How to Use QR Codes to Promote Your Restaurant

The popularity of Quick Response, or QR, codes has risen and fallen. But in 2020, they made a huge resurgence. QR codes are popular. In fact, according to Statista, about 11 million households in the U.S. scanned a QR code in 2020. Similarly, Blue Bite, a company that helps brands turn their products into digital platforms, found that QR codes grew in popularity exponentially. You can now find QR codes everywhere from notebooks and billboards to TV advertisements and art galleries.

How marketers are using QR codes to promote businesses

In the restaurant industry, restauranteurs can use QR codes for a variety of purposes. They can advertise the restaurant’s app or loyalty program, share the menu, place orders, connect on social media, engage customers with augmented reality, and more.

While there’s no limit to creative marketing efforts, here are 8 ways you can use QR codes to promote your restaurant:

  1. Order from Your Restaurant through Delivery Apps
  2. Promote Downloads of Your Own App
  3. Link to Your Website or Share Your Address or Phone Number
  4. Promote Your Loyalty or Rewards Program
  5. Give out Coupons—and Connect Via Email or Text
  6. Connect on Social Media
  7. Encourage Reviews
  8. Share Your Brand’s Story

1. Order from Your Restaurant through Delivery Apps

Man scanning QR code menu in a restuarantThe COVID-19 pandemic drastically shifted how consumers order from restaurants. According to the National Restaurant Association, restaurants saw huge declines in sit-down eating and growth in carryout or delivery. In fact, 64 percent of adults ordered takeout or delivery for dinner each week in February–mid-March of 2021.

The shift to off-premises eating has presented challenges and changes to marketing and advertising. By adding a QR code to your packaging, the receipt, or a promotion attached to your packaging, you can link the QR code to your restaurant on a variety of food delivery apps. Check with your app of choice to learn more.

2. Promote Downloads of Your Own App

Speaking of apps, if your restaurant has an app, you can use QR codes to promote downloads of it. Put a prominent QR code on your packages that directs users to download the app.

Burger King took the crown when it comes to using QR codes to promote an app. Burger King included QR codes in its ads during the MTV Video Music Awards. Each code could give viewers discounts on items, enter them into a sweepstakes, encourage them to download the BK app, and even triggered an augmented reality experience during the VMAs.

You don’t have to provide a fully immersive augmented reality experience or partner with top celebrities to use QR codes to promote your own app. Like Burger King did though, consider providing a discount or some other incentive in exchange for users to download the app.

3. Link to Your Website or Menu or Share Your Address or Phone Number

If you don’t have an app, you can still use a QR code to encourage customers to connect with your restaurant.

You can link your QR code to your restaurant’s website, even directly to your menu page. With the help of a QR code generator, you can also share your restaurant’s latitude and longitude. This’ll prompt customers’ phones to open your location in their map program—just one tap away from getting directions. Lastly, you can set the QR code so that customers’ phones will call your restaurant to place an order.

You can also use QR codes in this way to create a contactless ordering experience—for dine-in and delivery orders. That way, customers can scan the QR code to open a digital menu where they can place their order without the need to handle a menu or interact with a server.

4. Promote Your Loyalty or Rewards Program

According to Paytronix, dine-in customers who used rewards programs spent 92 percent more than other customers. Takeout customers who used rewards programs also spent more than twice as much on restaurant food than other customers.

If your restaurant has a loyalty program, you know that encouraging customers to use it is crucial to its success. Here again, you can use QR codes to encourage people not only to enroll in your rewards program, but you can also reward those valuable customers by giving them double points or other incentives for using your program.

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5. Give out Coupons—and Connect Via Email or Text

QR codes are a great tool for encouraging repeat business among your customers. You can put a QR code on carryout or delivery packaging that shares a discount through your app, website, a third-party app or website, or even your rewards program. Those coupons could provide a flat discount on a customer’s next meal or promote a new menu item or bestseller.

You can optionally tie these coupons to customers sharing their email address or phone number with you. Then, you can email or text coupons, promotions, or new menu announcements to your customers, reminding them about your restaurant and rewarding them for coming back time after time.

6. Connect on Social Media

Connecting with customers on social media can be an important part of your restaurant’s marketing and advertising. You can use QR codes to give people links directly to your social media profile or to encourage them to engage with you on social media. You can also use QR codes to prompt users to post a message on their own social media profiles—tagging your account or sharing a personalized link.

Using QR codes on social media can get tricky. While most QR code generators will create a QR code linking to your social media profile, many of those QR codes can only link to a single social media profile. You may have to choose one profile or use multiple QR codes. Alternatively, you can use a premium QR code generator that does let you pick which social media account they want to follow from a single QR code.

You can also individualize QR codes by restaurant. With the right set up, you could track how well your QR code initiatives are working on a unit-by-unit basis. Or, you can segment your QR codes by delivery and carryout versus in-store use to see whether one type of customer is more likely than others to engage with you digitally.

7. Encourage Reviews

It’s no secret that the competitive restaurant industry thrives on reviews. According to a study published in 2011 in The Economic Journal, restaurants with higher Yelp ratings sold out of prime-time tables 19 percent more often. Yelp, Trip Advisor, and other review sites are also highly likely to appear and curate the appearance of your restaurant to customers who are searching for a place to order from. If you have a Google My Business listing, reviews from across the web will also appear there—making it crucial to have a 4.0 or higher score.

You can ask customers to review your restaurant in store, on your website, on social media, and on receipts. But, what if your packaging could also encourage customers to leave you a review? With QR codes, it can. You can copy the URL to leave a review on your Yelp, Google, or other review page and link to it with the QR code.

8. Share Your Brand’s Story

Every good hero has an origin story. Your restaurant should be the same. By telling your restaurant’s story, you can connect with your customers on a deep level. It’s a terrific method for sharing the values that your company operates by as well as your history and purpose.

If telling your brand’s story sounds difficult, it may not be as hard as you think. Ask yourself why you or the founder first opened the restaurant’s doors, where the inspiration for the business or menu came from, and what history or traditions can be seen in its operations.

You can also look to your employees for inspiration. Do you employ a lot of teenagers who are getting their first jobs? Or are you like Hot Chicken Takeover, which provides fair chances to people who were formerly incarcerated or homeless? Either way, you can tell stories about how your restaurant supports the people who make up the community you serve and how your customers can support the community, too. And you can use QR codes to tell that story to people.

Your food’s packaging is like a walking advertisement for your restaurant. With a QR code, that walking ad becomes interactive and engaging.

Want to Use QR Codes on Your Packaging? Get in Touch with Us

Itching to put one or several of these recommendations into practice? Get in touch with our creative team. We can design packages with your brand or design, including QR codes. For more details, check for Custom Prints Program information on the product of your choice.

After you’ve found a product you want customized, send your request to us by emailing or scanning the QR code.