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Menu Writing Success

Write A Menu That Will Help Grow Your Restaurant

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Much more than a list of items and prices, your restaurant menu is a reflection of your concept, your style and the quality of your food. Write this critical marketing tool carefully, speaking directly to your audience, and you will entice them to order your unique creations.

First, how much do you have to write?

How much do you really have to say? Will a simple 8.5 x 14 page do the trick? Or do you need a folded 11 X 17…or multiple pages? Once that decision is made, choose a one or two-column layout; either will create a clean look. Put daily specials on a separate menu, making them easy and economical to change.

Are there limits to keep in mind?

It’s usually best to avoid extra-long menus because they can confuse people, making it difficult for them to make a choice. It’s generally more effective to hone in on a powerful list of offerings that guides customers to easier decisions.

Coffee House Menus should ideally be single-page menus while wedding catering menus are typically longer and can be two or three pages. If you serve up a lot of dishes, simply pick the best dishes from every category and list them on your menu.

Write for your audience

Do you truly understand your customer base? You may want to study the demographics of your target, learn their preferences. For example, if your restaurant mostly attracts families, your Family Restaurant Menu should be written in an easy-to-understand style that results in happy choices for all ages. On the other hand, if your restaurant is a French Bistro and attracts a more elite crowd, write your French menu in a more sophisticated style. For example, "Appetizers" will become "Hors d'oeuvres".

Write for your theme

People will patronize your restaurant because of the theme and specialty you have taken the time and care to create. Give them what they came for. On an Italian Restaurant Menu, name the dish Vitello Al Funghi instead of Veal with Mushrooms. Using authentic names will immerse your customers in the experience and enhance your brand. Ethnic names for dishes will be more interesting and appeal to diners, especially when creating menus for Asian restaurants.

Write for clarity

Reading your menu should not be a challenge. Too much text or tough-to-read fancy fonts will frustrate your patrons. Keep the design of your menu simple and avoid using a lot of culinary jargon, especially if you are designing cafe menus. Describe the items in simple, but tantalizing, terms that tickle your customers’ tastebuds.

Write to create hunger

You’ll increase sales when you write tantalizing food descriptions like these shown below. Click on the menu link to see how the experts create appetizing descriptions.
  • Cafe Menu. Sliced Brisket: Beef brisket, seasoned and smoked for hours for a deep smoky flavor and sliced thin.
  • Fine Dining Menu. New Orleans Catfish: Petite prawns, Andouille sausage, mushrooms, scallions, peppers and Cajun cream sauce served over blackened catfish.
  • Japanese Menu. Thai Sticks: Charbroiled fiery chicken, prawn or beef skewers with a peanut-chile dipping sauce.
  • Mexican Menu. Chop Salad: Hearts of Romaine, citrus poached shrimp, sweet onions, radish and queso fresco tossed with a creamy guajillo Manchego dressing.
  • Dessert Menu. Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake: A flour-free chocolate cake covered with a silky smooth chocolate fondant.
  • Bakery Menu. Jasmine Green Tea Torte: White chocolate mousse-spiked green tea, jasmine and honey in a crispy cookie crust.
  • Barbecue Menu. Sliced Pork Loin: Tender slices of pork loin rubbed with our secret blend of spices and slow smoked.
  • Daily Specials Menu. Steamed Clams with Guinness: A pail of our finest, steamed with Ireland’s finest.
  • Pub Food Menu. Buffalo Tender Wrap: Crispy strips of breaded chicken tossed in spicy buffalo sauce in a spinach-herb wrap.
Employ these simple but effective restaurant menu writing tips to create powerful, successful menus.

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