QR codes can be a very useful resource in your restaurant marketing plan. These codes have become ubiquitous in the last couple of years. As more consumers switch to smart phones, this trend can only continue in the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, many restaurant marketing companies are convincing restaurant owners that they must spend a fortune to take advantage of this trend. This is absolutely not the case. In fact, QR codes are one of the least expensive methods for gaining interaction with your guests when properly utilized.
Quick Response, or QR, codes were initially created as an inventory tracking tool. These small codes contain far more information than a traditional UPC code. QR code readers are some of the hottest apps for smart phones as people want to find out what these funny looking boxes are all about. In combination with a smart phone, these can be used to take the scanner to nearly any website. There is also a convenience advantage to using these codes due to the ease of scanning compared to typing a much longer url.
The key to effective use of QR codes is to place the codes where the guest or potential guest can receive the information most useful to them. These are not “one size fits all” codes. Instead, consider where the guest will find the code and what information you would want them to see at that time. This is the key to a well thought out QR code strategy.
Here are eight opportunities to utilize QR codes for restaurant marketing:
Before the visit
Advertisements: Every traditional print ad you place should carry a QR code giving the reader a chance to easily learn more about your restaurant, menus, and promotions.
Social Media: Post a picture of a QR code on Facebook or Twitter. The element of surprise will have your fans and followers scanning to see what is on the other side of the code.
Front Door: If your restaurant has a large amount of passing foot traffic, post a QR code linking to your menu. This will have people learning more about your restaurant and considering a reservation.
During the visit
In The Lobby: One of the most frustrating times for a guest is waiting for their table. Link a QR code to an interesting part of your website, the history of your company, or your menus to help them pass the time.
On Menus: This is a tremendous opportunity to give your guests far more information on the food you serve. Adding them to your wine list puts a sommelier’s knowledge in the palm of their hand.
Table Tents: While your guest is waiting for their food, give them the chance to become your fan on Facebook or view any upcoming special events.
Ending the visit
Customer Satisfaction Surveys: This is another area where companies are exploiting small restaurants with needless expenses. Add a QR code to a small flyer soliciting feedback on your guests visit. Response rates will skyrocket and this information can be gathered with far less expense.
Table Touches: I think one of the best ways to utilize this technology with satisfied guests is to have small cards made that link to review sites. These will allow your managers to hand them out to highly satisfied visitors and raise your rankings on sites like Yelp! and Google.
The best part of QR codes is that they are incredibly cheap to produce. While companies will try to convince you of the expense of the technology they use, these can easily be linked to your existing website, Facebook page, or third-party website. If you need more guidance, I can work with you to develop a strategy and produce high quality QR codes at a fraction of what the single focus marketing companies are charging. This technology should not come with a high price tag. Take the time to develop a strategy and you can use this technology to increase interaction with your guests immediately.