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Menus, Marketing, & Management tips to grow your restaurant business.


How to Design a Great Food Cart Menu

In this on-the-go world, mobile food options are becoming more and more popular. If you run a food cart or food truck business, you want your operation to stand out. In an outdoor arena, where your competitors often reside feet from your business, a unique and attention-grabbing menu design can make all the difference.

There are several design elements to consider in creating a food cart menu design that will set you apart and entice customers. Here are a few you will want to think about.

What Goes on a Food Cart Menu?

Food carts tend to offer a limited menu. Food carts are smaller than other types of restaurants and they deal with on-the-go customers who don’t have a lot of time to browse through an extensive menu. Food carts also don't have room for the huge amounts of inventory required to support an expanded menu. Therefore, in most cases, food cart menus typically feature six to twelve items along with a couple drink options.

Food cart menus also often have pictures of the food and other images that make them look appealing.

As opposed to restaurants that may provide a folded menu, food carts often have one-sheet, disposable menus displayed at the register. They may also have a larger version of the menu displayed on the outside or inside of the cart.

How to Optimize your Food Cart Menu Experience

If you are looking to make an attractive food cart menu that appeals to your customers, here are some things to consider.

Give Your Best Sellers Optimal Placement

Put your star items where they are easy to find. A customer’s eye will tend to go to the center of the menu or the upper right-hand corner first. That’s where your best sellers belong.

Choose the Right Images

Adding images to your menu can make it look more appealing. However, the wrong type of images can work against you.

Avoid using generic clip art. If you choose to add pictures of your food, make sure it looks appealing. Hire a professional photographer to get the results you are looking for, or take the time to get it right yourself.

Avoid Type-o’s

Poor spelling and grammar will make your business look bad. More than that, if you get information and pricing wrong on your menu, it can cause issues between you and your customers.

Make sure all the information on your menu is correct by proofreading it. Then have another set of eyes look it over to make sure there are no mistakes.

Keep It Short

Food trucks cater to on-the-go customers. Don’t test their patience by providing too long of descriptions for your dishes. Unless you’re offering something truly unique that requires explanation, a few descriptive adjectives should do the trick.

Use Color

Color is an eye-catching element that can make your menu look more attractive. However, you don’t want to overdo it. Stick to a few basic colors that will make your menu shine. Reds and yellows are appetite stimulants, so food carts often use them.

If your company has colors they use in their marketing, be sure to include those. Los Angeles food vendor Mary of Mary’s Taco’s says, “We like to stick to a yellow, orange and red theme to emphasize our spicy flavors. For our menu, we use a basic black background with yellow and red elements to give our company a distinctive look.”

Use Easy-to-Read Fonts

Making your menu easy to read is key. Use fonts that are clear and simple, so customers can read them from afar and don’t have to ask you for clarification.

A food cart is a great way to bring in income. Help yours along the path to success by providing an attractive menu design that puts your food in the best light. What elements do you feel are essential to an effective menu design?

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