The Value of QR Codes for Coffee Businesses

A coffee bag with a QR code on it.QR Codes have become a valuable staple in the modern tech world. What used to be stored behind a URL or on a flash drive can now be hosted online, enabling growth in the accessibility and sharing of information. Even further, the information and content held within QR codes can be wielded by coffee businesses in all sectors to increase business value, fuel growth, and keep records of important information for a variety of uses.

What is a QR Code?

Originally invented in 1994, the Quick Response code (QR Code) was designed by the Japanese company Denso Wave as a solution for labeling automotive parts. While barcodes were typical at the time, QR codes are able to hold more information and more complex content, including numeric, alphanumeric, byte/binary, and even Japanese kanji.

The immense data storage power, accessibility, readability, and wide value of QR codes have been quickly recognized for their usefulness in multiple industries far outside of the automotive industry. Today, QR codes are used for a variety of commercial and accessibility reasons; In fact, in the wake of COVID-19, many people notice that QR codes have been increasing in usage since the beginning of the pandemic.

With a reputation as such a ubiquitous tool, how can the QR code be adapted to the coffee industry?

For Roasting Companies

Roasting companies can find great value in QR codes for a variety of reasons, the primary one being traceability. As supply chains extend and more consumers become knowledgeable and careful of the coffee they drink, QR codes can be used to hold information and content relating to the specific bag of coffee a consumer purchases. Roasts, origins, processing style, and even more information can be held on a QR code for a consumer to access, garnering trust and transparency between the roasting company and their customer. Even further, QR codes can be used during shipping and transport as a way to track orders and shipments, allowing roasteries to closely monitor their product on their way to cafes, households, and offices.

More than just logistical information, QR codes can also be incredibly valuable as a marketing tool. QR codes can be placed in the storefronts of cafes that license a roaster’s coffee, increasing traffic to the roaster’s storefront and e-shop. Even further, QR codes can be used alongside other marketing schemes to point viewers to a central website, e-store, or merchandise platform, allowing for quick and simple access to as many potential customers as possible.

Roasting companies could even use QR codes as an avenue for customer feedback, enabling customers to contact roasteries with questions, concerns, or other comments. At its core, QR codes increase the amount of communication possible between a coffee roastery and the people drinking their coffee, creating more transparency in the production process and more trust in the roasting business.

For Cafes and Storefronts A coffee cup with a QR code printed on it.

Cafes and storefronts may not have the same business model as a roastery, but the value of QR codes is not lost on them. Traceability can still be beneficial for a public-facing cafe to maintain — people want to know where their coffee comes from, after all! The information and content on a QR code can give customers peace of mind that their coffee is well made and safe, as well as a way to learn more about their favorite roasts.

For smaller businesses, though, the value of a QR code comes in the form of saving money. As was common during the move away from shared public services, QR codes can take the place of paper menus and checks to eliminate shared surfaces and cross-contamination. This also brings the shared benefit of having to print fewer paper goods to maintain the business, as all of the information is stored on publicly accessible websites or digital files. Small businesses can maintain their bottom line by relying on digital menus while also showing that they care about the health of their patrons.

QR codes can also be beneficial as an online ordering portal or point-of-sale platform, which can be particularly useful for mobile cafes or small-team businesses. Rather than having a cash till (and the many fees that come with maintaining a cash account), digital platforms linked through QR codes can provide a central place for all transactions, as well as many financial tools that come with QR-code-supporting commerce platforms. 

A Commercial Solution for Coffee Businesses

QR codes are a deeply versatile solution for all parts of the coffee production pipeline. From tracking farming schedules to roasting information and even providing point-of-sale functions for brick-and-mortar cafes, QR codes are an incredible tool that can bring many growth options for a business when integrated properly. Upgrade your business commerce and improve accessibility for customers by combining QR code usage into your coffee platforms!