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T.G.I. Friday?s uses QR codes on kids? menus to drive social engagement

T.G.I. Friday?s is using QR codes on the back of its childrens menus to engage customers and bring them to the company's Facebook page so they can become a fan.

The restaurant is one of several companies placing QR codes on children's menus that link to a coupon, a Web site or rich media content. In some cases, the content that the QR code links to is supplied by a local business or other advertiser.

?Families are sitting in a restaurant doing anything they can to keep their kids busy,? said Michael Stone, senior vice president of sales at Kids Menu Marketing, Sunrise, FL.

?Every kid knows what a QR code is,? he said.

The family code
The menus typically come in black-and-white and are printed on four pages with pictures that can be colored in, puzzles and other activities for children.

On the back is the restaurant?s kid?s menu and below that, a panel where three QR codes are printed.

The menus provide marketers a way to target children and their parents, per Mr. Stone.

Some of the other restaurants using the menus include Pizza Hut, which links to its Web site via the QR codes, Original Pancake House, a chain of 70 restaurants in the South and The Carolina Ale House.

Approximately half of T.G.I. Fridays? franchisee locations are currently using menus with QR codes. The other half will bring them in as they run out of older children?s menus.

Kids Menu Marketing prints the children?s menus for restaurants and provides the back-end QR code support. The program is called QR Menus.

When an advertiser buys the QR code content, the restaurant gets the menus for free. Advertisers so far have included a children?s dentist, a clothing store for kids and a Karate school.

Kids Menu Marketing says it is currently in discussion with other restaurants to bring in the menus as well as several national brands who are interested in sponsoring the back-page QR codes.

Restaurant customers who scan the QR codes will be asked to key in their ZIP codes. If there is a coupon offer attached with the QR code, users can email the coupon directly to themselves.

?So far, the openings are at 25 to 32 percent,? Mr. Stone said.

Kids Menu Marketing provides restaurants and advertisers with reports detailing the number of scans, time of day, region of scan and what code was scanned the most.

?For restaurants, this shows customers that they are somewhat technically savvy,? Mr. Stone said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York