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Unlocking Success: How QR Codes Are Revolutionizing Marketing

Photo of QR Code to scan for online menu


Unlocking Success: How QR Codes Are Revolutionizing Marketing


With changing times, technology has become a crucial aspect of our lives. It has played a significant role in transforming several industries, including foodservice (in case you missed our show coverage, check out this blog post to read about iAssist). One such technological invention that has gained immense popularity in recent years is the QR code. QR codes or Quick Response codes are two-dimensional barcodes that store information, such as website links, menus, and contact details, which can be easily scanned by smartphones. In this blog post, we will share how you can use them to enhance your business.


Contactless Menu and Order Placement:

The pandemic has brought significant changes in the way people perceive dining out. People are more conscious about hygiene and safety protocols. QR codes enable contactless menu and order placement, thereby reducing the use of physical menus and reducing the risk of contamination. That being said, CNN reported that 88% of people still prefer hand held menus and it would be wise to offer printed menus and a QR Code. It’s important to keep in mind that your menu is your number one marketing tool, if you’re going to use a digital menu – ensure it offers the same experience as your regular menu.


Feedback and Review Collection:

Providing the best dining experience is crucial. QR codes can be utilized to collect customer feedback and reviews quickly. All you need to do is create a QR code that redirects customers to your feedback and review page, and customers can provide their feedback in a matter of seconds.


Loyalty Programs and Discounts:

It's a well-known fact that customers love rewards and discounts. QR codes provide a unique way to drive people to your programs, simply create a QR code that redirect customers to your loyalty program and discount pages where customers can quickly scan the codes and redeem the offers.


Person scanning QR Code on table with food on it


Marketing and Promotion:

The rise in mobile technology and smart devices like smartphones and tablets, QR codes offer a new opportunity for businesses to target their customers more effectively. Create QR codes to redirect customers to your social media handles, prompting them to follow your pages and keep them engaged with your brand.


There are many websites that produce QR Codes. Take a look at Adobe, which states it is free forever and no credit card is required.





Flanagan Foodservice at 9:50 AM
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Mother's Day is your Time to Shine

 Mother and daughter enjoying Mother's Day

Mother's Day is your Time to Shine


Top 5 Tips to make this Mother’s Day Unforgettable

Mother’s Day is one of the busiest days of the year for restaurants. This creates not only an opportunity to boost business on the day itself, but also for repeat business. You’ll serve guests who may not frequent your restaurant, but are looking for something special. If they have a positive experience, they are likely to come back.


Offer a special Mother's Day brunch menu

Mother's Day is the perfect time to show moms and other special mother figures in your life just how much they mean to you. Eggs Benedict, special waffles, pancakes, omelets, breakfast casseroles, smoked salmon toast…the possibilities are endless! Add some freshly squeezed juice and mimosas to give it extra flair.



Various brunch items for Mother's Day


Occupy children

Mother’s Day also means there will be lots of children, and it’s hard for moms to enjoy themselves if the kids aren’t happy. Keeping children entertained could mean providing the usual crayons and colouring pages or you could go the extra distance by providing a craft that the kids could make for mom. One possibility would be to decorate cookies (see codes below). Of course, be prepared for the potential messiness of the craft.






Decorate the restaurant with flowers and set up a special photo booth

Decorating a restaurant with mother-themed decorations can be a fun and creative way to show your appreciation. From vibrant flower arrangements that mimic the beauty of nature or stunning bouquets featuring various shades of pink, you'll find no shortage of unique decoration options to choose from. Additionally, using placards inscribed with inspiring quotes or messages will add a special touch to the atmosphere. Set up a special photo booth or area where mothers can take selfies and capture the moment with their families. The thoughtful gesture won’t soon be forgotten!


Give out discount cards for future visits to all mothers who dine with you

Offer mother’s a discount card to thank them for dining with you. Whether they come in as a group or bring their whole family, showing your appreciation with a discount card is an easy way to show them how much you appreciate their business. This strategy is particularly beneficial as Mother’s most often make the decision as to where to dine out for future visits, bringing them back to your establishment. Suggestions include 10% off when they dine again with you or even enjoy free items on their next visit.


Promote, promote, promote!

There are many ways to get the word out about your restaurant and special Mother’s Day promotions. Social media is the most obvious choice, in addition to the benefits of social (low cost, large reach) the post itself can be easily shared with family members. Also update your website with your special menu and any other pertinent information. Depending on your budget, don’t dismiss print advertisements and radio, as these more traditional forms of marketing are still effective.


