Ordering food from a smartphone is incredibly convenient. Enter the QR-coded takeout menu. Restaurants realize that the printed takeout menu is still one of the most effective ways to elicit food orders. Adding a QR code to the menu triggers a mobile ordering experience. That way, restaurants can marry the best of old and new technology and make the traditional takeout menu digitally interactive.
2. Links to Photos and Social Media
Ever stare at a text-based menu and wonder what a particular dish actually looks like? A QR code strategically placed on a dine-in menu has the ability to take consumers to additional information. The QR code could lead to photos with dish names, to the restaurant’s Yelp listing, or to Twitter and Facebook links to encourage social media sharing.Using QR codes, you can place a small QR code inside your restaurant menu that when scanned will lead someone to a mobile friendly website showing off different photos or even videos of the different entrees or menu items. This could help that picky eater make a decision on what they would like to purchase.
A QR code can trigger links to a wealth of useful information. In this manner, the QR code is not a marketing gimmick, but a bona fide mechanism to provide interested parties with information on which they can act. 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. Additionally, most QR readers have a history tab that logs previously visited sites, so the information, once scanned, could be referenced later.
3. A Word About Aesthetics
With a custom-designed QR code, restaurants can represent their style, while also reassuring customers that the restaurant has put some thought into the experience. The restaurant that embraces mobile technology intelligently will demonstrate its cutting-edge commitment to excellent user experience and customer service.
3. Nutrition facts
With so many that are trying to watch their figure, menu nutrition information has almost become necessary.
Allergy Information: People on restrictive diets suffer enough, why not make it easy for them to select something they know they can eat. Instead of having a QR code for each dish to list the ingredients (which could get visually cumbersome on the menu), there could be a special “allergy” QR code, which would bring up a list of common allergy ingredients and then list all the dishes these are included in. Then the diners know which dishes to avoid. Do you have something different on your menu that requires explanation or is just so interesting that everyone always wants more info, maybe a special cooking technique or unique piece of meat? Why not include a QR code linking to an informational video for that dish to really try and entice your guests into trying something new.
4. Coupons / Loyalty prog.
A QR code link to your loyalty program. Many restaurants already have these programs set up, but if not, they are a great way to create return clientele and a fun idea to consider. This could work in one of two ways with the QR code. First, it would work for patrons new to your program, it would bring them to a page where they can sign up and log their first points. If they are not new to the program, it can take them to the login screen where they can enter their customer number/name/etc. (which they will receive after sign up) and then the QR code linked to their bill would automatically add the new points to their account. Watching the points add up can be a fun way to end a meal (which can sometimes be viewed as a sad occasion) and have your quests immediately start planning for next time so they can get more points. Since smartphones will store the link for their points tally, they can go back and check on this at a later date to see if they are eligible for any benefits. Eventually, the points can add up for a coupon or a free entrée, drink, dessert, etc. – no matter what they will come back for the points, but then they’ll also come back for the reward. Don’t forget, a mobile web page is trackable and can be discontinued at any time.
5. 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 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 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. I would imagine that it is a very low percentage of customers that actually take the time for these surveys, and really it is a matter of convenience. It is very unlikely that anyone is going to call the number from their cell phone directly at the table, or even grab their smartphone and take the time fill out the whole survey right then and there, so that leaves them with the option of hanging on to that piece of paper with the number or web address and doing it when they get home. But, in reality, they probably have things they would rather be doing when they get home, therefore the piece of paper gets stuck in a wallet or a purse or a trashcan and that’s the end of that. However, if you placed a QR code as your link to the survey, you might have a better chance. Again, I do not expect your guest to fill out the whole survey at the table, but they might scan the code, and then at least the survey address is saved in the phone for a later date. They are a lot less likely to lose their phone than the piece of paper. Other options include a card or attachment with a QR code linking them to a discount for next time. This could be coupled with the survey above for extra incentive, or it could be a stand-alone. A good idea might be an offer such as, return within two weeks (or another specified date) to get 15% off, this way you can not only get return clientele, but a quick turn around time. The code could take them to a webpage where they can print out the coupon or it could enroll them in your mailing list to receive coupons regularly.
6. 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. A link to a daily specials page that would allow your guest to go back and review without having to wait for the server to return could be a great benefit. Another great idea would be to include recommended cocktails for each special
7. QR Codes at the Entrance
The best place to start your QR code campaign is as soon as your patrons walk in the door, actually better yet, it should start before they walk in the door. This comes into play especially after hours. Place a QR code on your front door. Then if a patron comes by during the off hours, they can scan the code more information. This code should link them to your hours, your menu, and a form that allows them to make an online reservation, or rather it provides them with everything they need to come back when you’re open. This is a great addition, even if you already have your hours and a menu posted on the front of your building, because it allows the potential guest to take the information with them. That way when they are trying to remember or decide later, your information will literally be at their fingertips.
Next, let’s get inside the restaurant for the patrons who make it there during business hours. First thing they see – the host / hostess station. Depending on the time of day, the season, and the typical crowd at your restaurant, there may or may not be a wait. If there’s no wait at that particular time, then great, you’ve already got a happy customer – you can move on to where to place QR codes on your menu or tables. But, if there is a wait, especially a long one, why not use a QR code to help them pass the time. Place QR code stickers on the pagers you hand out. These could link to a variety of things:
A video about the history of your restaurant
A copy of your menu
A list of today’s specials
Recommendations from the bar for while they wait
A food themed game for two
Information about how to make online reservations so they won’t have to wait next time
An approximate countdown of when their table will be ready – not only does this keep them calm that their turn is coming, but its keeps your host or hostess free from the inevitable question barrage of “how much longer will it be?”
8. QR Codes at the Bar
QR codes on bar coasters could link the patron to additional information about a certain drink or brand of beer, wine, or liquor that you carry.
Fun drink embellishments such as umbrellas, fancy toothpick swords, etc. could have QR code stickers on them linking to additional drink information, or suggestions such as “if you like this drink, then next time try….”, or a suggestion for a tasty appetizer.
QR codes on bar napkins could link to restaurant info, menu suggestions, or even a fun bar game, such as trivia, to help pass the time.
QR codes could be embedded on the bar itself. These should link to more permanent info such as restaurant history, specialty dishes, or basic drink info. The possibility of this would depend highly on the style and type of bar in your restaurant but may work for some.
Fill up the slower times: Run offers for special days and times and set up deals with bonus times, where customers will receive more value for their voucher than at other times.
These QR codes also offer some fun for your guests who aren’t waiting for a table but maybe decided to grab an additional drink after dinner or only came there for drinks in the first place. Another great thing about QR codes at the bar is that these ideas could also work for your individual bar or pub type restaurant, where the bar, rather than being a stepping stone to your table, is the main focus.