QR: The Next Wave?


Today’s Star Tribune featured an article about how local restaurant, Chino Latino, is using quick response—QR—bar-codes to engage their clientele on a deeper level and generate buzz for their restaurant.

Here’s the concept:
Bar-goers can scan QR codes in locations throughout the restaurant and wash rooms using their smart phones (loaded with an app that allows the phone to read the codes). They’re rewarded with outrageous video clips of new head chef, Tuan Nguyen, depicted wearing a loincloth and riding a chicken.

Photo by Tom Wallace. Fusion restaurant Chino Latino has introduced an interactive ad campaign using those black-and-white QR codes

As reported in the Strib, QR codes are widely used in Japan and are beginning to be used by other Twin Cities restaurants as well.

And while the technology is not available to just anyone, the marketing gurus behind the Chino Latino campaign did the math: 70% of their patrons have smart phones, and 20% are likely to have the reader. The exclusivity of this 20% could serve to generate a hipster buzz and present the restaurant as cutting-edge.

The PR the restaurant has already received for the QR effort alone might well get the owners a decent their return on their investment.

New life for borrowed technology
QR codes, initially developed by Japanese company Denso-Wave to keep inventory, have already been co-opted for a wealth of marketing uses:

  • They’re increasingly found in print ads and on products to offer special discounts and product information.
  • Companies are placing them on business cards as a quick link to their websites, video and social media.
  • Uses are expanding to concert tickets, PayPal payments, boarding passes, coded t-shirts, book/music/video/movie trailer downloads, signage, and even as graffiti for the technologically-inclined.
  • The codes themselves are even becoming statements of self expression.

Where it’s headed
The QR code trend seems perfect for hip, young consumers already accustomed to seeking updates and additional information every minute or so from their smart phone or ipad. It offers an excellent opportunity to reach out to a select audience in a unique and interactive way.

The effectiveness of a QR code campaign will come down to the payoff of the online material provided; this tool begs for a clever delivery or monetary reward for the effort in scanning the code and loading the website.

For marketing ideas using QR codes, visit:

Top 5 Creative Ways to use QR Codes

5 Unique Uses for QR Codes

Are you ready to incorporate QR codes into your communications?

The Future of QR Codes

Ready to get started?
A company called Kaywa offers a free QR Code Generator tool online.

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