QR (quick response) codes are a hot marketing trend and like most recent online marketing trends businesses are not totally sure how to effectively leverage them. One specific industry that can really take advantage of QR codes is the food service industry. Restaurants, bars, etc are always looking for ways to bring in new patrons and keep them engaged and coming back. And now with smart phones in millions of palms, it increases the competition level a few notches because a full directory of establishments and menus are available on the go. Make no mistake, a QR code by itself is useless, but, when part of a strategic plan to engage and educate customers it becomes a powerful tool.

Part of why its powerful is mobile device users don’t have to type in your site’s URL which can be a pain on some devices. Instead, customers simply scan your QR code and immediately go to your site (hopefully a mobile optimized site) or your Facebook/Twitter page.

Try scanning this QR code to see how it works:

QR code

Here are a few ideas for implementing QR codes:

  • Loyalty Programs
  • Daily Specials
  • Bounce backs
  • Exclusive content

Put a QR code on your front door so passers-by can see your menu, hours and phone number to make a reservation

QR codes are still nascent, but, they present an opportunity to engage your customers in a new way. A recent study showed that 78% of 3-person tables had at least one smart phone present. That single smart phone can engage all three people at that table and keep them coming back to your restaurant. If you’ve used QR codes in a creative and effective way share it with the world by leaving a comment on this post.

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