Restaurant Menu Design Tips and How-To - MustHaveMenus

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Restaurant Menu Design Tips

Best practices for creating your restaurant menus

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Try It Free

You already know the feeling you want your menu to convey—it’s how you want your customers to feel when they walk in your restaurant. Are they in for a comforting experience, an adventurous one, a sophisticated meal or a darn good pizza? Give your menu the look that enhances that flavor.

Match Menu Style to Restaurant Style

Your menu is an extension of your restaurant brand. If someone sees your menu in the window or online, they should get an accurate sense of what your establishment will be like, too. If the interior of your restaurant is sleek and modern, choose a clean design with a contemporary feel. You might pair an elegant, stylized restaurant with a black and white menu with script fonts. Family friendly environments frequently favor designs with warm tones—brown, yellow, red—and sans-serif fonts. As you browse through the Restaurant menus, you can save as many templates as you like. For helpful hints in making your selections, check out the How-To Video: Choosing a Template.

Know Your Needs

Make a list of all the menus you will need. Most restaurants have a separate menu for each service (breakfast, lunch, dinner) plus drink menus, happy hour, kids menus, and dessert. What page size will be appropriate for each of these menus? Do you want a flat sheet, folded, or will it insert into a cover? Defining your menu needs in advance saves you time and effort, and lets you tackle all your menus at once so everything is up to date. MustHaveMenus offers Design Sets for a coordinated brand experience.

Design for Sales

Menu Engineering is the process of organizing your items for maximum profitability. It’s an extensive topic, but here are some quick tips:
  • Take advantage of reader eye patterns. Customers will start reading at the upper right quadrant, so your most popular items or specials should be placed there to promote sales.
  • Group items logically so customers don't need to search hard to make a selection. Specialty collections, such as vegan or gluten-free options, are now commonly offered as a separate section or menu.
  • Highlight your signature dishes (not more than 3 items per section) with icons or another visual cues.
  • Upsell items—drinks and desserts—should be on separate menus or table tents.
  • Put your daily specials on one sheet so you only have to reprint a single sheet.

An Eye for Detail

Customers are more sensitive to inconsistencies than you might expect. Scratched-out prices, misspelled ingredients, or cluttered fonts distract diners and can leave them with a bad taste for your brand. Pay attention to details when you create your menu—and then print it out to get a second opinion, see how it looks on the tables and in real lighting scenarios. Consistent styling from section to section, easy-to-read fonts, clean spacing, and a typo-free menu will be easiest for your customers to digest.

Written by: MustHaveMenus Staff