Executive Chef Lance Cook, WCMC, CEC, is using the quick-response technology to enhance communications with members and staff.
When my curiosity spikes about something (especially with technology), I dive in to figure it out so I can better understand. I explore how I can utilize it in my operation or personal life. I research as much as I can about the specifics to find the best avenue for optimum results. I inquire with colleagues to see what their experience is and if they have any guidance.
My most recent venture was with QR Codes. QR stands for “Quick Response” and is a code that is readable by mobile devices. QR codes can point to website URLs, plain text, phone numbers, email addresses and pretty much any other alphanumeric data. But, how does someone like me generate them? How are they managed? Can you change the look of them even after you send them out to 800 members? What is the difference between dynamic vs. static? Can I personalize them? Where does the linked information “live?” Is there a limit on scans? Can I set a limit? Are the “hits” trackable?
So many questions…
I have seen restaurants put framed QR Codes at their entrance or on cards so diners can scan the code to view a touch free menu. Clubs are putting them on to-go meals for holidays so when the member scans it, it takes them to a video of the entire staff wishing them a happy holiday. I’ve seen them more and more on business cards for ease of access to websites and information, WiFi logins, etc. There are so many possibilities.
This one is linked to my website—another curious endeavor I ventured into many years ago. I didn’t know much about websites, so I decided to jump in and create one. Using templates from www.homestead.com (< previously an “Intuit” website builder company) it was (and continues to be) very user friendly. The look of my website has changed many times over the years, but it has become a great tool for marketability, branding, resume access, picture portfolio, used in conjunction with job interviews, and gives access to media outlets to contact me. It’s always evolving with updated information and the layout is ever changing. Feel free to scan the code and check it out.
As for the QR Codes, this is what I have learned:
Anyone can generate QR Codes for free or for a nominal fee. There are a ton of websites out there that have the capability. I use www.QRStuff.com. This website allows me to make unlimited QR codes for free without signing up, BUT limits each code to 50 scans per month (for the free access). If you don’t want to deal with the headache of hitting your limit (of 50 scans/month) you can sign up for a subscription at $7.50/month fee (paid annually = $90/year). The subscription allows you to generate unlimited numbers of codes with unlimited scans and gives you other benefits (analytics, design capabilities, non-expiring codes, etc).
But what happens if you generate multiple codes and you are not in the back office of the website (where everything is labeled), and you don’t know which one goes to what? Solution: embed a picture in the center of the code to identify what it goes to. It helps keep your codes organized when you (or anyone else) can’t see the labels from behind the scenes.
This one is linked to my YouTube channel (Chef Lance Cook) which I started in order to do “Cook at Home Meals with Chef Cook” – a concept that was implemented at my club earlier in August. Members can pick-up a meal kit that we produce. The meal concept changes every Monday, they can order prior to 1:00pm for pickup same day between 2:00pm and 5:00pm (when grocery order pickup is as well). In the kit is the printed directions with the QR Code at the top that takes them to my YouTube channel (of a video that I prepare a couple days earlier) of me making the same dish with a teaching guide, technical information and much more. It is very similar to a live cooking demonstration. The response and participation has been incredible. From members enjoying the concept, to trying a new product, to cooking something they have never cooked before, and always learning a new technique along the way, like quick curing fish and why you would do so.
What is the difference between dynamic and static QR?
From QRStuff.com: A dynamic QR code is a type of QR code that is editable, as opposed to a static QR code which is not editable. Dynamic QR codes also allow for additional features like scan analytics, password protection, device-based redirection, and access management. Dynamic QR codes also result in a less dense QR code image that is more reliable to scan. This code, for example, I was able to change the look even after I had sent it out in some “Cook at Home” meal kits earlier in the day.
Play around with the codes using different colors: one for savory, another for sweet, events, etc. The pastry chef here at Hammock Dunes Club, Jim Guzzaldo, has a column in the newsletter that we produce monthly. His column this month was 2 pages in length. So, we did a teaser, then the QR Code that takes the member to the full article about the pastry technique. This technique is about “Cutting Butter into Flour” and explains the process, the science behind it, and includes a recipe for Cranberry-Orange Scones that the member can make. We made the colors themed in conjunction with our logo.