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QSRs Tap QR Codes to Expand Loyalty Recognition in Stores

restaurant QR code

As restaurants look to target their marketing and drive customer frequency, major brands are leveraging in-store QR codes to tie all transactions, including in-store purchases, to users’ digital profiles.

For instance, quick-service restaurant (QSR) giant Restaurant Brands International (RBI), which owns Burger King and Popeyes, among others, shared on its earnings call earlier this month that, in the company’s ongoing push to reach 100% digital sales, its Tim Hortons brand is using QR codes to drive in-store adoption of its loyalty program.

“Our digital and operations teams work cross-functionally and collaborate with restaurant owners to deliver a great guest experience,” RBI CEO Josh Kobza told analysts on the call. “Our new scan-and-pay feature, which allows for a single QR code to scan for loyalty and payment, is creating a more seamless experience for team members and guests and is driving improvements in restaurant throughput.”

Kobza said the addition of this feature contributed to the “7% year-over-year improvement” that the company saw in guest satisfaction during the quarter, as well as a 10% boost in drive-thru speed of service.

Additionally, health-focused fast-casual chain Sweetgreen followed up on its latest earnings call on its move to add in-store loyalty check-in QR codes in September, noting that this has helped drive adoption and is part of the company’s ongoing goal to expand the capabilities of the program.

“We have been very focused on enrollment in both [loyalty program] tiers, both the free tier and the paid tier, the membership tier,” CEO Jonathan Neman noted. “We just launched [the] ability to use Sweetpass in stores, … which is a very important and large channel for us. So, we are really starting to learn a lot more about what it can do.”

An increasing number of restaurants are turning their loyalty focus to on-premise channels, looking to apply consumers’ digital profiles from eCommerce channels to their in-store purchasing as well. In an interview with PYMNTS posted in October, Stacey Pool, chief marketing officer at fast-casual brand Noodles & Company, which has more than 450 locations, said this kind of digital recognition will become table stakes going forward.

“Not having that single source of record is going to make it really challenging for people to understand how to market more effectively to the guest,” Pool said.

Many consumers engage with restaurants’ loyalty programs. According to data from PYMNTS Intelligence’s March study, “Connected Dining: Consumers Like the Taste of Discount Meals,” 51% of consumers reported using a restaurant loyalty program. Additionally, the report noted that the adoption of quick-service restaurant (QSR) programs had grown 15% year over year.

Many consumers are also open to more digital-powered personalization in the restaurant ordering experience. Research cited in the PYMNTS report “Inflation Puts Technology on the Menu for Restaurants,” the June edition of the “B2B and Digital Payments Tracker®,” created in collaboration with American Express, revealed that 70% of consumers expressed interest in applying technological aids, such as AI voice assistants, personalized menus and smartphone apps, into the drive-thru process.