We use QR Codes at Pizza Perfect Pizza to let customers use their smart phones to scan the code and go directly to our website or pizza menu without having to touch a physical menu. This was a welcomed technique during the pandemic because no one had to touch anything. Now that the pandemic has subsided, there are still reasons for us to use a QR code. The number 1 reason is convenience. You don’t have to type in a url, you just tap your cell phone camera app, then scan the code. It will give you a link to click on that goes right to the site without you having to type in every letter.

To enable your cell phone to read QR codes, you can download an app from the Google Play Station for Android users, or, on the iPhone, you can go to the camera settings and enable it to read qr codes, or download an app that will do it for you. Basically,  when you scan the code, you’ll get a pop-up link to the web page. Just click on the link an viola, you go to the site without having to type in the url.

For the rest of this post, we are going to geek out on the who, what, when, where, and why of the origin and use of the QR, Quick Response code, and the benefits to you.

QR Codes Store 350x more data than barcodes UPC

The QR code was invented by a team led by Masahiro Hara at the Japanese company Denso Wave, which is a subsidiary of the Denso Corporation. Here’s a brief overview answering your questions:

  • Who: The development team at Denso Wave, headed by Masahiro Hara.
  • What: A QR code (Quick Response Code) is a type of two-dimensional matrix barcode.
  • When: It was invented in 1994.
  • Where: The invention took place at Denso Wave’s facilities in Japan.
  • Why: The QR code was created to track vehicles during manufacturing more efficiently. It was designed to allow for high-speed reading and to store more information than traditional barcodes, including Kanji and Kana characters.

The design was influenced by the game of Go, with the team choosing a pattern of position detection that was least likely to be confused with other printed matter. Since its invention, the QR code has been adopted in a wide range of applications beyond the automotive industry, due to its quick readability and large storage capacity.


Restaurants, Pizzerias, and the QR Code Integration

During the COVID-19 pandemic, pizzerias and other restaurants found several advantages in offering QR codes to their customers:

  1. Touchless Experience: Instituting touchless systems, such as placing a QR code decal on the table that opens an online version of the menu, allowed restaurants to provide a safer dining experience. This approach saved restaurant operators the time and expense of disposing of single-use menus or sanitizing menus after each use. Customers could simply scan the QR code with their smartphones to access the menu without physical contact.
  2. Cost and Waste Reduction: QR code menus eliminated the need for printed menus, reducing printing costs and minimizing paper waste. By going digital, restaurants could easily update their menus without the hassle of reprinting physical copies.
  3. Labor Efficiency: With ongoing labor shortages, QR code menus provided an efficient way for restaurant operators to overcome staffing challenges. Guests could view the menu, place orders, and even pay directly from their phones, reducing the workload on servers.
  4. Increased Average Order Value (AOV): Adaptive menus enabled restaurants to customize offerings and highlight popular items. As a result, some restaurants saw an increase in their average order value (AOV) by as much as 22% per order after implementing QR code menus.
  5. Data Collection and Insights: QR codes allowed restaurants to track consumer behavior and preferences. By analyzing data from QR code interactions, restaurants could identify what worked well and make informed decisions to enhance their offerings.
  6. Convenience for Guests: Guests quickly adapted to the convenience of QR codes. They appreciated being able to check the menu as soon as they sat down, review it anytime, and place orders without flagging down a server.
  7. Beyond Menus: QR codes extended beyond menus. They were used for takeout dinner menus, app downloads, mailing list additions, office space rentals, and even on used-car window stickers connected to CarFax reports.

In summary, QR codes provided a touchless, cost-effective, and efficient solution for pizzerias during the pandemic, enhancing both safety and customer experience. Their adoption is likely to continue even after the pandemic ends.


