How to use a QR code menu and Local SEO to Grow Your Restaurant Business

Qr code digital payment at coffee shop


A definitive guide on how to get your customers to spend more during each visit and come back more often with a simple QR code menu and Local SEO by David Esau. 

Customers use a QR code in a coffee shop to pay and order online. Close up of woman hand holding smartphone and scanning QR code for cashless payment at the cafeteria. Girl framing QR code in a coffee shop to make a purchase, small business accepts digital payment.

Table of contents (Your Local SEO Guide to QR Success)

    1. What is a QR code and why does your restaurant need it?
    2. How do I make a QR code for my restaurant menu?
    3. Why you should continue to use a QR code menu even after “normal” dining resumes post-pandemic.
    4. What is the best way to use a QR code to increase customer loyalty and average order value?
    5. How to set up your restaurant’s website and a QR code menu link for future retargeting success to promote your business and increase lifetime customer value (LCV).
    6. As a business owner, how do I get more foot traffic in the door?
      1. Short answer: Local SEO and Business Directories

What is a QR code and why does your restaurant need it? 

A QR code is a scannable image from any smartphone device by simply using the photo app to “scan” the QR image. Once you scan it, the photo app instantly suggests visiting the website link with a click of a button. For
restaurateurs, this makes looking at your “no-touch” menu (a menu hosted online that consumers visit from their smart devices) so much quicker than typing in the entire web address.

Since the pandemic, restaurants have been forced to use QR codes to link to their menus, and consumers, even the older demographic, are now comfortable using their phones to view the menu.

In order to capitalize on this unique opportunity, you must set up the QR code infinite marketing loop.

What is the QR code infinite marketing loop? 

  • Set up your QR code to link to your actual website (not an AWS-hosted menu PDF).
  • Type out the menu entirely and host it on your site. The QR code can still link directly to the menu but it needs to be on your website to be able to retarget visitors.
    • This tactic will help your site show up higher in the search results from the additional content related to SEO.
    • Search engines crawl your website and look for words/keywords, etc. and a PDF menu does not allow the bots to scan the words.
    • Google Analytics will show new vs. repeat visitors to your site.
  • You now have a better chance of collecting email addresses with a discount pop-banner or have the servers ask to fill out a 3-question feedback form on your site.
  • This is GOLD for restauranteurs: You now have the ability to RETARGET YOUR WEBSITE VISITORS on Facebook, Google, etc.

How do I make a QR code for my restaurant menu? 

Making a QR code is very simple, but before you print out the menus, verify the link works properly and goes to the correct menu page. There are many QR code-generating websites such as

Why you should continue to use a QR code menu even after “normal” dining resumes post-pandemic. 

As mentioned in the QR code infinite marketing loop, you now have the opportunity to retarget your customers. Because a QR code is used to view your menu and the customer visited your website, a cookie is generated for that
specific user. In normal circumstances prior to the pandemic, customers view a regular handheld menu and would have never visited your website. QR codes are the most valuable shift to happen for restaurants. It gives you the
ability to boost customer loyalty by retargeting and leveraging smartphones.

What is the best way to use a QR code to increase customer loyalty and average order value?

Times have changed and QR codes are becoming the norm sitting there on restaurant tables just waiting for you and your photo app to grab the link. Having a nice plastic stand with the QR code printed and readable instructions
will help your customers start ordering right away. Imagine yourself coming to the restaurant or bar for the first time and seeing this on the table. To make it easy for your guests, write out the directions in a simple
step-by-step format so even your grandparents could figure it out and start ordering.

Just a few weeks ago, my friends and I were hanging out at Hapa’s Brewery in Los Gatos, CA,

and noticed a huge line waiting to order beers. There were only one amazing bartender and 30 thirsty people patiently waiting. This place is awesome but my girlfriend hates waiting in line and all she wanted was a Rosé refill.
Based on my calculation, she had at least 1-2 fewer Rosés than she would have if she could have ordered on the phone with a QR code and avoided the line. Luckily, my friends at the table are close with the owners and we
recommended adding QR code capabilities to increase sales. I actually sent him a picture of the line (and explained how he was losing sales) and not 1 week later, QR codes were added and the check averages and sales are already starting to increase.

David and Whitney at Hapa’s Brewery in Los Gatos, CA. One of the coolest places in Los Gatos to hang out drinking great beers with friends.

How to set up your restaurant’s website and a QR code menu link for future retargeting success to promote your business and increase lifetime customer value (LCV). 

In order to maximize the value of someone clicking on your QR code and landing on your website, you need to avoid using a hosted menu and send your customers to your actual website. Why? Because once they visit your website, the
Facebook pixel (if already installed) will fire and you can then retarget your site visitors on Facebook and even Google Ads. Even with the recent cookie changes, there is still time to build a solid audience. 2 years ago you
probably had very few visitors to your website and now every single person that sits down with a mobile device is an opportunity to show ads at a later date. Retargeting people helps remind them you exist.

Steps to follow to set up a QR code menu: 

  1. Set up a web page specifically for your menu and type it out. Not only will this help you capture your audience, but it will also help your search engine optimization (SEO) ranking to show higher in local search
  2. Use a QR code generator, add the link to the menu, and download the file to print codes for your signs.
  3. Make sure you have a Facebook pixel installed on your website and set up a business manager account.
  4. Create retargeting ads and also target a lookalike audience (people that are similar to your customers and could also enjoy your restaurant)
  5. If any of this sounds like a headache or you simply do not have the time to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime QR phenomenon, please reach out directly to or visit the
    contact page and submit your contact details.

As a restaurant and local business owner, how do I get more foot traffic in the door? 

Local SEO

is probably the most effective way for your business to be found online. An example of a listing service would be Google My Business. Consumers literally go to Google for everything. When hungry people type in “restaurants near
me,” I bet any owner would like to show up 1st in the search results.

If you don’t have one, please read this blog and sign up immediately. Literally, stop everything and sign up now.

One of the benefits of Google My Business, besides the increased online visibility and customer reviews, is being able to
track how many people clicked the call button, visited your website, or clicked on the DIRECTIONS link

from your listing. Any restaurant owner should value the directions and click over anything else. There is a very high chance that this person actually came in and purchased something. If you provided great food and service, this
person will now become a return customer. This is the most effective way to grow the lifetime value of every customer.


LOCAL SEO is a great way to drive new business by focusing on directory listings and “near me” phrases.

Google My Business, Apple Maps, Bing Places, and Yelp

are just a few of the online directories your company must be present on but there are many more. Business listings are a great way to help drive additional traffic and improve organic search rankings. There are about 89
business directories are required to maximize SEO performance. The business information such as name, address, phone number, website, etc. MUST match perfectly. Otherwise, the search engines will lower the SEO score causing you to
show up less often in consumer searches.

In order to maximize the benefits of Local SEO, start by working with an experienced professional such as Click Track Marketing to manage your listings and help drive new customers to your business. We guarantee to bring new customers in the door every month.

Contact us today to properly set up your listings and start “driving” new customers to you.

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About the Author

David Esau

Experienced Digital Marketer from San Diego | Author of Raising the Digital Bar | Drummer | Ex-Googler | Local SEO | Technical SEO | Paid Advertising on Google | Hospitality Growth Specialist | Google Ads Certified | Google Analytics Certified | Order the Small Business Marketing Book, Raising the Digital Bar | Connect On LinkedIn | Follow On Twitter | View On YouTube