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The QR, or Quick Response, has extended itself in to the food industry. With smartphones becoming the dominat mobile force, QR codes and apps have developed providing portals into obtaining information and improve quality of life.  Many producers are now adding onto the packaging of their food and beverages, in order to provide the consumer with added information about their product.

We have already seen apps like Scan, QuickMark QR Code Reader that lets customers trace a product to see where it has been produced and sold. FoodScanner, another useful app I discussed in a previous post, is reads not only QR codes but also normal bar codes, giving consumers the nutritional information and calorie content of any product.

The mobile food industry has quickly become an industry that spends most of its advertising and marketing time using social media. have never seen a food truck advertise in traditional media.  They rely on the free and powerful social media platforms of Twitter and Facebook. QR codes enable you to faster build communities, making it b one of the hottest topics in the mobile marketing world today. Instead of providing a link at your food truck with “like us” on Facebook, you can provide a picture of the QR code so that people can join and read right there.

While marketing companies, manfactureres and food trucks have embraced the QR codes, the restaurant industry is finally catching on. I was quite surprised it was not adapted earlier- because the one industry that can really take advantage of QR codes is the food service industry. The era of smartphones has increaded the competition levels- oroviding access to a full directory of establishements nearby and menus on the go.  Restaurants and bars are always looking for ways to bring in new customers and keep them engaged and coming back. If QR codes are built with a strategic plan to educate patrons it can become a powerful tool for restaurants.

An article on Mashable, discusses ways restaraunts should use QR Codes. Mobile Ordering: Ordering with a touch of a button is convenient. Restaurants providing a QR Code on their take out menus would allow customers to order online, which then they will recieve a QR code which they will scan at the point-of-sale. You can basically order as your walking to the restaurant and not have to worry about being heard over street noise. Food Photos: For me, this one is ideal. We are all familiar with the saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover”- and I am all for that when it comes to food: When in curiosity.. Just Taste – but having the means to be able to view the dish before you order it will allow you to learn more about the cuisine at the restaurant. For some, this tool can be used to decide whether to order a dish based on its appeal  but I think providing photos will expose customers to different media outlets as well as have them become familiar with food vocabulary.

Some other ideas I thought up on the spot are; putting QR codes on  the front door so passers can access menu, contact information to make a reservation. QR codes with daily specials and depending on the type of restaurant having QR codes that provide exclusive content.

QR codes are only beginning to display signs of future potential in the restaurant industry, but it is clear that if done correctly they can present an opportunity to engage customers. It only takes one single smart phone at a table to engage the rest of the party to keep them all coming back to your restaurant.