With some forethought and planning, restaurants can capitalize on Mother’s Day. By offering special menus or kids’ activities while being fully prepared with sufficient staff for one of the busiest days of the year, restaurants can create a memorable occasion for families that will keep them coming back time and time again.



Flanagan Foodservice at 2:34 PM
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Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Style

Young people having fun celebrating St. Patrick's Day


Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Style

St. Patrick's Day is a time to celebrate Irish culture, heritage and traditions. Whether you’re Irish or not, it’s always fun to mark the occasion with some festive decorations and special menus for your restaurant. We have a variety of delicious ingredients and products that can help you create an unbeatable St. Patrick’s Day experience for your customers.


Irish Menu Specialties

Nothing says “St. Patrick’s Day” like classic Irish fare. Traditional dishes such as corned beef and cabbage, fish & chips, shepherd's pie, bangers & mash, and colcannon are all popular favorites that you can easily feature on your menu for the day (or even for an extended period leading up to March 17). Save time and labour by considering some easy menu additions, such as Campbell's Bistro Beef & Vegetable soup or Shepherd’s Pie.  Wow Factor Desserts has selected three cakes that will elevate your St. Patrick's Day sweet offerings, click here to view their recommendations.


Campbell's Foodservice Shepherd's Pie and Beef and Vegetable Soup


Here are a few suggestions to get you started on your St. Patrick’s Day planning. Your Territory Manager will be happy to help you strategize and find more products:


191532                VERVE BISTRO BEEF SOUP                                          4/1.81KG

119213                CAMPBELL’S PIE SHEPHERD'S                                     4/2.27KG

225120                EUROPEAN FRESH CORN BEEF                                  2/2.25KG

105539                HILINER HADDOCK FLT BTTD LAGER 4OZ                1/4.54KG

134382                HILINER HADDOCK LOIN CF IQF 4OZ                        1/4.54KG

134252                HILINER COD TENDER GUINNESS BTTD 2OZ           1/10LB

134254                HILINER COD GUINNESS BTTD 4OZ                           1/10LB

137327                HILINER SHRIMP GUINNESS BTTD 27-33 CT           1/10LB

193700                MCCAIN POTATO CHIPPERS 1853                             6/1.82KG

193012                CAVENDISH FRIES 3/8" S/C CLEAR COAT                6/2.04KG

222000                LEADBETTER LEAN GROUND BEEF                            2/2.27KG

282586                LARGE WHITE POTATOES                                             50/1LB


St. Patrick's Day decorations on a plate


Festive Decorations

St. Patrick's day decor doesn't have to be over-the-top - just a few simple touches can make all the difference! Hang green streamers and balloons from the ceiling and set out small pots of shamrocks on each table. You can also create a "Lucky Charm" wall full of pictures of four-leaf clovers, leprechauns, rainbows and other symbols of luck associated with Ireland, in addition to décor it can become a photo wall for your guests to snap pictures and share on social media.


Irish Drinks & Cocktails

Offer your customers classic Irish beverages such as Guinness beer or Baileys Irish Cream liqueur. Or get creative with classic cocktails like an Irish Mule or Shamrock Martini. Offering specialty drinks is sure to bring in more customers looking for something festive.


Marketing Your Event

Don't forget to let your customers know about all the exciting things you have planned for St Patrick's Day. Use social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to advertise your event and any special offers that you may be running during the celebration. Also consider creating flyers or email campaigns so that current customers know what's going on at your restaurant.


St Patrick's Day is a great opportunity for restaurants to showcase their businesses and draw in new customers. By taking advantage of traditional Irish dishes, festive decorations, and marketing campaigns – you can take full advantage of this annual holiday celebration. Sláinte mhaith (Cheers)!








Flanagan Foodservice at 11:25 AM
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Woo Diners with Interactive Games

Game time with playing pieces, dice and more


Woo Diners with Interactive Games

Looking for a fun way to woo guests back inside for dining? How about adding some game time to your menu? Increasingly, guests are bringing their “game face” to restaurants where they are expecting entertainment that goes beyond food and drink. 

Kids’ games – such as paper placemats and crayons for colouring – have been around for years as a way to entertain the younger generation and keep them occupied while waiting for their meals. But what about the adults? How do you keep them engaged, ordering, and off their smartphones?


Many family restaurants, bars and sports-themed eateries already include active play on their menu, like such popular options as dart boards, billiards tables, trivia games, foosball tables, and more. 


