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Chili's continues mobile bar code push with scannable menus

Chili?s Grill & Bar is continuing to make mobile bar codes a core part of its marketing strategy by placing them on menus to advertise new products.

The QR codes are being used at more than 800 corporate-owned restaurants in the United States. In addition to the new menu, Chili?s is also experimenting with mobile bar codes on children?s menus.

?Chili?s is currently using QR codes in a variety of areas throughout the business,? said Julie Flowers, spokeswoman for Chili?s, Dallas.

?With the constant evolution of technology, our world continues to receive information at the touch of our fingertips,? she said.

?Offering more mobile tools in our restaurant makes our guests? busy lives easier and allows them to better enjoy our restaurant with these enhanced applications.?

Food scan
The mobile bar codes are linked to seven new healthy Chili?s menu items.

Chili?s is using the mobile bar codes to represent the line of Lighter Choice items in the menu, which have less calories and fat.

Consumers who scan the QR codes are taken to a mobile-optimized Web site where they can view nutritional information and learn more about the dishes.

Mobile bar codes are also being used on the company?s children?s menus to educate kids and parents on the nutritional information of meals.

The QR codes on the children?s menu tie in with Chili?s broader campaign to get kids to eat healthier with the Kids LiveWell program and a partnership with the National Restaurant Association.

Consumers can also access the Chili?s mobile Web site and sign up for the chain?s email program.

Mobile bar
This is not Chili?s first foray into mobile.

The company recently ran a campaign that let users scan mobile bar codes to donate. The campaign generated 291,000 scans (see story).

The company also recently developed an Android and iPhone app that lets users place food orders while on the go.

QR codes have been abundantly used by mobile marketers looking to leverage existing print and on-package materials, but the trick is to find a piece of content that makes consumers want to scan the code.

For Chili?s, using the mobile bar codes is a smart move because it gives users the nutritional information, which may not be available elsewhere.

Additionally, the campaign ties in with the restaurant chain?s broader initiative to help educate its diners on healthy food options.

?Chili?s continues to look to the evolution of technology to enhance the guest experience beyond the four walls of our restaurants,? Ms. Flowers said.

?In the competitive restaurant marketplace, technology and innovation will continue to be a game changer as guests look for brands to differentiate themselves,? she said.

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