Restaurants Menus and QR Codes

The nation is becoming more health conscious and the demand to know the nutritional value and content of food is great. This has resulted in changes in the food industry and has reached restaurants. It is becoming common to see restaurant menus include a meal’s nutritional value and content including calories, make-up of carbohydrates, fat, and protein and any added ingredients that might be associated with food allergies. Children’s menus are also seeing an influx of this information as obesity levels are on a rise and more children are diagnosed with food sensitivities and allergies than ever before. It isn’t enough just to include healthy food items such as fruit and vegetables on a menu; consumers have a need to know the nutritional content of each item they order. One way in which restaurants are meeting this need is by incorporating the use of QR codes in their menus.


Restaurant menus often have limited space as they devote placement for full color photos of their best selling items, specials, and drinks. Some companies may find the idea of adding nutritional content to their menus a time consuming process that results in redesigning the menu’s layout. QR codes are a way that restaurant owners can satisfy consumer’s needs while maximizing menu space. A QR or Quick Response code is similar to the USB barcodes that accompany every purchase made in stores. These codes, however, are two-dimensional and are in the shape of a square. Easily readable by smartphones that contain a camera, the QR code can connect a consumer to a website or provide text information. A QR code enabled menu can take the patron to an online site that explains the full nutritional content, ingredients, and whether an item contains any known food allergens within seconds. This provides many benefits for restaurants as well as patrons. The restaurant can save on printing costs and the redesign of their menu and the patron has easy access to the information needed.


In addition to adding nutritional value to menus, QR codes may be incorporated in the restaurant industry in a variety of helpful and practical ways. A restaurant may opt to remove images from their menu entirely and instead replace the area on a menu with a QR code. The QR code, when scanned, can bring the patron to a mobile website that displays the images. The website can also include the nutritional content of each item adjacent to the photo, all while saving greatly on menu printing costs. This alone can help scale back some of the overhead associated with running a restaurant business.


Restaurants can create a special section on a mobile friendly website for displaying daily deals and specials. This cuts back the use of printing daily specials and may be combined with a chalkboard or whiteboard format that is used in the front of the store. Patrons won’t need to leave their seats to see what the daily special is, nor will restaurants need to print them daily to display on tables. By adding a daily specials QR code to the menu, the website can be updated accordingly while the QR code remains in place. Each day, patrons can scan the QR code with their camera enabled smart phone to access the specials.


Many restaurants have inspiring, triumphant histories. A great way to share these often amazing stories is by adding a QR code to the menu that when scanned, takes patrons to a website detailing the story behind the restaurant. Whether a large chain or a local mom and pop diner, faithful patrons love to hear the history behind their favorite eateries. As QR codes can take patrons to Internet links, you can have the QR code direct patrons to a multimedia display rich with audio and sound of your business’ history. These history sites can be made personal by including greetings and messages from the business’ founders as well as current staff.


There are numerous ways in which restaurants can utilize QR codes to create successful business strategies that benefit both the patron and the company. From displaying nutritional value to saving printing costs and staying in touch with clients, there are numerous ways to incorporate QR codes into a restaurant’s daily operations.


Please visit the following resources for further information regarding QR codes


  • QR Code Guide: An in-depth resource that answers numerous questions regarding QR codes.
  • QR Code Best Practices for Restaurants: The Ohio Restaurant Association takes a closer look at QR codes and their use in the industry.
  • QR Codes:  In PDF format, a Synthesis Journal article detailing the composition of QR codes and their use in multiple industries.
  • What’s a QR Code?:  Guide to QR codes from the Contra Costa County Library.
  • QR Codes: Professor Greenstein of the Kellogg School of Management explains QR codes, their benefits, and uses.