Games keep your guests engaged and may encourage them to linger longer – with more opportunities to upsell and increase check size. They also brand your restaurant as a fun venue and the place to be, plus games can help build a bond between staff and guests.


Raise your table stakes

One restaurant offers a gaming option with a twist. Graffiti Market in Kitchener, Ont., a combination restaurant, microbrewery, market, coffee roaster and bakery, features highly interactive game play right at diners’ tables.


Ryan Lloyd-Craig, co-owner of the Ignite Restaurant Group, of which Graffiti Market is a part, wasn’t even thinking of games when he saw his first interactive smart table. “The idea didn’t come to me overnight. I was walking the technology section of the Restaurants Canada show and came across a gentleman standing on what looked like a giant iPad until I got closer and found that it was an interactive table made by Kodisoft (a tech company based in Ukraine).”


Lloyd-Craig’s original thought was not even about games but mainly about using the tables as a way for guests to order interactively, have food runners bring the items to the tables, and then have the tables function as a complete POS system. Other countries were already using the Kodisoft system successfully, but no one in Canada had tapped into combining business with pleasure right at the table.


The games people play


Lloyd-Craig’s interest in the tables quickly evolved into something different from an ordering and POS solution. “The benefit of these tables is that you can visually see every item on the menu so it makes it easier to order, but their main appeal is keeping people engaged and entertaining them while waiting for their food. People are putting down their cellphones and actually talking to each other. That’s kind of neat.”


The tables offer a variety of gaming options. He started with a simple colouring application, then a doodling app after the first month, before adding puzzles for all age groups (from a basic jigsaw puzzle for kids), air hockey, Chinese checkers, and most recently, chess, all of which can be turned on or off depending on how busy the restaurant is.


The tables can also support advertising, both internal and external (for instance from sports businesses running commercials and interacting with guests), though so far Lloyd-Craig hasn’t tapped that potential.


Interestingly, far from encouraging guests to linger, guests using these interactive restaurant tables want to clear the menus and food off faster to get back to their games. Lloyd-Craig’s initial goal, in fact, was not to get diners to stay longer, but to realize labour savings from integrating ordering with serving and paying for a total POS solution – “any way you can save two or three per cent off the bottom line,” as he puts it. The restaurant hasn’t been open long enough for him to see these savings yet, but he has experienced a steady increase in sales since he brought in the game tables – and that means he’s already ahead of the game.


Not all games have to cost the earth for you to add. Take trivia. This option’s been around since Trivial Pursuit took off decades ago and has become a bar and casual restaurant staple. Trivia is a particular hit with Millennials looking for interactive experiences and can liven up slower winter months in any family-style restaurant. Companies like QuizRunners and Quizzholics design, create and can run your trivia games professionally. Who knows? Your eatery could become a stop on a trivia circuit.


Tabletop inspiration


  • Visual menus encourage ordering, and ordering more – especially highly visual desserts.
  • Restaurants can market and advertise their promotions and potentially attract outside advertisers.
  • Table games encourage guests to put down their smartphones and focus on the dining experience. 


Top tips to add games in your restaurant


  • Develop a games budget. You can start with something as simple as setting up game nights and bringing in board games from home. But the sky’s the limit on what you could spend to add a games component. Each of Ryan Lloyd-Craig’s 23 smart tables (Graffiti also has 25 “dumb” tables) costs $15,000 US, not including maintenance.
  • Create a brand theme and strategy. What will set you apart? A sports bar, for instance, might naturally gravitate to sports-themed games, while a family-friendly eatery would pair well with trivia nights.
  • Know your demographics. Kid-friendly restaurants are perfect venues for everything from fun “play” menus to dedicated kids’ games areas, while adult-oriented restaurants might be better venues for trivia nights, darts, even bingo.
  • Be clear on your goals. Are games a way to encourage your guests to linger longer, an opportunity to entertain young diners, a chance to bring in business during slow periods, a way to attract new guests, or an opportunity for guests to put their devices down and enjoy some family time?
  • Check your real estate. If you decide to bring in game tables, dart boards, foosball tables, do you have the space for these plus your dining tables? Don’t bring in games at the expense of your regular eating areas. After all, it’s still mainly about the food!





Written by Jane Auster






Flanagan Foodservice at 10:16 AM
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TikTok 101 for Restaurants

Tik Tok for Restaurants


Just when you thought you were getting the hang of social media and content marketing, along comes another digital platform to shake things up!


