Restaurant Menu Design Tips

A menu is one of the biggest advertisers for a restaurant. In this Internet age, not only does it list your dishes but it can also be posted on your website to entice people to visit you. I often walk into restaurants just to ask to see their menu – an easy-to-read menu with provocative options makes me put a mental Post-It on my brain to patronize the restaurant another time. That’s why it’s vital you put as much effort into your physical menu as you do in your kitchen.

Design

Make sure the menu represents the mood of the restaurant. Include attractive photos or other images to get your patrons salivating. Really take a look at these graphics and ask yourself, “Would I want to dine there? Does that look appetizing?”

Check out this article about upsell strategies for your menu.

Marketing

For takeout menus, always include coupons – that inclusion can ensure your menu a spot on the refrigerator as opposed to the junk-mail pile.

Spell check

As a copy editor at heart, it absolutely kills me when I visit a restaurant and notice typo after typo after typo. OK, sometimes if it’s a mom ’n’ pop establishment, it can be charming, but mostly, a poorly edited menu makes me cringe. If the restaurant proprietors aren’t detailed about a piece of print material that bears their name, then what else are they lax about? The food?

Printing

There are different types of menus that call for different types of printing. You obviously can choose a lighter paper weight for takeout menus than you would for the in-house one. There are even different folds and bindings to consider.

If you’re wondering about lamination, consider visitors to your establishment like me, who are always likely to spill their beverage all over your menu.

Don’t forget to check into green printing for your menu. Seek out recycled paper and soy-based inks. Be sure to mention on the menu about your attention to being ecologically friendly – perhaps the back where you include a bio of the restaurant. It’s good for the planet, and it’s also good for your reputation!

  • Nina

    I really enjoyed your article. I think you offered some really great tips. Even seemingly simple ones like spell check can easily be missed. Passing the, “Would I dine here?” question, I think is also key. I’ve been looking on ways to make clever, effectivemenu covers and this article was definitely a reminder of some core guidelines.