Creating Community With Quick Response Codes: A Last Look Before 2013

Welcome back to the blog! I hope your near field communication phone has gotten a workout this year as we looked at the best in Quick Response codes for your restaurant. Over the course of this year, the number of near field communication applications has grown exponentially, and so has the number of near field communication companies. What we haven’t seen yet is growth in the number of restaurants using Quick Response in a clear and compelling way to build up the levels of community at their venue. This is something we should all work on together!

If you happened to read through our recent posts, you saw that there’s a huge number of ways to use your QR code generators to spice up your restaurant. Since there are so many options out there, it can be difficult to know where to start. I think the question comes back to the idea of “community.” People may not spend all that much time at your restaurant, but when they do, it is the feeling that they can expect a high quality experience every single time that counts. That feeling, and those experiences, build the feeling of being “connected” to your restaurant.

So, out of all the 30+ suggestions we looked at earlier, let’s look at a few of the best:

  • At the Door: The door is a great place to put up any kind of interesting distraction that your guests can use as they wait. This might be a good place to reproduce the contents of your menu so that they can contemplate their meal while the seating arrangements are handled for them. If you go this route, make sure your host or hostess is knowledgeable enough to answer questions about your dishes.
  • Check Holders: Feedback is a key part of running a successful restaurant. If you don’t get sufficient feedback, you won’t be able to address customer concerns. Many guests are passive-aggressive and will not complain to your staff, but they might be interested in filling out an online service card. Likewise, people who are very pleased with your service will strengthen that feeling when they scan your code and leave comments.
  • To-Go Packaging: Your “to-go” packaging can help establish your customers’ return visit before they even walk out the door. This is a perfect place for coupons, special event advertising and other offers. Just make sure the packaging is structured in such a way that a near field communication reader will easily be able to scan the information in your QR code. If it’s too difficult, it won’t get done at all.
  • Staff Interviews: Video is one of the most powerful forms of media that you can invoke with Quick Response. Staff interviews can be placed on codes anywhere, but they might be particularly good on table tents and similar collateral. What this does is give your guests the chance to find out more and potentially connect with your staff. Plus, staffers will feel better about “having a voice.” Consider the wait staff, executive chef, and more.

There are literally thousands of ways to make sure of Quick Response, but the key is to be creative. Good luck in the new year, and don’t forget to check back here for more!

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Mobile Payment is Coming, and the Time to Update Your Menus is Now

One of the most important innovations in the world of near field communication technology could be coming sooner than you think. Near field communication companies are already working overtime to get ready, and most near field communication devices are already prepared for what could be a major shift in how commerce is done. Break out your Quick Response code generator, because I’m talking about near field communication payments. That’s the mobile payment system that could turn your phone into a permanent replacement for your wallet — and it has been a long time in coming, but it could be here before you know it.

Take this headline from the Australian edition of ZDNet: BPAY to Make QR Codes Useful. Like so many other commentators, the folks behind the mobile payment plans at BPAY are talking tough about those who have been “abusing QR codes by poorly using the technology.” But making QR codes into financial tools instead of advertisements is a step in the right direction … and it’s one that companies in the United States are taking as well. Just a few months back, Bank of America tested a QR payment service, and initial reactions are positive. If one of America’s largest banks gets behind the process, could the others be far behind? Answer: No.

What Does All This Mean for Restaurants? What’s This About My Menu?

As a restaurateur, you already know that your menu is one of your most powerful advertising tools. When people sit down but they don’t know what they want, your menu is what facilitates that tough decision. Hopefully, you already have your menu available in a user-friendly and enticing format online so that diners can browse your offerings from the comfort of their own home, too. But even with all that, your menu could still do more for you … especially when it comes time to accept near field communication payments.

Unless you own a buffet, you won’t be scaling back your staff any time soon over mobile payments. However, Quick Response could soon improve your menu, sending orders to the kitchen just as quickly as your patrons make a decision. Scanning the right QR code could start a table’s tab, split the check, and much more, making the things that your staff absolutely must do quicker and easier to handle. Although your food should speak for itself when you have potential customers sitting in your restaurant, there’s also the opportunity to use video and multimedia to help your visitors really engage with your restaurant.

Any changes you make to your menu are bound to impact your bottom line, so it’s a good idea to plan in advance. Future mobile payment technology will probably require something similar to Quick Response codes along with the items, so consider where they might be placed. It’s not a bad idea to revise your menu every now and then, in any case. Have you been using enough color? Maybe it’s time for enticing photos of your house specials? And maybe, just maybe, it’s time to introduce a buffet? There’s no telling when mobile payments will become more widely available in the U.S., but get started on the logistics now and reap the benefits … soon!

