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Applebee’s franchisee increases lunch sales by 9.8pc with QR codes

Restaurant chain Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar is using QR codes on tabletops as part of a multichannel campaign to promote its quick lunchtime service.

The QR code-enabled materials are being used in the Applebee’s-owned Thomas & King franchise locations across the United States in an ongoing campaign that began in June and has boosted lunch sales by 9.8 percent. The company is working with agency Cornet Integrated Marketing Solutions on this initiative.

“The goal of the campaign is to play on consumers’ interest while sitting at lunch to enhance the guest experience and to create content they will share with their friends and family to build awareness around the restaurant’s current campaign,” said David Coomer, chief creative officer of Cornet Integrated Marketing Solutions, Lexington, KY.

Quick lunch
Mobile bar codes are being used at 89 restaurants as part of Applebee’s larger “14-minute guarantee” campaign.

The campaign is being used at Applebee’s Thomas & King franchise locations in Lexington, KY; Cincinatti, OH; Dayton, OH; Youngstown, OH; Phoenix, AZ and Tuscon, AZ.

The campaign promotes a special lunch-time menu that promises meals will be served in 14 minutes or less or it is free.

Two different QR code-enabled displays are being used in the restaurants.

The ads feature either a cat or a man with a QR code plastered over their mouths.

Consumers can then scan the bar codes to reveal the mouths and interact with the campaign’s YouTube channel.

Consumers are also directed to the campaign’s Facebook page, which has generated 5,900 “likes.”

Applebee’s claims that the QR codes have been scanned more than 55,000 times.

Here is the cat-themed QR code that is being used at Applebee’s

The QR codes featuring the cat have been the most popular video, which has led Applebee’s to create additional YouTube videos.

“The campaign leverages how consumers are interacting with their mobile devices at restaurants,” Mr. Coomer said.

“Everyone pulls out their phone at lunch because it’s just the way consumers work today,” he said.

Tricky slope
QR codes can be an effective way to leverage a print campaign to give users extra bits of content.

By using QR codes in restaurants, companies can target consumers while they are in one place at a table.

Besides Applebee’s, beverage company Colorado Native recently used mobile bar codes to interact with consumers (see story).

However, they also have the ability to not communicate the correct message to consumers.

For example, a QR code placed on a billboard is difficult for consumers to interact with.

“QR codes can be more interactive than a static ad but they can also be a hit or miss” Mr. Coomer said.

“When placed somewhere such as a restaurant with a captive audience, marketers are able to take advantage of the technology and keep consumers entertained,” he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York