Outback uses QR Code

Outback Steak House had a coupon in Sunday's newspaper which featured a QR Code. The coupon offered $5 off the purchase of two entrees, the QR Code offered nothing.

Of the eight different 2D barcode reader apps that I have on my mobile device, not one was able to detect and scan the code. The apps/phone had a difficult time focusing on the code and I suspect this was because the QR Code was less than a half-inch square. Best practice would have the code printed no less that one inch square.

What lessons can be learned? First, stick to 2D best practices. Second, stick to best practices. Besides printing the code at the optimal/minimal size, advertisers must, repeat must, test codes prior to campaign launch.

What's the outcome? Not only does Outback do a good job ticking off consumers that are new to 2D scanning and/or new to the company's restaurants, they also tick off experienced 2D users with a code that cannot be scanned. The opportunity to make a great impression/interactive experience falls by the wayside and, in this situation, both the company and prospective customers loose.

2D Barcode Litmus Test: FAIL


  1. I suspect the code doesn't scan because 1.)there is no white zone around it 2.) it is less than 1"x1". Regardless, as a consumer I felt frustrated that I couldn't open it as well as disappointed. I also was upset because I took the time to scan the code but Outback did not take the time to do some Quality Control.

  2. Looks like they didn't bother to supply any URL to access directly either? Lots of Fail going on there.