Skip navigation

Restaurants tap into power of QR codes

Research is revealing more about the use and users of QR codes, as the consumer engagement technology finds its way into new promotions by restaurants such as Taco Bell and Boudin Bakery.

Unlike conventional bar codes, a QR code stores information vertically and horizontally, and when a smartphone camera captures its likeness, special software displays on that phone additional information or links the user to a website with data or special offers.

Irvine, Calif.-based Taco Bell is currently using such codes to promote its Big Box Remixed meal bundle, and 23-unit fast-casual Boudin Bakery of San Francisco incorporated QR codes into a recent a Facebook coupon so smartphone users could quickly access an online store-locator tool.

Just how many consumers are using such QR code technology and where are they using it?

Recent research by digital media measurement company comScore Inc. indicated that in June, 14 million smartphone and other camera-equipped mobile device users in the United States scanned a QR code. That represented about 6.2 percent of all mobile device users ages 13 or older, the Reston, Va.-based company said.

ComScore collected the data in its monthly MobiLens survey, which gathers information from more than 10,000 respondents in the U.S.

About one in 13 of those QR code scanners, or 7.6 percent of the group, did their scanning while in a restaurant, according to the research. Most of the surveyed individuals scanned from home, 58 percent; a retail business, 39.4 percent; grocery store, 24.5 percent; work, 19.7 percent; or outside or while using public transit, 12.6 percent.

The QR code scanning research also found that:

• Most June scanners, 60.5 percent, were male, and the majority of scanners were ages 18 to 34, 53.4 percent.

• About one in three scanners, or 36.1 percent, had a household income of $100,000 or above.

• The most popular source for the QR codes scanned in June were magazines or newspapers, 49.4 percent; product packaging, 35.3 percent; website or computer screen, 27.4 percent; poster, flier or kiosk, 23.5 percent; business card or brochure, 13.4 percent; storefront, 12.8 percent; or TV screen, 11.7 percent.

Contact Alan J. Liddle at [email protected].
Follow him on Twitter: @AJ_NRN

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.