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Designing a menu can be a tricky task for any restaurant or food service operation. From layout, colors, and fonts, to item descriptions, we have tips for creating a menu that sparkles and shines for any food fare!
When developing your menu, your first questions should be the menu item selections. Will you offer starters and appetizers? Will there be soups or salad options? Are all of your food items a la carte or all inclusive? Additional options to consider include substitutions, sides, beverages, and kids/seniors options.
Once you've determined your menu items, there's always the debate of description or title only. Many restaurants offer descriptive titles, in an effort to eliminate any long explanation of individual dishes. A titles only option will keep your menu short and sweet, but may create additional questions when it comes to dish preparation or inquiries on side options. Some restaurants opt to include complete descriptions with each dish offering, as to answer any customer inquiries up front. A select number of customers may have allergy concerns, and extensive dish descriptions may help alleviate those concerns.
Will you offer specialty items on your menu? With food allergies and particular eating choices affecting restaurants across the country, it's important to consider offering a select menu to those customers. Items to consider include gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, diabetic, and kid-friendly options. Offering specialty, adaptive dishes can help to increase your customer base.
After an initial listing of your dishes, pricing will be your next debate. In order to price your menu properly, take into consideration your kitchen and staffing costs, as well as assistance with any operational costs. If your items are a la carte, be sure to price accordingly, as to not deter customers from ordering additional sides, soups, salads, or desserts. With the current economic times, many restaurants and food service locations are opting for cheaper menus during busy times—generally lunch and dinner—in order to build their customer base. Consider developing a "Happy Hour" menu in addition to your regularly priced menu. Completed your list of menu items with pricing? Now comes the design aspect. We offer a wide range of layouts and looks to compliment your restaurant and food service theme. When creating your menu, be sure to use readable fonts and font sizes that are customer friendly. Avoid cluttering your menu with out-of-place images or irrelevant information. Be sure to offer details on substitutions and gratuity, as well as any allergy information you deem relevant to your customers.
Finally, when developing your menu, consider offering beverage pairings. Particularly if your restaurant or food service is higher end, your customers will appreciate wine and beer selections that are complementary to your menu selections. Drink selections also work well on Happy Hour and bar menus as well.
Written by: Beth Taylor