Chili’s Utilizes QR Codes as a Cause-Marketing Tool


Chili’s Grill & Bar hosted it’s eigth annual Create-A-Pepper to Fight Childhood Cancer campaign, using QR codes for the first time. The fundraising efforts resulted in over 291,000 QR code scans that were featured on table tents and children’s coloring sheets that were designed specifically for the program.

The campaign raised over $5 million to help children receiving care from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  Chili’s spokeswoman Julie Flowers had this to say:

”By incorporating the QR codes into this charitable campaign, it was a great way to relate to Chili’s tech-savvy guests while giving St. Jude supporters another, easily accessible way to donate to the charity. As the latest trend in mobile technology, QR codes gave Chili’s a unique way to say thank you while encouraging guests to donate to the Create-A-Pepper to Fight Childhood Cancer campaign.”

Chili’s ran the Create-A-Pepper campaign during National Childhood Cancer Awareness month in September. The multifaceted campaign used QR codes this year to increase donations while raising awareness of the campaign. The marketing materials placed on tables and around the restaurant contained the QR codes, and displayed a thank you from a St. Jude patient to those supporting the campaign. The codes linked directly to the campaign’s Web site as an easy way for guests to donate via their smartphones, and served as an extra resource that helped people get involved and donate to St. Jude.

The marketing effort also included other interactive features, such as email messages being sent to opted in customers, which included a unique trackable link that could be forwarded to friends. Participants were then rewarded with appetizers or desserts as more people donated through their unique link.

While Chili’s has previously used QR codes to encourage guests to opt-in for special email offers and updates, this is the first time they have used QR codes for cause-marketing purposes. The campaign resulted in 235,000 visits to the Web donation site during September.

“With the ever-growing presence of technology in our guests’ daily lives, Chili’s utilized this up-and-coming trend as a unique way to reach our supporters of St. Jude,” Ms. Flowers said. “With more than 290,000 QR codes scanned throughout the campaign, this medium proved to be an effective and tech-savvy way of encouraging guests to donate.”