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Qr Code Best Practices

What are the best QR code practices to achieve high adoption rates?

In this article we will discuss the best practices of creating QR code stickers or cardboard tents. This is an important part of using a digital menu in your restaurant or hotel. It can make a big difference in adoption rate of the menu among your customers. I will teach you how to go from a situation of your customers ignoring the QR codes to your customers being excited to use them helping to drive a significant increase in your sales.

Step 1 – instructions

This is the most important best practice and at the same time the one that I’ve seen the most restaurants ignore at their own detriment. Remember – digital QR code menus is a new technology and many of your customers will probably encounter it for the first time in your restaurant or hotel (if you are a smart manager and are adopting this technology early on). Many of the younger generation customers have seen QR codes and will instinctively reach for their phone to see what’s hiding behind it. But other customers might not be so sure what those black and white rectangles are all about.

Hence it is of utmost importance to include clear instructions above or below the QR code. This provides not only information of what to do with that QR code but also encourages the users to do it. Some users might be unsure if they will also be able to place the order via that code or just look at the menu, the same also if they will be able to pay too. So if you’ve enabled ordering within your Qrunch digital menu then tell about it to your customers.

An example of short but clear instructions that work great in practice:

  1. Scan QR code using your phone’s camera
  2. Add items to your order
  3. Pay with a card or Apple pay
  4. We will bring your order as soon as it’s ready

This will provide easy to follow steps for your customers and clear any confusion or doubts about what they’re supposed to do.

Step 2 – asking for help

With Qrunch QR code menu you can also enable a “call a waiter” feature. This will then show a button at the top of the menu that will signal a waiter that the user needs attention. It’s a great feature to switch on to allow your guests to request help from staff in case they have any further questions.

This is also good to mention on the QR code sticker / tent. You can just add a smaller print below the QR code image saying that customer can also call for help by scanning the QR code and pressing the waiter button 🛎️ at.

Call Waiter feature is also great for areas in your hotel or restaurant that are not easy to serve by your waiters. For example pool side or VIP rooms. It’s difficult to ensure that guests never have to wait too long to get waiter’s attention in these areas. Here the Call Waiter button really helps! The guests can just scan the QR code, open Qrunch menu and call the waiter right away. Your staff will get a notification and will be able to attend your guests immediately.

Step 3 – placement

Another important factor to consider is the placement of the QR codes. Here the simplest solutions are usually the best – just place the tent in the middle of the table. Or if you’re using stickers then place at least two stickers facing both directions so that the customers cannot miss them. Avoid placing the QR code in an unusual location. For example one of our customers placed the stickers on flower pots that were on the tables. Although they were clearly visible, the flower pots confused customers enough so that many of them didn’t realise that those QR codes are meant for ordering. The same would happen if the QR codes were to be placed on walls and so on. Many will be observant enough to see them and scan them, but many more will miss QR codes that are not right in front of them. The only exception if the stickers on the walls are really big with large and easy to read instructions. But even then a QR code on a table will perform better.

QR code placement is equally important in hotel rooms. Make sure to place them in visible locations – near other informational materials, near room climate controls. If the room has an in-room phone then definitely place it also next to the phone. The customer might be reaching for the phone to ask about food ordering just to notice the QR code sitting right next to it. If possible don’t be shy and place more than one QR code in each room. Our existing customers are reporting some amazing numbers! Qrunch adoption rate for in-room orders is more than 80%.

And don’t forget to place them in visible locations everywhere in the hotel where you’re serving food and drinks. You’re serving cocktails by the pool? Well, your customers will definitely order more of those if they are reminded about the possibility with easy to notice QR codes placed around the pool area.

Step 4 – design

When you started reading this article you probably thought that we would start by talking about the design. But as you can see clear information, instructions and good placements are the top priorities here. In general your customers will care little how designey the QR code is. Remember – utility always trumps the looks when it comes to QR codes. Of course we’re not suggesting to use Times New Roman in your QR code design, it’s still important to have nice looking QR codes. Here there’s two things to keep in mind when designing the look of the QR code:

  • High contrast – the QR codes work by phone camera’s reading the visual information encoded in the QR code. If the contract between the whites and darks is too low the phone will start having troubles decoding this information and you might encounter situations where in poor lighting or with cheap phones the QR code won’t read well. The best is just to keep the QR codes black and white with 100% contrast. But other dark colours will work well too such as dark blue etc. Avoid using colours that have shine to them – gold coloured QR codes will likely result in issues.
  • Avoid transparency – semi transparent stickers might look cool but pose a great risk that phones will struggle reading the QR codes.
  • Big enough – all modern phones will not have any troubles reading even the smallest QR codes. But the human behind that phone might be the one not noticing the QR code. Our suggestion is to have the QR codes of at least 10cm (width and height) and below 30cm. Anything larger might start confusing the customer as to what the purpose of the QR code is.


To re-cap: the best QR codes prioritise usability over looks. Start worrying about the looks only after you’ve ensured that your codes follow the usability guidelines I’ve talked about above.

The best QR codes will have:

  1. Clear instruction above or below the QR code. This encourages the users to proceed with confidence.
  2. Extra usability added with smaller print – do tell your customers that they can call the waiter without ordering anything.
  3. Placed in locations which the customers is most likely to face – on tables right in front of them, in hotel rooms near where other information or room controls are.
  4. Have easy to read design – the higher the contrast the better.

If you have any further questions reach out to us and ask away: Contact Us

We’re also happy to help you out with QR code designs. Qrunch also offers QR code design and printing services, just drop us a note to get a quote.

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