online reviews are ideal for building your credibility in the community and makes you more findable in online searches. In a time where online searches are the way people are looking for many businesses, the easier you can make it for customers to access your review page, the greater number of reviews you will have and therefore visibility to your business.
Link your QR code to your Facebook or Instagram page so you can build a following. QR codes erase any extra steps customers would normally take to find and follow you, therefore increasing the chance they actually will. Having a strong social media presence gives your restaurant a modern edge, while being helpful in continued customer engagement and updates.
Want to show a behind-the-scenes look at your chef making one of your best-selling dishes? Teach a basic cooking technique? Announce a new product or menu item? A video of these kinds of updates are great ways to engage your customers and keep them coming back to see what you’re up to. Start a YouTube channel and link your QR codes to these videos.
Add a QR code on your menus or marketing materials that brings customers to mouth-watering photos of your food. This gives a sneak peek of what people can expect from your dining experience so they can really visualize (more so than descriptions can) what your menu items will be like. What better way to get everyone excited to order than a photo of an ooey, gooey brownie or a cheesy, melty burger?
Include QR codes linking to your deals on receipts or packaged products so customers can enjoy a discount on their next purchase — rewarding their business and getting them excited to order again soon. Or offer new customers a deal by including a QR code on your takeout menus, posters, flyers, and more. You can also promote seasonal or specialty items in this way.
The potential uses for QR codes don’t stop here, but with these ideas in mind, start thinking about how these codes can help your business now and in the future.
Elizabeth Riggio is a copywriter covering marketing tools and tips for restaurants. When not writing, she’s exploring the Pacific Northwest and eating her way through the various food trucks.