Although it may seem relatively new, TikTok began in 2016, and since then has become the fastest growing social media platform, with more than 1 billion people worldwide and an average of  3.2 million Canadians, engaging in the video platform monthly. That’s a BIG consumer audience that you can be tapping into, and similar to Instagram, food, drinks and recipe creation continue to be top trending topics. 


Currently on TikTok there are more users generating restaurant content with a rise in hospitality brands beginning to utilize the platform. Let’s dive into 101 on how restaurants can utilize TikTok’s video sharing platform to generate buzz and reach more guests.



Who’s your TikTok audience?

Since launching, the platform has continued to attract a younger audience with more than 50% of global users being under the age of 34, 41% of them aged 16-24, and in Canada 60% of users are female. Even if this core audience doesn’t represent your average customers, it is still worth having them connect with your restaurant brand for future business, and keep in mind, the other 50% are 35 and over. These audience profiles are critical to developing effective TikTok content and messaging.  



TikTok Basics

TikTok videos can range between 5 and 60 seconds in length. One of the most exciting benefits for restaurant brands is that unlike other social platforms that are driven by highly professional and polished content, TikTok is popular for videos that are fun, creative, authentic, personalized, and humorous. As you get started, forgo hiring a professional videographer until you understand if this platform is right for your brand. However, invest in a phone camera adjustable tripod that allows you to set up shots from many angles, and provides some additional lighting. Prices range from $30-$200, and tripods can easily be sourced through


TIP: Natural lighting always produces the best video and photography results. If your restaurant space is darker, then it’s worth the $100 to invest in softbox lighting and reflectors to achieve the best shot. This type of portable equipment is available at photography stores as well as



3 Steps to follow before you create your first TikTok post:

  1. Set Up a TikTok Business Account, versus a personal account, as it provides you with performance analytics that will be useful for future advertising campaigns.
  2. Use a well-branded image or logo (recommended size 200 x 200), as your profile picture, include a brief description including a custom hashtag unique to your brand, and links to either your website or takeout platform. Link your TikTok account to Instagram for automatic sharing. 
  3. Follow similar businesses to yours within your industry, and follow their followers. Then monitor the types of video content that your competitors are sharing, and make note of what is achieving engagement, likes, and comments. 


Explore your creative side

TikTok’s unique in-app content creation features have set the platform apart, as the creative opportunities are endless yet they do take some time to master. 


  • Music – TikTok will suggest music for your post from popular songs, trending songs, and your video length. Music selection can lead to viral content, so choose wisely.
  • Filters/Effects – you can easily add in creative effects and filters to make your video stand out in the feed. Create or select a unique element for your brand that is consistent across all of your videos. 
  • Timing and Voiceover – within the app you can edit your video, add in text, pauses and sounds at key moments, as well as voiceovers to help share your message further. Incorporating popular voiceovers is a fun and easy way to achieve more engagement.  


TikTok content ideas for your restaurant

Start creating simple and fun video content that showcases what your brand does best.

  • Your team – create fun short videos of your team in action from front to back of the house. Record personalized messages from team members who feel comfortable speaking on camera about why they enjoy working at your business, and what they enjoy on the menu.
  • Space – engage new guests with a tour of your restaurant space so they know what to expect from the moment they step through your front doors. 
  • Menu – your menu is one of your differentiating brand experiences so leading with this content will be effective in establishing for new followers what your offering is all about. Share your unique dishes, seasonal changes, ingredients and where they come from, as well as daily specials. 
  • How to make – TikTokers love tutorials that can be replicated at home, turned into challenges, or just for brand insight. Create videos of your team preparing signature dishes, cocktails, and unique menu items with a wow factor that generates shares.


Post and grow your restaurants TikTok account

Here are additional tips to effective posting, and growing your TikTok reach:

  • Keep your post descriptions short and to the point, as you only have 150 characters to work with.
  • Use hashtags relevant to your content and trending, while repeating a hashtag that is unique to your brand for content searchability.
  • Encourage guests to follow you – send DMs on Instagram, post a QR code in your restaurant, add the TikTok icon and link to your website, and send an e-newsletter to increase your followers.
  • Encourage diners to create and share content about your restaurant, then comment and share their video content for increased engagement.
  • Post weekly, with a goal of sharing daily as you become a TikTok pro. 

Stay tuned for TikTok 102 for restaurants, to learn how to leverage influencer campaigns and advertising best practices.


Written by Kate Engineer







Flanagan Foodservice at 9:01 AM
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