We’ve all seen them. The black-and-white squared splatters on flyers, posters, menus and advertisements. At some point, you heard that these odd boxes are called “QR codes,” and that scanning them with your smartphone leads to information about a product, a website or some other promising giveaway. But where did they come from? Are they worth your marketing dollar? Can they make your restaurant better? What Are QR Codes? Quick Response (QR) codes were created in 1994 by the Japanese auto industry. These updated barcodes were originally used to track vehicles during the manufacture and shipping process, and to allow high-speed component scanning. The rise of smartphones over the past decade has helped QR codes expand to areas like supermarket grocery labels, trade show materials, and even tombstones.