Restaurant marketing has two important components. Firstly, you have to get diners into your restaurant and secondly you have to sell to them once they are inside and seated. It is important that your menu is designed to sell clients on your dishes as well as to get them to order a decent volume. A menu can also help you to build your brand image. The design of a restaurant menu can also facilitate the ordering process and avoid staff and customer confusion.
Here are some ideas on how to design a restaurant menu. You may consider these points if you are looking to start a restaurant or refresh the menus in your existing operation.
Relevant to Your Concept
Restaurant menus should be designed to compliment your concept, location or theme. There are many ways to do this including pictures, artwork, fonts and the use of colors. You need to have menus that look great while still being practical and easy to read.
Different Places to Put Menus
Menus can take on many forms. At the most basic level they should be printed into small booklets that are able to be handed individually to customers. Some casual dining establishments display their menu on the wall of the restaurant interior and others display them out on the street for passers by to glance at. These days it is also likely that you will have a website and that is another excellent place to showcase your menu offerings.
Laying a menu out in sections is very convenient for the customer. This format has proven to be a favorite for most diners. Naturally you should go for a sequential layout that starts off with drinks and appetizers and finishes up with desserts.
Describe each dish on your menu in a few sentences. Try to make these descriptions short, descriptive and enticing while outlining all of the main ingredients at the same time. You could also let the diner know how the dish is prepared or how it is presented.
Other Important Information
Your menu should not only include details of your food. You could also include information on the chef, the owner, the location or a background on the restaurants history. If your menus can be printed inexpensively you may as well let customers take them away if they desire to. Therefore including your opening hours, address, website and phone number is a useful idea in case some of the menus floating around out there lead to reservations.
Updating a Menu
Make changes to your menu every six months or so. Take note of the dishes that sell well and consider featuring them more prominently on your menu. Weed out some of the poor performers and try rotating new dishes in to see if they go down well with diners.
Accuracy and Misrepresentation
Be careful not to misrepresent any of your dishes on your menus. If you provide pictures of your dishes then they should be served looking as close to what is portrayed in the picture as possible. Don’t make false claims on the menu about portion sizes, ingredients, nutrition or style of cooking or you may run into trouble with your customers or the law.
It is amazing how many menus that you come across that contain mistakes. Have your menu checked over thoroughly by several different people to make sure that it doesn’t contain spelling mistakes, pricing mistakes or other errors.
How to Design a Menu
You can throw your own menu design together using Microsoft Word but it is likely that the results will be amateurish in appearance. You can also find free restaurant menu templates online that can get you started, However, by far the best option is to use a professional design service that has a good track record in menu design. Ideally you should also have photos of key menu items taken by an expert in this field.
Unless you are able to get access to quality, original images to display on your menu it is better to just leave spaces white or blank. Don’t cheapen your image with clip art or other poor design choices.
If you want your menus to be durable then you can consider laminating them. This will help to keep the pages in good condition and allow you to easily wipe them if they become dirty.