The Ways Restaurants Utilize QR Codes

QR codes have become an integral part of the restaurant industry, offering various benefits and enhancing the dining experience. Let’s explore how restaurants leverage QR codes:

  1. Digital Menus:
    • Pre-pandemic, physical menus required frequent updates due to changing prices and menu items. However, QR codes now replace traditional menus in many restaurants.
    • Customers can access a digital menu by scanning a QR code placed on the table.
    • Benefits:
      • Easy Updates: Unlike printed menus, digital menus can be updated in real time to reflect changes, specials, and prices.
      • Cost Savings: Restaurants save on printing and designing new menus.
      • Environmental Impact: By going digital, restaurants contribute to a greener planet by reducing paper waste.
      • Enhanced Experience: Digital menus offer visuals, descriptions, and reviews for each menu item, enhancing the customer experience.
  2. Contactless Ordering:
    • Customers can place orders directly from their smartphones by scanning QR codes.
    • Benefits:
      • Speed and Efficiency: Customers browse the online menu, place orders, and make payments from their phones, reducing wait times.
      • Accurate Orders: QR code menus allow customers to view the entire menu and customize their orders without miscommunication or errors.
  3. Promotions and Marketing:
    • QR codes can be used to promote special offers, events, and loyalty programs.
    • Restaurants can create targeted campaigns by linking QR codes to discounts or exclusive deals.
  4. Customer Data Collection:
    • QR codes provide valuable information on customers.
    • Reservation services like OpenTable and Resy pass along data on whoever made the booking to restaurants.
    • For restaurants that don’t take reservations, QR codes allow them to learn about guests right when they’re sitting down.
  5. Payment and Feedback:
    • QR codes facilitate contactless payments, allowing customers to settle bills seamlessly.
    • Some restaurants use QR codes for post-meal feedback, encouraging diners to share their experience.
  6. Health and Safety Measures:
    • During the pandemic, QR codes helped minimize physical touchpoints, promoting safety.
    • They continue to play a role in maintaining hygiene and reducing contact between staff and guests.

QR codes offer efficiency, cost savings, and improved customer experiences. Their adoption is likely to persist beyond the pandemic, making them a valuable tool for restaurants worldwide.

Why Should Restaurants Commission QR Codes


Certainly! Let’s delve into the advantages of using QR codes over traditional barcodes. Both types of codes serve various purposes, but QR codes offer distinct benefits:

  1. Easier Scanning:
    • QR codes are easier to scan compared to barcodes. Anyone with a smartphone can scan a QR code using their camera or a free QR code scanner app.
    • In contrast, barcodes require specialized scanning devices, limiting their accessibility to specific equipment.
  2. Improved Loading and Scanning Speeds:
    • QR codes load and scan faster due to their efficient encoding and decoding algorithms.
    • Barcodes, especially one-dimensional (1D) barcodes, may be slower to process and read.
  3. Unique Customization Features:
    • QR codes allow customization by embedding logos, colors, and design elements within the code itself.
    • Barcodes lack this flexibility and are typically plain black-and-white patterns.
  4. Always Trackable and Editable:
    • QR codes link to digital content, making them trackable. Businesses can monitor interactions, clicks, and user behavior.
    • Additionally, QR codes can be edited or redirected to different URLs without changing the physical code itself.
    • Barcodes lack this dynamic capability.
  5. Link More Data:
    • QR codes can store significantly more data than standard barcodes. They accommodate up to 7,089 characters, depending on the type.
    • This expanded capacity allows QR codes to convey detailed information, such as product specifications, URLs, or contact details.
  6. Flexible Solutions:
    • QR codes serve diverse purposes beyond inventory management. They’re used for marketing campaigns, event tickets, loyalty programs, and more.
    • Barcodes are limited in scope and primarily used for internal business processes.Ideal for Marketing Campaigns:
      • QR codes enhance marketing efforts by enabling interactive experiences. Users can scan QR codes to access promotions, discounts, or additional content.
      • Barcodes lack this interactive dimension.
  7. Calculable ROI for Print Materials:
    • QR codes on printed materials (such as brochures, flyers, or packaging) allow businesses to track engagement and measure return on investment (ROI).
    • Barcodes don’t provide the same level of measurable interaction.

In summary, QR codes offer greater versatility, interactivity, and data capacity, making them a powerful tool for businesses and consumers alike.

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