How to Design a Restaurant Menu: A Walkthrough

How to Design a Restaurant Menu

A meticulously prepared, laid out, and well-designed menu is essential in the restaurant business. Your menu is the primary instrument that generates sales for your business, and improving it can increase sales and also increase profits. This will also enhance the restaurant experience for guests.

According to research, a well-designed menu can also increase your revenues by 10 to 15%. We’ve developed this thorough tutorial that deconstructs the procedure and provides some helpful restaurant menu ideas to help you make the best menu possible.

 how to design a menu for a restaurant

How Many Items Should be on a Restaurant Menu?

“Fewer than you might expect” is the brief response! Most people can only remember seven items of knowledge at a time, according to cognitive psychology specialist George A. Miller. Of course, that doesn’t imply that you should limit your menu items to seven options, but it does suggest that you categorize your menu items and limit the number of options in each category to three to seven.

The days of the extensive restaurant menu with dozens of choices are long gone. In addition, a large restaurant menu layout can reduce profitability for most restaurants by resulting in unsold or damaged goods.

 how to design a good restaurant menu

The Power of Good Restaurant Menu Design

How your restaurant’s menu is designed can make or break its financial success. Your customers will order your least profitable item over others that are equally delicious but more profitable for your business if it is prominently displayed on the menu. Your menu is your canvas if food is your instrument of art.

By listing modifiers to menu items and placing side dishes and add-ons where they can readily entice guests, a superb menu can also help your server upsell. But, again, this opens the door for higher check averages.

Finally, you want your brand to be present on your menu, in your physical decor, website, on social media, and anywhere else that customers connect with your restaurant. As a result, an engaging and, most importantly, unforgettable experience is produced.

How to Make a Restaurant Menu

When making your own menu, you must first decide what will be on it. “The idea restaurant menu designs offer a balance of classic dishes and fresh food trends while balancing the right food cost to maintain and increase profits,” explains the balance.

A restaurant menu lists the foods and drinks it serves, either printed or online. There aren’t many fast rules for creating a menu because each will have different requirements depending on the restaurant concept(s) or theme.

Follow these 10-step tips on constructing a restaurant menu if you want to try to create a menu design yourself since you can’t afford a menu designer or use a menu template as a starting point.

Write Down all Menu Items

Learn how to write a restaurant menu before you start designing. Make a list of every meal you wish to serve using Excel, a Google Sheet, or even ink and paper.

Categorize Menu Items

Sort all the products into categories such as appetizers, main courses, desserts, and so forth. Then, decide which menu items you want to stand out the most on the menu; for example, you might want appetizers to be the first item on your menu, and you might want a specific appetizer to be at the top of the list because it scored highly on your menu engineering worksheet for popularity and profitability.

Put every menu item in the precise order you want them to display on the menu by simply moving them around.

Set Menu Prices

Prices are not set at random. Thus a thorough examination of food costs is warranted. Learning how to calculate the menu price for a restaurant is time well spent.

The most critical component of a restaurant’s food menu is the prices of the items on the menu and how you present them.

If you’re using a previous menu, include your current pricing before stepping back to evaluate them. Again, put yourself in the position of your customers. Could you afford to adjust the price of this menu item slightly to make it more enticing based on the restaurant sales statistics in your point-of-sale system?

Conversely, if you’ve recently had to raise costs to pay for benefits or pay your staff better wages, take this opportunity to explain it to your customers through your menu. Phrases like “thanks to these small increases in menu prices, we’ve been able to pay for all of our team’s health insurance” work great and help them understand realities.

If you’re genuinely beginning from scratch, you’ll have to determine how to price your menu to maximize profit while pleasing customers. Check out some logo design ideas for restaurants.

Create Menu Descriptions

A copywriter might create menu descriptions, but the finest ones come straight from the source and heart. Consult the chef who developed the menu, consider the history of each dish—its inspiration, the location of its materials, the time and effort it took to prepare—and jot down a brief menu description of each item on your document.

Use descriptive and alluring adjectives like crisp, tangy, sour, sweet, and crunchy when feasible. However, please don’t overdo it.

Consider the mental image potential customers would have while reading your menu for the first time. Next, consider what clarifications or inquiries customers require, then include those descriptions on your restaurant menu.

Remember to cover all the essential ingredients in your brief descriptions and note any unique aspects of the dish or an ingredient.

Choose a Color Scheme

Now you have to start thinking about graphic design.

You should carefully consider the color scheme you pick because they convey a lot about your restaurant and business brand. The colors you select can also influence your guests’ appetites.

For instance, bright colors like red, yellow, and orange might whet clients’ appetites, whereas hues like blue and purple can curb their appetites.

When selecting a color scheme for your menu, you should also make sure that the colors go well together, the theme is maintained, and they are eye-catching colors.

 restaurant menu designs templates

Design Your Restaurant Menu

The challenging aspect is turning your meticulous work on that document into a menu design. Giving a designer from All Time Design your menu item spreadsheet and color palette will significantly simplify their work if you hire them.

