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Restaurants Utilizing QR Codes in the Pandemic

Posted on July 28th, 2020 by

The global pandemic has forced us all to take safety precautions and we know that masks, gloves, and social distancing are ways to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and to maximize the safety of ourselves and those around us. As businesses continue with cautious re-openings amid the COVID-19 pandemic, they are determining best practices for how to do so in a way that allows them to get back to some level of normalcy while giving their employees and customers peace of mind.

The silver lining in all of this is that there are several tactics which have now become staples of this current daily life that will presumably stay with us even beyond the pandemic.

One of the additions to life as we know it – which is really in its own revitalization of sorts – is QR codes at restaurants and eateries for contactless paying and ordering.

Contactless ordering and payment have become not only a ‘nice to have’ in restaurants but have taken hold as a must-have during these times. Independent establishments, chains, and even small venues have upgraded their payment systems to allow QR code functionality to bring food service to customers with limited physical exchange to employees and staff.

While going out to eat used bring about putting the phones down to enjoy each other’s company, now the phone is an integral component to a safer dining experience – and that may never change. Using a photo, enabling a QR code reader, and paying electronically are eliminating shared menus, shared bills, and – yes – shared germs.

So how does this all work?

When you arrive at the restaurant, you’ll certainly notice face masks and plastic shields protecting the host stand and other diners. At your table you will notice a (typically) laminated sheet or stand that has instructions directing you to use the QR code positioned front and center on it.  When that QR code is simply scanned using your smartphone’s camera, a link will open to the restaurant’s menu pages.

QR codes have had widespread use for many years now but are seeing a resurgence especially as the CDC has recommended that restaurants, eateries, and bars use digital menus in limited the spread of the coronavirus. Many restaurants in larger cities had already been looking into touchless menu technology before the pandemic struck – and many patrons love the simplicity and ease of access – so the pandemic ushered the change along much quicker.

Even beyond the benefits of QR code menus for health and safety, there are additional advantages that come from applying the technology in restaurants.

Digital menus that utilize QR codes offer more flexibility and organization than a paper menu. The staff can quickly and easily update the digital menu to adjust items (such as add a dish, or remove one that’s sold out) and with some programs a restaurant could review and analyze data (such as what dish is most popular).

QR codes menus can have visuals, graphics, and video clips – which may be more appealing than the static photos on a paper menu. In a world where we love our Instagram and Facebook videos and gifs, applying that same thought to creative on a digital menu can be a huge hit. QR codes can also enable promotions, specials, and coupons right from the system.

The environmental impact is great as well as restauranteurs who are going to digital menus are not only reducing costs for themselves, but they are reducing waste!

With all of the positives in this silver lining, restaurant owners, industry experts, and marketers firmly believe that digital menus – and the QR codes that enable them – are here to stay. Smartphones are already part of our everyday routines, and now they will be fully engrained in our dining experiences as well.

We all want to be safe and we all want to get back to some level of normal.  That said, long after a vaccine comes along the QR codes and digital menus will remain.  They make contactless ordering and payment that much safer, quicker, and easier.  The future of dining is here to stay.

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QR Codes...on Bumblebees?

Posted on November 30th, 2018 by

Often we read about QR codes being used to sell or market goods to consumers, but here is a new use – bumblebee research. Researchers have created a new way to study the buzzing bees – attach QR codes to their backs. Using a special vacuum, the bees are collected and put in a refrigerator to chill thereby rendering them immobilized. Once immobilized, very small, simplified QR codes are superglued to their backs. Previously researchers would stand over colonies, tracking the behavior of individual bees. Its hard to believe they would not confuse the bees as they all look similar. The system, called BEEtag, allows cameras to automatically monitor hundreds of bees at all times, allowing reseachers to learn about their personalities and interactions. Bumblebees may all look alike, but research using QR codes has shown that they actually have lots of personality. Some are more active than others, some forage all day, and other remain more in the nest. With bee populations on the decline recently, this information is certainly important and the implications for other similar research methods are aplenty. For example, it has been suggested that pesticides may have to go through testing with BEEtag before receiving regulatory approval. Assistant Professor Stacey Combes’ research with former Harvard graduate student James Crall on this was recently published in Nature Communications. Great to see people using QR codes to help our insect friends.

 

wired.com/story/why-these-bumblebees-are-wearing-itty-bitty-qr-codes/ (Image Credit)

biology.ucdavis.edu/news/stacey-combes-and-why-these-bumblebees-are-wearing-itty-bitty-qr-codes-wired

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QR Codes to Register Voters

Posted on October 26th, 2018 by

QR Codes to Register Voters

The student-led protest group, March For Our Lives, which emerged after the tragic events that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, FL, has gotten innovative with their use of QR Codes in their focus on opposing gun violence.