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Got the Back Room Blues? Saving Time With Restaurant Quick Response Codes

What’s the most boring part of the restaurant business? Something nobody looks forward to — but a part of the biz that their whole reputation relies on? Something that near field communication technology can really help you with? If you answered something like “logistics,” “stocking,” or “inventory,” you’re right on the money. Many prominent near field communication companies got started in the world of logistics, and if you generate QR codes for your inventory you can make things quicker and easier on yourself.

Most restaurants operate on a rotating basis with their food suppliers so that the same average inventory comes in every month. There might be variations based on the season and other factors, but for many restaurants, the inventory is nearly constant. Unfortunately, you can’t predict everything when it comes to inventory — and if you run out of a favorite dish, you might upset your customers. Diners’ moods change, and the key to knowing how to adjust your inventory is tracking the trends as they come and go.

But let’s face it: Tracking your inventory is boring! Who wants to deal with that stuff? Thankfully, your handy near field communication phone can make it easier than ever. Here are two major ways you can take the stress and strain out of inventory:

  • Using a free QR code generator, put codes on each container of stock so you know when you’ve opened it and when you run out — you can enter this data in any simple spreadsheet program or inventory tracking program. You can average the data out to figure out how much of each unit you sold per day and adjust your stock accordingly without having to go through each and every receipt.
  • Take that same color QR code generator and set up different codes so that you’re always connected to your supplier. That way, when you need to make a new order, you can do it directly from your phone. Even if it’s something as simple as a code that links you to their email or phone number, it will take the guess work and aggravation out of ordering — you can place the order when you need it!

There is nothing more disappointing to a customer than arriving for dinner only to find that their favorite item on your menu is gone. Sometimes, there’s an unexpected rush on one dish for a day and you can’t possibly expect or control it. But much of the time, your inventory is completely in your hands. Saving a little money and a little time “on average” will rack up to thousands of dollars saved over a year, along with many more happy customers. Just another way Quick Response Codes can help your restaurant!

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Restaurant Owners: Quick Response Codes Can Help You Get Better Online Reviews

With the prevalence of “fast” communication technology these days, it’s no surprise that lots of people are connected to the internet twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. In fact, CNN has just reported new Pew research that suggests millions of people use their phone as their primary source of internet access. That includes a whole slew of people who do not have regular internet access in the home; in other words, millions of customers who are all but immune to your online presence.

Many of your customers, though, will have both a near field communication phone (such as a smartphone) and regular home internet access. These are the ones you have to watch out for the most — the folks whose opinions will shape your online identity. How can you help make sure that you get positive reviews? A little know-how on how to generate QR codes can combine with your restaurant savvy to help you collect those positive reviews. Here are a few thoughts on how to do it with a free QR code generator.

Why Are Restaurant Reviews So Important for Your Business?

Let’s face it: The days of upscale food critics visiting restaurants in secret to pen reviews between five course meals are rapidly fading away. With journalism fragmenting, you never know when you might be serving a blogger whose opinion might reach hundreds or even thousands of people in your local area. And while all press is good press, it’s not likely that you’ll be seeing many visitors who were attracted by bad reviews.

When people are checking the net or surfing their near field communication phone GPS for a nearby restaurant, the first thing they are likely to do is visit some reviews. A single bad review that happens to be current — and therefore at the top of the screen! — can hold more weight than the ten positive reviews below it. When it comes to online reviews, the threshold for a “good” score is 95% or 4.5 out of 5. Below this is, well, not so good.

How Can You Use Quick Response Codes to Build Up Good Reviews?

A lot of restaurants still leave review cards near the front of the house. This used to be a great way of showing customers that you cared about their opinion, but it’s not nearly as effective now. Nobody fills in those review cards — not unless they have something really nasty to say. If they want to give you a rave review, they tell you in person. Or, just as likely, they go online and leave a review on the first site that comes up.

With a free QR code generator, you can just about automate the process of getting your sterling reviews. Pay attention to the servers and find out which of your customers are in a good mood, happy with the food and the service. When you know which customers are warm, send them a wine or dessert list at the end of the meal with a QR code link to a popular review site. Have the server explain …

… and also offer to do whatever’s necessary to get up to five stars.