If not, you can use online design tools or programs like Microsoft Word, Microsoft Powerpoint, and Adobe Suite.

As you proceed, remember the following restaurant menu design best practices:

  • A menu must be simple to comprehend. Just keep it simple, stupid, as some people might say. A lengthy menu will overwhelm your customer, so try to limit it to a page or two and avoid multiple pages.
  • Remember the golden triangle. Your top menu items with the highest profit margins, such as entrees, and appetizers, should be placed here since customers’ eyes are drawn to particular areas of your menu when they look at it. The Golden Triangle is the name given by menu engineers and psychologists to the first three items on a menu that customers tend to glance at. The eyes of a customer first scan the middle of a page, then move to the top right and top left corner.
  • Dollar signs should be used wisely. According to a Cornell University study, customers who chose from menus devoid of dollar signs ($) spent much more money than those who selected items from menus with typical prices. To make it simple for customers to compare, you might want to remove signs from your menu and avoid listing menu prices in a single column.

Restaurant Menu Photos

White space is advantageous for printed menus, and the more photos or icons you include, the more your guests will be drawn away from your actual content—the food and the fantastic descriptions you provided.

You might wish to incorporate photos of your most lucrative items, but they must be of a high caliber and be readable in print. Because poor-quality photos can be worse than no photos, you might need to engage a food photographer to take these photos. Work on your food presentation techniques before hiring a photographer or asking a friend to shoot the ideal shot for your menu.

Here, you can display your drink options and exquisite dishes.

Choose Menu Font(s), Spacing, and Composition

You know what colors you want to use, how you want your menu items to be organized on the page, and maybe even which photos you want to use. Then, it’s time to put everything together to make a perfect restaurant menu design.

Many restaurateurs now either employ a designer or use pre-made menu templates to get started. So, for example, you could create a simple or complicated menu.

Note that the items should be in a larger font size than your rates.

Select the Final Menu Layout

Decide which design concepts you think will work best for your restaurant’s brand after discussing them with your business partners and crew. Your stakeholders will want to review the content, including the precise descriptions of each item, the costs, and the brand’s consistency.

After the approval procedure, choose the option that most interests you. You could even make a case for the design based on data from your restaurant’s point of sale, which you believe will boost sales.

NOTE: Family-friendly restaurants often offer a lot of pictures and vibrant colors on their menus to draw attention of kids. You may also wish to pick a large font that is easily legible and scannable.

Proofread and Print Your Menu

It’s finally time to print the menu for your business. However, before you do that, proofread your menu for a second and send it to someone who hasn’t looked at it for a week. A missing comma or tiny error could alter how your customers view the establishment. Don’t ignore this step because doing so could result in you spending a lot of money producing menus that will only be thrown away.

Print enough menus for each patron to peruse on their own time. You can use the following helpful guide to determine how many menus your restaurant should print:

modern restaurant menu designs

How to Make a Restaurant Menu Online

You should use an online shopping service that allows you to attach photographs while creating your menu online. The descriptions should be as detailed as your print menu, if not more.

Photos not only help you maintain consistency across all of your platforms, but they also make it easier for customers to comprehend what they’re getting online because there won’t be a server there to answer their queries.

Utilize your menu spreadsheet, establish categories on your online ordering platform, and enter your menu items one at a time.

Additionally, you may make an online menu that diners can access while seated in your establishment. Explore some more menu design ideas.

Take Advantage of Free Restaurant Templates

Most of these templates follow the same procedures. You can get templates for restaurants via All Time Design, Canva, Adobe Spark, etc.

Search for a restaurant template, spot your choice, then hit enter to download or use its online editor to redesign and make your own menu.

Other Menu Design Tips

Your menu ought to be virtually finished by this point. The following restaurant menu suggestions for items should be on your menu:

Tip 1

Produce symbols for various product categories, such as sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan, or vegetarian foods, to make it easier for customers to identify products that adhere to their alternative diets.

Tip 2

Once your menu is complete, you should scan it or make a digital copy that you can upload online. This is crucial if your company offers delivery or takeout services. You should make a mobile-friendly version of your restaurant menu when posting it online for potential consumers who might use their smartphones or tablets to look up your menu.

Create the Perfect Menu with Us

An efficient restaurant menu has a well-designed layout, effectively written descriptions, and accurate pricing for food cost ration. Good menus avoid cluttered layouts, excessively wordy descriptions, and extra visuals. Menu items should reflect your restaurant’s theme.

All Time Design will help make your menu stand out, thus, turning your business into a great restaurant. Additionally, they provide a large selection of templates for kids’ menus, table tents, dine-ins, takeouts, and more.

Asides from templates, you can design your own menu from scratch by sharing your ideas and insights with their assigned graphic designer.

Sign up and get started on creating your dream restaurant.


October 15, 2022
10 min read
16 reads

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