QR code usage has surged throughout the pandemic. According to a 2021 Ivanti Research Study, 83 percent of respondents stated that they used a QR code to make a payment or complete a financial transaction for the first time ever.
However, there are security concerns with this growing technology, which largely stem from customers sharing data that restaurants could then sell. In order to improve the customer experience, build trust, and protect customer data, restaurants must be diligent in their QR code implementation efforts.
Here are four ways to foster responsible QR code use and optimize your restaurant operations in the process.
1. Avoid Free QR Code Generators
A free, online QR code generator encodes information into a QR code. This information can vary from menus to external links for reservation bookings. While convenient, there are major risks associated with using a free QR code generator:
QR Code Phishing: In this case, phishers steal data from anyone who scans the QR code. How? The QR code may take you to a phishing website, where you are prompted to enter your personal information or login credentials for scammers to steal. In other cases, hackers can use QR codes to launch a customer’s payment apps or automatically subscribe them to malicious accounts.
QR Code Malware: This attack operates similarly to phishing by infecting any user’s mobile device with a virus that can then pull gigabytes worth of data from the device. In both cases, hackers rely on consumers’ inexperience with this quick-response technology.
Beyond cyberattacks, though, free QR code generators pose another threat to users: they can, and often do, sell your customer data to third parties.
Because of this, even routine sales transactions can lead to data leaks, compromising your customers’ digital security. Compounding this issue further, if the data leak is linked back to your use of a free code generator, it may erode trust in your brand.
2. Align QR Code Design with Your Larger Branding Efforts
The best way to signal to consumers that a QR code is legitimate is to ensure your QR code design integrates the colors and logos affiliated with your brand.
The way you display your QR codes is also important. Make sure your QR codes are secure and unable to be physically removed and replaced from your materials, like tent cards. On the digital side of things, customizing the link to include your establishment’s root domain also promotes brand awareness.
These consistent branding efforts promote safety. When consumers recognize your unique logo and root domain, this familiarity can discourage them from using a falsified QR code in the first place. This brand awareness makes it far more difficult for hackers to mount a successful invasion in the future.
3. Find Partners Who Can Comply with Your Security Standards
Security compliance helps prevent hackers from infiltrating your business’ account and accessing data. This is because the governing bodies that oversee these compliances are capable of inflicting penalties to providers who fail to meet their security standards.
Because of this, when you find a partner that meets compliances you do so with the understanding that they have set, and are obligated to maintain, a strong standard for customer data protection.
To this end, select a QR code platform that is compliant with security procedures and the laws where your company and its customers are located. For example:
If you have customers in California, you’ll need to ensure you and your partners are in compliance with the CCPA, which provides greater control to customers over their data.
If you have customers in the EU, you’ll need to find martech partners that can comply with the GDPR, which is overseen by the EU for any companies that target customers in the EU.
Wherever you’re located, it’s a good idea to find tech providers whose tools and services are aligned with your own tech stack and its security protocols. If you are SOC 2 certified, you’ll need to ensure that any tools you add to your kit can stand up to this standard’s audits procedures related to data security.
4. Work with Partners whose Data Storage Practices Work for You and Your Customers
It’s a good idea to avoid working with martech platforms that create data silos. This is because if you want to leave a partnership where data silos have been established and the need to reintegrate this data back into your warehouse arises, spending the resources to do this, can lead to…
An uneven customer experience in which returning customers are left feeling like your brand doesn’t value their repeat business.
Less effective marketing campaigns due to a deterioration in the quality of customer personas.
Future security breaches, stemming from the storing of data in multiple locations of varying standards for security compliance.
Unifying customer data in one warehouse enables you to easily track customer preferences and information, from birthdays to order frequency, in order to create a more personalized experience.
Safely Use QR Technology to Optimize Your Business and Your Customer Experience
You're responsible for ensuring your customers’ food and data are secure. This duty is especially relevant with newer technologies that can be exploited, like QR. Fortunately, you can fulfill this responsibility by choosing the most secure platform possible and branding QR campaigns consistently with the rest of your assets.
Managing customer data effectively can also drive revenue, as a well-implemented QR code platform can, for instance, provide support behind a robust customer rewards program or scale personalized service with the support of customer data and insights. This personalization will bolster your customers’ trust in your entire brand to help convert and retain loyal diners.