Saturday, January 15, 2011

Food Ink

The image above is known as a QR (Quick Response) code. It was originally designed by Toyota as a sort of bar code to quickly relay the location and inventory of automobile parts. If you scan it with your smart phone it will immediately take you to a site that provides further detailed information on whatever you are reading or looking at. Last weekend I was working with Chef José Duarte of Taranta and he asked me what I knew about QR codes. I said not much but we should find out more about them. As a result, we have begun to play with these codes and dream up innovative, exciting and maybe even crazy ideas on how to use them in restaurants. Later today we will be at the Fairmont Copley Plaza where José is going to try and embed a QR code on a plate using squid ink. It's an experiment. The vision is to use the code to tell the diner exactly where the food they are consuming was sourced, and when. It may even introduce you to the fisherman who caught that seafood on the plate.

Welcome to Food Ink.


  1. I work in social media marketing by day and we've been watching QR codes carefully to see how people are using them. The difficulty is that most people don't have QR readers on their smartphones, even if they have smart phones. The best idea for restaurants that I've seen so far is creating coupons by combining them with an email program like MailChimp, which can generate a unique QR code for each person on your list. Then have customers print their email and bring it in to be scanned. This way, only the people at the restaurant need readers.

    But then, squid ink never occurred to me....

  2. Seth -
    It is way ahead of the curve but eventually everyone will have smart phones and scanners. We just like telling stories about people who are doing something totally new and this is a really cool idea. Stay tuned for the full post this week.