How to Hire a Restaurant Menu Designer – A Five Part Series

hire a menu designerWhen it comes to your menu, design is really important. Your menu design needs to showcase your brand, food and experience in the best light possible.

You spent lots of money developing your concept and recipes; so don’t take this decision lightly. Hiring a menu designer may be one of the most important steps you will take as a restaurant owner. In this five-part series, we’ll walk you through how to hire a restaurant menu designer. We have a team of designers here to help you with Made to Order menu designs, but moreover we’re here to help you get the best marketing resources for your restaurant. That’s why we want you to understand what’s important in hiring a designer from start to finish.Here’s a sneak peak at the series outline:

  • Understanding what kind of designer you need.
  • What to look for when reviewing a designer’s portfolio.
  • What you need to bring to the table to get a winning restaurant menu design.
  • Understanding the design lingo so you can communicate your needs better to save time and money.
  • How to work with a designer during the design process (handling revisions, concepts and payment).

Part One: Understanding what kind of designer you need.

Menu design falls into three categories – logo, engineering and creativity. Not every designer creates logos and not every designer is an expert in print menu design, so you need to talk about these three categories when you interview a designer.

1) Logo

If you don’t have a logo, you may want to start here. Your logo needs to give a customer an image of what your business is all about.Good logo design is made up of five elements:

  • You can describe it.
  • You can scale it (make it bigger or smaller and still read it).
  • Memorable. When your customer sees your logo, they know it’s you.
  • Looks just as good in black and white as it does in color.
  • It’s relevant to your business and industry. For example, you don’t want a sombrero if you serve Italian food.

Hiring Tip: A good designer will walk you through these five elements when providing you a logo concept.

2) Engineering

A good designer will know something about menu engineering. He or she will know that a menu should be organized for profitability, not just art. Read about the basics of menu engineering yourself and ask the following questions when you speak with a designer:

  • How will you showcase foods with high profitability?
  • How will you use design to call attention to specials?
  • How will you “hide” lower profit items on the menu?
  • How do you think a menu should be organized?

Hiring Tip: A good designer won’t be opposed to a little art direction in name of menu profitability. If you get push-back, you may want to consider the potential working relationship.

3) Creativity

The layout of your menu works hand-in-hand with menu engineering, but its ultimate dependent factor is the design. A pleasing design is just as important as calling out items for their sales profitability. Here are some questions you will want to ask:

  • Can you show me some examples of how you worked around a menu design problem?
  • What do you look for when you eat at a restaurant? What makes the design work for you?
  • What do you think of our existing menu? What recommendations can you make off the top of your head?

Hiring Tip: You’ll learn a lot about a designer when you ask them open-ended questions and for their recommendations. Their answers will speak to their experience. 

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