Former Stoneman student, Jammal Lemy, a local T-shirt designer, was asked by the group to design t-shirts to help fund their tour around the US. The shirts depict and American flag-like symbol with a QR Code where the stars would be.

The stripes have been altered, with several more added an varying thickness resembling linear barcodes. The objective is to help register as many youth voters as possible for the November midterms. Simply scanning the QR Code with their smartphones sends the scanner to a voter registration page.

With 38 states allowing online registration, the shirts will likely make an impact (especially in the upcoming November elections). In fact, it has been reported that as of a week ago approximately 10,000 people have already registered to vote by simply using the shirts — and utilizing QR Codes!

 

References:

dezeen.com // Photo Cred, dezeen.com.

axios.com

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LinkedIn Introduces QR Code Functionality

Posted on August 28th, 2018 by

LinkedIn has recently introduced a great new feature to further aid with its app’s functionality. The LinkedIn app now lets users connect through QR codes.

In the app, there is a newly added icon in the Home tab’s search bar. Tapping on that icon reveals a QR scanner as well as a code dedicated to you. Users can now scan others’ codes or upload an image of one from your phone and the app will take you to that user’s profile. Users can also share their own code in a variety of ways. In addition to sending it via messaging apps, your code can also be added to websites, your email signature, or printed on marketing materials.

This is a fantastic idea out of LinkedIn. QR code usage will help users connect with others immediately. Users will no longer meet someone at a conference or other networking event only to forget their name or misplace their business card. A quick QR code scan with the LinkedIn app and you’re connected for the foreseeable future, able to engage in further meaningful interactions that may result in more business. This also saves you from the potentially awkward exchange of having to ask someone how to spell their name, or as TechCrunch points out, connecting with the wrong “Mark Smith.”

 

https://www.engadget.com/2018/06/28/linkedin-qr-codes-sharing-profile-easier/
https://lifehacker.com/how-to-add-a-new-linkedin-connection-via-qr-code-1827261999
https://techcrunch.com/2018/06/28/linkedin-adds-microsoft-powered-translations-and-qr-codes-to-connect-more-of-its-users-faster/

 

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The Future of QR Codes

Posted on July 29th, 2018 by

Depending on what you read, the future of QR codes seems to be a mixed bag. The thoughts on QR Codes are influenced by where in the world the QR codes are used as different countries have differing appetites for the technology.

As noted by PYMNTS.com, the QR code has gotten a lot of attention recently for use as a digital payment, though such attention has been – for now – limited outside of Asia. EMVCo, the global technical body that manages QR Code payment specifications, has introduced the QR Payment Mark, meant to “promote global interoperability across EMV QR Code payments.” The QR Payment Mark will inform consumers that a particular merchant uses a digital payments application. In India, QR Codes have seen great momentum as officials work to move toward a cash-free society. India has launched the BharatQR, a digital payments tool back by Visa, Mastercard, and the National Payments Corporation of India. It has also been reported that the most successful deployments of QR Code-based payments have occurred in China where QR Code transaction have surpassed cash and cards.

Innovation Enterprise, however, writes about how infrequently QR Codes are used, especially here in the States. They note that while most people “would be able to recognize one if they saw it . . . the number of people that have actually used them is small, with even fewer using them with any regularity.”

Our thoughts? The applications of QR Codes can certainly be recognized by many, and the uses and utility are continuing to grow, develop, and emerge. Some argue that the QR Code hasn’t stood out to marketing teams as a ‘must’ in a singular-use case, but the reality is that QR Codes should be part of a marketing plan when there is a clear benefit to connecting online and offline media, and when your target audiences will likely understand how to interact with them (e.g. are you marketing to millennials or senior citizens).

A number of years ago at the dawn of the smartphone era many marketers tried and failed to use QR codes in marketing campaigns. In many cases, these were poorly implemented efforts with common mistakes that doomed their efforts to failure.

As more and more marketing initiatives find success – such as SnapChat’s Snapcodes or Starbucks having customers scan codes from cups – businesses and brands will see more of the upside. QR Codes now are providing a one-way transaction, in directing users to information or content, but they are not – yet – collecting information. In an age where marketing is driven by ton of data, this will be the next big piece of the puzzle for QR Codes to explore and develop.

An area where QR codes are appear to be gaining momentum, but that are less publicly visible, are in areas related to industrial use and logistics, such as information access and inventory control. It may not be sexy, but it’s practical and can carry significant benefits to organizations that want to improve efficiency in their operations by merging cloud-based data with their real-world products and processes. Ultimately, regardless of how or where QR codes are being used, their utility ultimately depends on thoughtful implementation. Following established QR Code best practices will improve the chances that they are utilized as intended, while also providing an optimal experience for your users.

 

 

Cited:
pymnts.com/digital-payments/2018/qr-code-payments-expansion/
channels.theinnovationenterprise.com/articles/what-is-the-future-of-qr-codes

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