QR code printing – where should I print QR codes for my pub or restaurant?

QR code printing – where should I print QR codes for my pub or restaurant?
July 2, 2020 Adam Stead
In Hospitality, Table Ordering

Once you’ve set up your QR code menu you’ll be ready to print QR codes. Some key considerations are costs, durability, and how they’ll fit into your venue’s ambience. This article explains where and how are the best ways to print QR codes.

How do I generate a QR code for print?

In the StoreKit Order & Pay, you can download QR codes in Store Settings > Order and Pay. 

To set up QR codes with preselected tables in, head to your store settings in the dashboard view, navigate to the Order & Pay page, and add your seating areas and name them (eg. table 1, booth 1). From here, you can generate a bulk QR code or individual QR codes for your different seating areas.

If you’re looking to take advantage of StoreKit’s table-specific QR code capability, note that some printers (for example, this sticker printer) will accept a template for print in which they will themselves import large numbers of unique QR codes. Printers like this are likely to require that you import from a spreadsheet of URLs. You can generate a CSV file of unique table URLs by clicking “export as CSV”.

Materials and provider options for printing QR codes

TLDR; this article goes through lots of ways of printing, but our recommended choices would be vinyl stickers for cost-effective printing or laser marking for a premium feel. Feel free to skip ahead to those options.

Print and stick

The most obvious “quick fix” for some venues self-printing QR codes from their own printer. Here, if you’re planning to stick your QR code to something – for example, a mini chalkboard, a cutlery box, a wooden clipboard, a table – vinyl stickers look better than paper and survive for longer before they degrade.

Casing

Freestanding & table talkers

Menu holders which require freestanding paper will need a gsm of 300 plus. You can see the linked menu holder is designed to “pinch” the paper at the bottom there – watch out for stands which require a specific paper thickness to fit into the slot provided.

Table talkers are a popular and affordable way of printing QR codes. They are vulnerable to wear and tear compared to paper or beer mats, because they’re not intended for intensive touching. But they’re vulnerable to spillage, rain, or wind, so you’ll still need to replace them every so often as well.

Menus with QR codes

We have seen some restaurants and pubs print their regular menu and add a QR code to it. If you have an older clientele, this can ease them into the process of browsing a mobile menu, as it means that by the time they approach the task of operating the order and pay system they can focus exclusively on building their basket with their choice prepared in their mind. 

Beer mats

Beer mats are a great way of printing QR codes for as cheap as several pence per unit. Canva doesn’t have a round feature, so you might end up having to use more serious design software such as adobe illustrator to build your project file (it might just be worth getting a freelancer to do it – see below) but then you can print thousands of beer mats and distribute them across your tables. 

Vinyl stickers – recommended 

Vinyl stickers are much more resistant to moisture, as well as oil and alcohol, compared to the paper options above; they will also withstand smudging and fading for years. They’re quite a cheap option – you can find printing shops that will charge less than a pound per unit – and so you’ll only need to replace them very occasionally. For when you do, there are options available that won’t leave sticky residue once removed.

You can find matte and glossy vinyl stickers – but you might want to avoid excessively glossy stickers because materials that reflect too much light can make scanning a QR code difficult.

Opting for vinyl stickers means that your QR codes can pretty much be attached to any surface. One example we’ve seen work particularly well is vinyl sticker QR codes stuck onto a chalkboard at the York, a Norwich-based pub. It suits the aesthetic preferences of pubs, and you can write and wipe away messages when you want. Chalkboards are very easy to find online, as are the liquid chalk pens which modern “chalkboards” (they’re likely to be made of melamine, nowadays) demand.

Laser etching

A premium way of printing QR codes for your restaurant is laser etching. Laser etching prices depend on the materials you choose – they will be the main cost component, so you can print on gold if you like. But it also includes the ease with which the laser etching facility can produce your shape – for example, if there’s a peculiar wood angle, that pushes up the price. 

Laser marking can work with a variety of materials – including metals, wood, plastics, and ceramics. Laser etching looks great, so finding something that fits the ambience and interior of your venue is possible. QR codes printed this way have a more premium feel compared to the paper or vinyl alternatives; QR codes printed on wood and metal, in particular, tend to have nicer finishes. If you do opt for laser marking, you’ll need to produce a .svg file in a single colour for the perfect outline finish. 

Printing QR codes: the verdict on materials

Printing QR codes on paper or cardboard can cost very little per unit, but the results will vary with regards to quality and will also need regular replacing. That being said, it can be a great choice if you plan on updating your QR code designs regularly, like each season.

Vinyl stickers are the best option for venues looking to balance durability and attractiveness with affordability. They’re damage-resistant, which makes them a particularly ideal option for F&B businesses, and can be attached anywhere.

If it’s greater formality and a premium feel you’re after, laser etching is the answer. It outstrips the other options in terms of cost per unit (although a high-quality clipboard for your paper QR code might actually cost more), but given how long the QR codes will last, it could end up being a less costly choice than you might expect.

Designing for Print 

Hiring a freelancer – recommended

You can hire a print freelance designer very easily from Fiverr or Upwork. This is not a big job, and if you’re looking in the £100s you’re paying too much. For a freelancer, you’ll need to write a project brief and post it to one of these sites or approach someone directly whose work you like. 

DIY Design

If you’re a beginner designer, then Canva is probably the best way of designing your QR code for printing. We have no affiliation with Canva; it’s simply very easy to use and also free.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind when you’re designing QR codes for printing (we’ve also listed some extra tips on printing QR codes later on in this article).

  • Your QR codes will need to be at least 2cm x 2cm large once printed, or you won’t be able to scan them. 
  • Depending on the kind of design, the print will almost always have a bleed area and you should avoid the edge of the frame 
  • If you’re using colour, note that printers tend to use “CYMK” rather than “RGB” colour setting (the standard for digital design). 
  • Avoid trying to do too much design if you know nothing about design. In doubt? Keep it simple.

Top tips for printing QR codes

QR code colours

Try to avoid inverting your QR code’s colours, because it’s not guaranteed to work. Your QR codes need to be bigger than 2cm x 2cm, but make sure you’re not compromising resolution when scaling them up. Blurry QR codes are difficult to scan and look unprofessional.

Giving your QR code space

Make sure to leave some blank space around your QR code. This “quiet zone” should be at least 4 times the width of a pixel within the QR code – so avoid cramming your logo or instructions for use too close to your QR code.

QR code placement

QR codes will only scan properly on flat surfaces, like a wall or table. The QR codes should be placed somewhere where customers can easily find and access them – it’ll defeat the whole purpose of the exercise if they can’t.

Test, test, test

Make sure to test your QR codes before customers use them. Ideally, try out a range of devices – such as Android phones and iPhones – in a wide range of scenarios, like during a sunny day and in the evening. It’s worth requesting a proof copy of your printed QR code to test before printing all of your QR codes.

Printing QR codes: final thoughts

QR code menus are a practical choice for hospitality businesses, but your printed QR codes can serve more than a purely administrative purpose. They can be a part of your restaurant’s expression – something that adds character and interest. Give us a call if you need help with printing your QR codes for your StoreKit menu – we’re always happy to help!

Alternatively, you can get in touch to find out more about StoreKit’s QR code menu, or sign up to StoreKit Order & Pay for free.

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