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French Restaurant Menu Design

Set the tone for a sophisticated dining experience

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When designing a menu for your French restaurant, you'll want to set a tone that's worthy of your fine French cuisuine: class, style, elegance, and finesse. Every day, you work to ensure these characteristics are reflected in all aspects of your business. Your menu design should reflect your French restaurant theme.

Start with Understated Style

While it may be tempting to be flashy with your menu design, it's difficult to pull it off tastefully. A toned-down and even minimalist design much more effectively conveys a sense of elegance. Limit the colors on the menu, in most instances to two or three. The French flag colors are a popular choice. If you're including graphics, opt for stylized but subtle renderings, and don't use more than one or two. Subtle graphics of iconic French landmarks, like this whimsical Eiffel Tower French Menu, can be appealing without distracting. The printed text should be easy to read, especially if your diners will be reading French-language item names in a low-light establishment, so stick to larger, legible fonts.

Create Visual Appeal

Standard categories - appetizers, soups, entrees - are a simple way to organize your items, but there are other approaches that can create more diner interest and drive sales. Consider these strategies for organizing your menu:

  • French region of origin
  • chef-recommended three-course meal
  • dishes grouped by ingredient
  • dishes grouped by method of preparation

Another way to increase the appeal (and thus profitability) of your menu is to maintain visual balance. You want a sense of symmetry between the blocks of text. Take a step back to see if anything appears lopsided on your menu pages. If your salads don't quite fit in one column, split them evenly between two columns. Your featured items, whether seasonal specials or best-selling customer favorites, should be separate, boxed, or highlighted in some way. And don't cram too many items on a page; beverages and desserts can have their own menus so the customer isn't overwhelmed with dining selections. This sample French Menu strikes a perfect balance.

Indulge the Senses

French dining is about indulgence, and food as an art. Capture this on your menu by engaging all five senses in your item descriptions. Discuss how a dish looks, smells, feels in the mouth, or even sounds as a guest cuts into it. Don't limit the description to vague adjectives about flavor; address textures, aromas, visual presentation, and other less obvious aspects. Done well, this can be potent sales copy and powerful marketing.

As with any menu, be sure to include all pertinent information about a dish's ingredients and how it's prepared. Gluten-free and spicy items should be clearly identified. And don't forget to succinctly define any French terminology your patrons may not be familiar with. Pronunciation guides can be a playful addition, too. See more French Menu designs from MustHaveMenus.

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