Much time is spent on QR codes in retail and events. Today, however, we are going to look at ways to integrate mobile barcodes in restaurants.


There are a multitude of locations to put QR codes inside and outside of restaurants from windows to tables to menus, posters and in the men’s urinals, although be careful because some people may not like pictures being taken in there.

Chino Latino

Let’s start off with a couple of innovative restaurants, Chino Latino in Minneapolis and Mesob, a New Jersey-based Ethiopian restaurant.

MesobMesob has placed QR codes on their tables to takes you to instructional videos that detail the production of the restaurant’s coffee and how they make Injera, a traditional Ethiopian bread that is used instead of knives, forks or spoons. This prepares people for the experience they are getting ready to have as well as offering insight into the country’s cultural practices.

Chino Latino is a trendy restaurant that uses QR codes everywhere they can think of whether it’s in a billboard, at the entrance, the dining room or even the restrooms. Patrons scan the codes to reveal special deals, ads and videos hiding under each symbol. The QR code contributed to over 7,500 web site visits in 90 days. Based on the success, Parasole, the Minneapolis-based holding company, used QR codes as part of its Burger Jones grand opening contest which drew as many as 349 scans in a single day.



  • Billboards
  • Flyers, brochures, handouts, ads
  • Storefront windows
  • Lobby/waiting area
  • Dining room walls
  • Tables, either on the table or on table tents
  • Menus
  • Restrooms



  • Links to recipes (maybe a video from the chef on how he/she prepares it, its original, history of the dish)
  • Pictures of the dish
  • Give them nutritional facts – so many people are watching what they eat whether they are on a diet or watching their blood sugar, so help them out. They won’t forget it! This could be great for people with food allergies to know what’s in the dish.
  • Deals, freebies, coupons – in this economy more people than ever are looking for ways to save money, so make them a deal they cannot refuse. And it’s a whole lot easier to carry the coupon on your phone than trying to remember that paper coupon.
  • A simple way to check-in using FourSquare, point scanners to your Yelp profile
  • Give them an easy way to Like you on Facebook or Tweet about you, it’s much easier than them having to find you on Facebook to Like you
  • Provide a menu to those waiting to get a table or outside your window to entice them to come in and try you out
  • Use it to take them on a journey of discovery pairing different wines with entrees via your mobile barcode Wine Sommelier. Make it interesting by letting them learn more about the wine, the vineyard, the history and links to where they can buy a case for delivery.
  • Do you have a story? Most every restaurant does. Share the history of the restaurant. It’s much better than old newspaper clippings plastered on the wall that most never get a chance to read. Put a video in the palm of their hand and share unique aspects of your restaurant’s history that will turn regular guest into advocates. Build a connection with them that will spread throughout the community.
  • Link to your daily specials – the customer shouldn’t have to be present to find out what your special of the day is. It’s just extra incentive to get them to come. If it’s on a mobile-friendly web page, they can bookmark the page and go back to it any time they want without having to find the barcode again.
  • Send them to Google Maps with your location
  • Give them contact information with hours of operation
  • Interview the staff – give them another way to connect with the staff and get their input on their favorite items thus turning the experience more personal
  • Interview with the Executive Chef – show off their background, how they got where they are and their take on the food they prepare. You could even set up a way to have a request sent to have the chef come out to the table, personally. Talk about an added connection!
  • Give them a way to sign up for your loyalty program. QR codes can contain a ready-made text message to send. Combine this with a text messaging platform like iMobilize Media and you can have your own text messaging loyalty rewards program.
  • Takeout menu – how many times have you wished you had a takeout menu or left with one and cannot find it anymore? For me, that’s all the time.
  • Tie the code in your ad to a reservation system with ordering and interactive directions
  • And finally, but certainly not least – Customer Surveys. How many people actually take the time to keep the receipt, go home, get on their computer, go to your web site and actually fill out a survey. Probably very little unless they were very satisfied, had a completely horrible experience or desperate to win the pot of gold at the end of the survey. We are much more apt to get out our phones and go on Facebook or Twitter to voice our opinions. You could even put it at the table so they could fill it out while they’re waiting to get their change or credit card back.
    One such path is using Recommendi. The standard version is free (up to 100 responses per month) and the premium is 20 Euro/month (up to 1,000 responses per month). You will get ready-made survey pages that can be customized. You can download metrics to analyze the comments and sort by date or score.



It’s about giving your patrons a dining experience. Turn the simple meal into an enriching experience that they will remember and spread word-of-mouth about your restaurant. It also could reduce the number of questions your wait staff has to field giving them more time to provide better customer service and the potential up-sell/cross-sell since. Hopefully, the content on the other end of the scan has already laid the groundwork for that sale. The end result is only going to be as good as the content you give at the end of the scanned code.


What other ways have you been using mobile barcodes at your restaurant? Or seen being used at restaurants?


3 Responses to How to Use Mobile Barcodes in Restaurants

  1. […] · 7 Comments We’ve talked about mobile barcodes in grocery stores, real estate, restaurants, universities and retail environments. We’ve discussed the basics and even come creative, cool […]

  2. […] Mesob, an Ethiopian restaurant in New Jersey, has QR codes on each table which take customers to […]

  3. […] 13) Mesob, an Ethiopian restaurant in New Jersey, has QR codes on each table that take customers to instructional videos about the production of the restaurant’s coffee and how they make traditional Injera bread. […]

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