How To Leverage QR Codes for A Safer Restaurant Experience

As the tourism industry is working through the re-opening stages following the COVID-19 crisis we’ve been advised to change our lifestyle. Things like to wear a face-covering or mask, observe social distancing protocols, and make as little physical contact with others and surfaces. Restaurants have opened in many states with reduced capacity and outdoor dining. Many places have come up with a more efficient way of dispensing drink and food menus. Instead of creating one-use menus that just generate more waste, multiple establishments have utilized QR Codes and mobile technology to develop a touch-less experience. With leads to the question, how to leverage QR codes for a safer restaurant experience?

QR Code or Quick Response Code is a square-shapes symbols that are scanned via a mobile device. Upon scanning the code with a smart phone camera, users are directed to the information linked to that code via a website. Although QR codes were introduced in the early 2000’s – they became irrelevant as quickly as they became popular.

So, since QR codes are making a comeback – how can a restaurant or tavern leverage every scan to its fullest potential?

First, you need to find a QR Code generator that would work best for your goals and objectives.  The biggest need right now is a QR Code that will redirect a user to a specific online destination. Such as a website URL or landing page, a social media page like Facebook or Instagram or even an instructional video on YouTube.

There are multiple QR generators available for little to no cost, like the appropriately named QR Code Generator.  Here is a list of the 10 Best Free QR Code Generators Available in 2020 from

TIP:  Be sure that your website or landing page is mobile friendly or an exclusive mobile version.  You can check your mobile friendliness here.

After you have designated a specific goal, like using the QR Code to drive consumers to a specific landing page featuring your drink and food menus, you need to be sure that those pages are designed responsively. Responsive design formats website content quickly and easily on a smart phone so users can access all of the information without any difficulty.

Now, having consumers access drink and food menu content on your website is only one part of the equation.  You have a captive audience and there are several things you do can do to prepare for future promotional opportunities.

The first is a pop-up or alert that will trigger after the consumer is on the landing for a designated period of time.   You can utilize the pop-up to collect email addresses for future email marketing opportunities. You may even co-promote other attractions, food outlets or hotels within your town or destination.  And if you own or manage multiple locations, you can promote them also. Or you can highlight your social channels and gain a few additional followers.

Cleary’s Pub, a restaurant in Downtown Howell, Michigan not only redirects to its menu and drink pages, but it features an appetizer of the day!

The other advantage to having restaurant customers go to your website to view menus is based on the ability of a website pixel to collect user data from consumers. One of the most effective advertising channels available to marketers today is the Facebook family of applications which includes both Facebook and Instagram. One of the most effective approaches to finding optimal consumers for future engagement is through the data collection provided by the pixel.

A Facebook Pixel is a piece of source code that is installed within your website.  It serves two functions: confirming purchases that are done within the site and collecting data that can help you build new audiences and enhance future ad targeting.

Installing the pixel on your website is an extremely simple process and even though you may not have any plans to advertise in the future, it will be a benefit to install it immediately. In our blog, we answered the 3 Big Questions about Facebook Pixels or visit the Facebook Business Help Center here to learn more on the process.

Once the pixel is installed and operating properly, it will fire and begin collecting consumer information following every website visit.   This will give you a few immediate options for future Facebook and Instagram ad targeting. Here you will find all details on the Facebook Pixel you need to know.

Unfortunately, many of the restaurants and taverns that our team has visited in the past few weeks that use QR Codes for menus did not have an active pixel to collect future audience data.  We recommend checking your website for the pixel and complete the installation as soon as possible.

There are multiple options for building audiences based on the QR Code scans and the website visit that follows it.   The first option would be a “Custom Audience”. This is the classic audience for what we would refer to as re-targeting.  Each consumer that visits the website and is actively logged into their Facebook account on their phone will be added to a custom audience bucket.   As you develop your future advertising program, you can develop ads targeted to those consumers who are most familiar with your location.  And, depending on the website page they visit, you can send them specific content related to the page.

For example, if a consumer scans the QR code and visits the menu page, you can assume that the consumer was at your dinning establishment for a meal.  In the future you can develop an ad promoting a specific meal or special option only available to past guests and target it to those who have visited the menu area of your website and became part of the custom audience.  This is a great opportunity to create repeat business and build loyalty.

And, you can use the “customer audience” to create a “lookalike audience” and expand your reach.  The lookalike audience takes the characteristics and persona profiles that make up your custom audience and creates a much bigger pool of consumers to work from.  You can then narrow those prospects based on proximity and introduce them to your restaurant with specific one-time special deals or specific menu features.  This is a great option for creating a new customer base or expanding your current customer base.

Now that we’ve discussed how to leverage how to leverage QR codes for a safer restaurant experience, we know that the recent pandemic has escalated your options in using them. As we want to ensure we are living as contact-free as possible, using these QR codes ensures less-contact between employee and customer. This gives your organizations the ability to build loyalty, gain new audiences, increase social followers and even grow e-newsletter subscribers.  Be sure to install your pixel today and start building audiences with your menu QR codes.

Check back here weekly to see what we are talking about on our blog like Reasons to Use Pinterest, Best Email Practices, and How to Create a Reemerging Landing Website for your reopening strategy! Don’t forget to also sign up for our e-newsletter to make sure you keep up-to-date on all things TwoSix Digital!