August 24th, 2011 | by RUTH BROWN Food & Drink |

Steak Frites and Smartphones

Brasserie's bizzarre "Willy Wonka-esque" promo

wonkaThe danger must be growing / Are the fires of Hell a-glowing? / Is the grisly reaper mowing?

Today in bizarre publicity stunts: We realize the economy is in the shitter and Portland's restaurant industry is a little over-stuffed, but this attempt from downtown French bistro Brasserie Montmartre to bring in more customers on slow Tuesday nights seems a...curious choice for a classy joint flogging $22 steak frites. Cue the press release:

Brasserie Montmartre is launching "Folie du Mardi" in September, a new Willy Wonka-esque promotion challenging diners with a little treasure hunt. Only instead of tearing through chocolate bars, guests will be waving their smart phones to find their golden ticket.

Each Tuesday from 2:00 p.m. to close, the Brasserie will hide stickers with small pictorial bar codes called QR (quick read) codes on menus, fry cones, cocktail napkins, or any place inside the restaurant. Any smart phone installed with a free QR code reader app can scan the code and instantly log on to a web page notifying the guest if they have won. Some nights, diners might win two twenty-five dollar gift cards, and on others, a free dinner, or even a $100 gift card.


Wait this Willy Wonka?

When Ben Waterhouse suggested last month that Brasserie was boring and needed to be more ambitious, I don't think this is what he had in mind.

 
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