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QR codes in the catering industry are not new, however some still need attention.

It's not often that I have the opportunity to go and eat out in a restaurant and recently I was mildly surprised to find a coaster on the table with a QR code. Having to wait to be served it's always nice to have something to keep you busy in moments when conversation at the table is in a dull.

Coaster QR Code

Great a game! 'Who will be the sucker to get the next round of drinks!'


QR Code Scan Result

Hang on...what's wrong here? Tap...double tap (to try and scale the site into the view window), no response. Okay so no good view of what is going on and the loss of the WOW factor, which turns into confusion and dissapointment. Decided to rejoin the conversation at the table and left it at that. But did take the coaster along for some research.

The site looks great on my Windows computer at home:

Computer view

But it was not at the restaurant and it does not scan QR codes, nor can it run iPone or Android apps.

This was done by a well known international 'branding' consortuim and I cannot figure out how and why they missed the mark, unless they all use the latest iPhone and expect the rest of the world to be the same. Truth be told HTML5 is used and that is worth at least ten plus points, however using HTML5 settings to block user interaction with presentation beats me.

Why did this QR code promotion for a bar game not work (for me).

1. That code is small and little 'quite space' took a heafty 30 seconds of zooming and focusing before it kicked in,

2. What I got to see on the screen was not what I expected and not the complete picture,

3. could not remedy it by user action (zooming and scalling had been explicitly forbidden!).

4. mixture of languages on the site (I know my language skills suck but it should be only one).

5. Do I really need to download another app!? Why immediately start the game  (via HTML5, It got to your site = I have Internet) and offer to have it anywhere anytime via an app download.

As far as I am concerned this mobile marketing campaign is a step in the good direction to engage, entertain, bind and brand to and with customers. The actual experience on the client side (IMHO) still leaves a lot to be desired. There's a lot of 'Droid' out there and I'm sure the install base for this will not be optimal.

If there are other catering companies thinking about using QR codes on coaters in the Netherlands to entertain, bind to, or just for  branding or promotion, contact Frans Hendricx - Infovijltje of Omnisense. He can get you on the right track and keep you there.


Posted by: Jeroen Steeman
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Categories: Mobile Marketing | QR Code Marketing | QR Code Use
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QR code generator software

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Applications for smartphones

Require knowledge of the device as well as the ability to (preferably) develop applications in their native programming language.  Considering the technology market for mobile devices is still very young and expanding at an enormous rate, who knows what the market and types of devices. operating systems and programming languages will look like in a year from now.

At present iPhone, Android driven devices as well as RIM (Blackberry) seem to rule the smartphone market and I have yet to (unfortunately) see a Microsoft mobile device connect to any of the QR4 services. What is apparent is that iPads and tablets are moving into the same space at a very fast rate.

All of this can put a lot of burden on companies wanting to service these mobile and portable devices. But is developing, re-developing or porting them for all the current and future devices the answer to a perfect world?. I can argue in certain cases that it is a yes, but for many it is a BIG NO.

QR4 Arcade

Alternative application development

There is an alternative to native device application development and it is available on all main stream computers, tablets and smartphone devices today and others will hopefully update in the future. It is HTML5, and before you say 'oh no not another mobile unfriendly web site', you should really consider the advantages and disadvantages of developing with a device independent environment in mind.


  • Operating system independent (Compatible with all manufacturers)
  • Device independent (Make/Model/Revision)
  • Central version control (No updates/upgrades and legacy support issues)
  • Tracking and statistics in a transparent way (Including exclusion control)


  • Reliant on the ability to have Internet access

Are mobile device apps dead?

No, but many have stiff completion coming to compete with in justifying the costs of developing and the maintenance of a mobile app for all platforms, currently and in the future!

HTML5 Mobile App Example!

HTML5 Arcade Game QR code

Click on the image above if you're using a computer or tablet to link to the game. Then use the arrow keys and the 'zxc' = 'abc'

HTML5 (also became known as the potential replacement for 'flash') can do so much more than any HTML standard before. Without going into details for now, a simple example of what cross-platform, cross-browser HTML5 can do.

An arcade game known by many, presented as an Internet link that looks, behaves and feels like an application. If your smartphone's standard browser is HTML5 compatible, you will have a rich 'App' like experience. If you browser is not HTML5 compatible, I suggest downloading and installing alternative browsers as offered in the app store or update you device. As expected...for iPhone and iPad users, it just works.

iPhone HTML5 App Android HTML5 App
 HTML5 Arcade game iPhone HTML5 Arcade game Android 

Before you get the idea we game developers, let's put that thought to rest. Most of what you see has been developed by others, we use it merely to show how the HTML5 standard can be used to provide services never thought possible via HTML.

Dale Harvey is the mastermind behind the pacman code which he has kindly made available at github. On top of this the Game Core libraries of Kesiev Norimaki as provided here are used in making this all possible.

Next time you are considering making a 'mobile app' consider that there are alternatives that could save you development time and costs. As more and more browsers implement the HTML5 standard, this will become the alternative for developing rich applications and services for smart devices and computers alike.

TIP: If all you get is a black screen. It means your browser is not HTML5 compliant. Update your browser or visit your app store to see what browsers are available for your device.


Posted by: jeroen Steeman
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QR code generator software

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