Nine amazing tips for designing an exceptional restaurant menu

Today, restaurants are a brand. From Michelin-star restaurants to fast-food chains, almost every evident eatery out there has a brand image and a loyal clientele that feels associated with it.

Many factors create a unique and off-the-beaten-track brand name for a restaurant. Location, food, décor, ambiance, and the nitty-gritty of interiors create an aura for the restaurant.

But funky, luxurious, or minimalistic menus are essential to creating the oh-so-good vibe of your restaurant. Menus are the first physical encounter of the customers inside the restaurant with your brand.

Menus are new-age marketing tools that intrigue and engage customers. A well-crafted menu is the silent salesperson your brand image needs.

So, if you’re reinventing your restaurant image or starting a new eatery, menus are the place to start. Moreover, since we know it’s challenging to stand out in a saturated food industry, here are a few tips to help you design a kick-ass menu.

The Simpler, the Better

A hungry customer is generally not in the mood to go through a booklet of items or is interested in the story of your restaurant!

An effortless and unpretentious menu is your best bet to impress and engage a customer.

The quicker a customer understands what you’re selling, the better it is for the restaurant’s reputation for timely food delivery. It also removes the additional pressure on your staff to explain the menu to the customers.

Great Photography

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, invoke your customers’ senses with high-quality images of your dishes.

If you’re unsure where to begin, using stock photos & images is an excellent idea! You have endless images to play around with and create the perfect vibe for your restaurant.

You don’t need to hire a fancy photographer or do a crash course in photography.

Plan the Layout

We can’t stress the importance of presentation and the layout of a menu. Reading long paragraphs about the ingredients is tedious and tiring.

Divide and separate different food items into sections. Menus generally start with hors d’oeuvre, entrees, desserts, sides, and beverages section. Sectioning the items is the easiest way to avoid confusion.

There are multiple ways to section the food items on the menu. You can divide items by category, like breakfast items in one section and meat, fish, pasta, or veggies in the main course.

Your goal should be to make things easier for the customer.

You can also have fun with different colored borders and lines to section off items or use templates from the internet.

Placement is Key

While it is important how you display the food items, it’s equally critical where you put them on the menu. A menu, after all, is the visual display of your brand and the food you serve.

Generally, restaurants go for The Golden Triangle: the eye movement while reading from the center of the page to the top right and then to the top left.

Whether you go for the golden triangle or not, placing your top sellers and the ones you want to sell in the right places is a top priority.

Hold the Focus

You want to keep the customer focused on the menu’s most popular or high-profit margin food items. There are multiple ways of doing that.

How? You can play with different colors or fonts to make the menu attractive and cohesive with your restaurant’s logo. You can then highlight a dish you want with bold or capital letters to hold the customers’ attention.

You can also use intriguing names and descriptions of the dishes to pique the customers’ curiosity.

Less is More

Several studies have pointed out the need to strike a balance between too many and too few food options on the menu.

Like a well-balanced dish, a menu with variety is a perfect choice. At the same time, you don’t want to go overboard and confuse the customers about what to order among a million options. You also can’t afford to offer fewer items that barely represent your brand.

Make the menu short. And select the food items that truly reflect you as a brand.

Use the Power of Words

Another creative tool to sell food is using powerful and meaningful words. This is especially true if you plan to introduce new dishes into the market.

You can use words to describe the taste, feel, method of cooking, and look of the dish. Words can conjure up images for a reason, so use the right words to entice your customers.

The more accurately you describe a dish, the more likely customers will be satisfied with their choices. Accurate descriptions will decrease the order time as customers can decide faster.

At the same time, keep the words fun and simple. Stay authentic to the food you serve.

Think Digital

Many restaurants opt for digital menus with QR codes instead of paper ones. Going digital can save you a lot of time printing and upkeeping the physical copies of menus. Digital format affords a whole lot more room for creativity.

Whatever the mode you choose for the menu, select a layout and design that is easy to use in different mediums.

Digital menus are a great help for online ordering.

Stay True to Your Brand

Your menu should reflect the kind of dining experience and cuisine you offer. A dish served in a high-end restaurant might taste the same if served in a local restaurant, but the customers’ experience would be different.

That exclusivity is the hallmark of the brand image, and your menu is part of the brand representation and should reflect the ethos.

In a Nutshell

The food industry is saturated, and you must stand out if you want to be successful. As creating an authentic brand is the key to a successful business, ensuring your menu ticks all the boxes is a critical part of that success.

We hope you learned a thing or two from this article. If you want to add something, please tell us in the comments below.


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