True, some people will try to abuse this. But lots of your customers will have their near field communication Android ready to go. Even if they’re not so good at typing with their thumbs, and decline your request to begin with, it’s much more likely they’ll remember to leave you a positive review when they get home. That’ll help you shove those rare negative reviews to the bottom, where they won’t affect impulse buying.

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The Most Important Place For QR Codes in Your Restaurant Is …

Near field communication payments are already making near field communication technology pretty common in some restaurants and food courts. You can order by touch screen, for example, and get a call or beep when your food is ready. This works especially well at the mall, where there’s liable to be a lot of hungry potential customers wandering by and all of the places where you could eat have the benefit of brand recognition. Even if you don’t recognize a name, you can tell what’s cooking just walking by.

One of the most important factors in figuring out the best use of your quick response code generator is where you’re located. If you have a lot of foot traffic, then the single most important place for your quick response codes is outside. Think about it: Restaurants all want to project an appetizing, appealing image. Yet, they often miss out on the most important aspect: Their food! It’s been scientifically proven that when someone is hungry, they see pictures of food more brightly than a satisfied person does.

Bright, colorful, delicious food. For a restaurant, it should make sense, right?

Often, owners overlook this. In most cases, the first time anyone sees your food will be on your menu or after they order. But people who are on the street walking by don’t react to your menu and prices the same way they would react to a full color, three dimensional encounter with your food — the kind of encounter QR codes make possible. By scanning a quick response code outside your door, customers should have the chance to really get a look at your food; if they’re hungry, that can be enough to close the deal.

You can also use this to make things even more convenient:

  • Use your quick response code site to warn people when you’re out of a key ingredient or dish. Guide them toward something else that they will like just as much, so they don’t have to deal with disappointment. (Believe me, after the third consecutive time my local place was out of the ahi tuna, I stopped asking.)
  • Advertise your specials, soup of the day, or whatever the chef feels like making. If you want to create a family feel, let your owner and chef record a personal welcoming message (but be respectful of customers’ data plans!)
  • Use your mobile site to partner up with other businesses. After your customers are satisfied, they might be looking for something else to do that night. Maybe you can direct them to coupons for local attractions (who can reciprocate in turn.)

If you want to attract new visitors to your restaurant, offer a mouth-watering enticement to make that first visit. Full-sized, full color boards outside your door are good, but they can wear out over time and take constant work. A QR-enabled mobile site will improve your returns much more than the old-fashioned menu in the window!

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QR Codes Make Restaurant Marketing Easy With B2B Partnerships

What is “B2B”? It’s “business-to-business,” what happens any time you come up with a way for other businesses in your neighborhood to join with you in a win-win. For a good restaurant, this is easier than it looks, and it can benefit you while building bridges in your professional community. It’s even better when restaurateurs give customers the ability to engage the brand with their near field communication reader or near field communication phone. Here’s a quick primer on the basic idea.

For Casual Restaurants: Be Where Your Customers Are

Here is a great example of the power of generating QR codes to influence a buy. I know a number of great restaurateurs who have businesses near movie theaters. When someone goes out to a movie, the timing of their dinner is going to depend on when the show is, not the other way around. In many cases, they’re going to go to an earlier show if they want to eat a slow, several course meal, and a later show if they plan to eat first on the quick. Either way, I’ve been encouraging these business owners to approach the theaters with the idea of using QR codes to cross-pollinate business.

If the theater puts QR codes on its drinks and (especially) its popcorn, people can scan them and get your menu, coupons, and a whole bunch of other stuff. Now, of course, you don’t want people scanning codes during the movie. But remember that our good friends in the movie theater business pack the house almost an hour early so that a) people will buy popcorn and b) people will watch previews. These are usually two things nobody has the intention of doing when they first get there. When they’re bored and antsy, they scan.

And once they scan, their dinner plans are all but made for them — with a great offer they can’t resist, a classy display of the menu items, and a convenient location that will reward them for watching the movie they were going to see anyway. This can work in reverse, too, with table tents at your restaurant leading to movie discounts; all the more useful if the discounts are for the movies that your cinematic friends want seen.

For Upscale Restaurants: Be Where They Are Going

You’re less likely to influence an upscale diner by showing them an offer when they’re just passing through. This kind of customer takes your reputation seriously and if they don’t know you, they’re less likely to visit. That’s when it’s time to go out to the upscale shops — the same kind that are using QR codes out front more and more — and try to get your special offers in the windows of the classy boutiques where they’re planning to shop. This associates your brand with a name they trust and makes you their next stop.

Wondering what I mean? Check out these QR coded store fronts for ideas.

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