Restaurant Menu Design
Restaurant Menu Design
A good restaurant menu design is key to any restaurant's marketing plan.
It expresses your eateryís personality, focuses your overall
operations, promotes profitability, establishes your budget and keeps
your brand fresh in your customerís mind.
What is the goal of a well-crafted restaurant menu?
menu is your primary means of representation: It says exactly who you
are and what you hope to convey personality-wise. It also should create
enough of an impression so that it stays with your client long after
the waiter or waitress walks off with it. In addition, it must convey
your restaurantís brand in a manner that makes diners excited to be
there, want to come back and recommend it to family and friends.
What steps should I take before designing my restaurant menu?
with most creative endeavors, proper results canít be achieved without
sufficient research. In the case of designing the right menu, that
means collecting data from various sources. Examine your own numbers
first, such as your restaurantís prospective financial and marketing
numbers and its sales mix. Then look at your competitors: Examine their
Web sites, menus and marketing efforts and try to see where they went
right and how you could compete successfully with those traits. Also,
look at vendors and see how they handle similar challenges, and read
industry sources (trade publications, published research) to evaluate
trends and successes.
After that, consider your location and how
it relates to the immediate neighborhood around you. Eighty percent of
a typical restaurantís business usually comes from the residents living
within a 10-minute drive of that location. Knowing this, ask yourself
- What can my restaurant menu offer that others in the area do not?
- What menu items do we have in common?
- How does our pricing match up?
- Does my menu offer more variety than theirs?
Determining these factors will help guide you towards designing the right menu for your restaurant.
How should I design my menu?
There are no rights or wrongs in
restaurant menu design.
What works with some establishments fails at others. However, as
mentioned before, your menu should be an expression of your
restaurantís personality. In designing it, think about how it will best
represent your image and objectives. Are you classy and sophisticated?
Fun-loving and wild? A small, plain text menu can be used to enhance a
restaurantís impression of elegance or simplicity. A thick, flashy,
image-intensive menu can emphasize a locationís festive side. Once you
determine your restaurantís personality, you can easily begin crafting
the look of your menu to match that.
How should I arrange items on the menu? Should I use merchandizing techniques to help?
your restaurant menu in a way that mimics the dining experience.
Arrange items sequentially, with appetizers, salads and soups first,
then entrees, then desserts. Place star items on pages that contain
more visual flair than others, and set markers or photographs around
featured items to further draw attention.
techniques will further help this agenda and create a menu by allowing
you to easily spotlight specialty and signature items, introduce newer
selections and invoke an appropriate sense of personality. In turn, the
techniques also make these items easier for your clients to find and
What are some tips I can use to design my restaurant menu?
your best selling items, or those you want to have the biggest draw, on
the Prime Sweet Spots of the menu. These areas refer to the spots where
the average client brings his or her eyes to first -- and thus receive
oneís first attention. Also, arrange your menu in columns, depending on
your restaurantís image: One column inflects a sense of sophistication
and elegance; two columns brings forth a sense of playfulness, etc.
spotlight or signature items in a way that draws attention to them:
Boxing selections off within your menu works well at this, as does
adding colors, photographs, labels and logos.
specifically or creatively (ex. Rojo Chicken Salad), and using active
descriptions of the ingredients in the dishes, makes the food sound
more enticing and exotic for the client -- and may induce future visits.
What are some common mistakes in restaurant menu design?
your menu creates problems for your clients, they will become
apprehensive and less likely to return. Common mistakes include: Menu
print that is too small to read easily; menus that are too big to handle
easily; menus that lack English translations for non-English words or
phrases; menus that look antiquated in presentation; menus without
daily or weekly special insets; entrees that donít look like their
photos; generic clip art; and misalignment of brand and menu.
How should I price my menu?
are savvy, and often theyíll know how your items match up value-wise
against your competition. In light of this, keep your more everyday
items (dishes you can find anywhere, really) approximately $1 more or
less than your competition. Many customers do not perceive such
increments to be significant, especially with dishes above $5, so there
is some leeway there. Likewise, items unique to your restaurant can be
a little higher but also should not exceed the other items excessively.
Doing so will make the latter more enticing to diners, especially those
who visit your establishment regularly.
Also, to get a better
feel for the sense of value you are promoting, take a picture of each
item on the menu in a way that mimics the actual presentation on the
table. After doing so, ask yourself: Do the items look like they are
worth the price you are charging? Could a change in presentation
justify an increase in price? Is there consistency with the overall
look or does there seem to be a wide range or inconsistency in the
price versus its presentation? Youíll be amazed at what you discover
when you look at the entire menu collectively through the customerís
How often should I update my menu design? How about menu profitability?
keep your menu fresh, relevant and profitable, you need to know how
each item is performing and how it stacks up against your
competition. Conduct an analysis of your menu every six to twelve
months. During this evaluation, look at profitability analysis and
competitive menu analysis and determine what works best and what isnít
working at all. Then make the proper adjustments so that your changes
reflect your research.
Comparing your menu with that of your
competitors also helps. It not only opens more doors towards pricing
your menu, it offers you a solid foundation on how to measure your
profits. Performing a cross analysis helps uncover strengths and
weaknesses in your pricing plan, specifically in terms of the way your
items are priced and presented. By doing this, you determine which
items are most popular, which are most profitable, which need extra
emphasis, and which need to removed or replaced.
Want to see samples of our restaurant menu design work?
Article: Menu Covers