The one piece of advertising that your customers are certain to see, is essential to the success of your restaurant.
Great restaurant menu designs can enhance a dining experience, help customers make satisfying choices and stimulate appetite.
However, a menu is more than just a list of the dishes a restaurant has available; it’s also an advertising tool capable of communicating a restaurant’s identity and driving profit – if it’s well designed.
A menu needs to be designed intelligently — as a key extension of your brand, it must reflect your restaurant’s personality, showcase your top dishes and excite your guests, all while helping you increase profits.
With that in mind, we give you 8 tips for creating an amazing menu.
Be aware of eye scanning patterns
For years restaurants have been designing their menus under the assumption that customers’ eyes are naturally drawn to the ‘sweet spot’ in the upper right hand corner, and placing their higher profit items there. However, new research suggests that customers actually tend to read menus like a book, starting in the top left hand corner.
Divide the menu into logical sections
Make it easy for customers to search for dishes by arranging items sequentially and in logical groups, starting with entrees and finishing with desserts.
Use photos sparingly
Photos of food are more commonly associated with junk mail flyers and big chain restaurants; not high end establishments. If you do use photos, they should be of an extremely high, professional quality. In general, it’s better to leave the quality of the food to your menu description and your customer’s imagination because not all food photography will appeal to everyone.
Try using illustration
Instead of photography, try using illustration – they are more likely to be universally appealing while at the same time helping to communicate the restaurant’s personality.
Don’t emphasise currency signs
Don’t make customers overly aware of how much they are spending. Studies have shown that customers are more likely to spend money when currency signs are omitted.
Consider using boxes
Boxes draw attention to a group of menu items and are often used by a restaurant to promote dishes with the highest profit margins, like pasta and other carb based items.
Effective typography will communicate a restaurant’s brand and result in a legible menu. Selection of typeface may depend on a number of practical factors, such as the amount of text needed to comfortably fit on the page. Using more than one typeface – say to distinguish the names and descriptions of menu items – may help to guide customers through your menu.
Choose appropriate colours
Select colours based on your target audience and the theme of the restaurant. Different colours have different psychological effects on a viewer, so your colour scheme will help set the mood of your restaurant as well as draw attention to certain food items.
Keep your restaurant fresh by re-evaluating every six to twelve months and making changes to anything that you suspect may be holding you back.
Stay aware of your competition, be flexible and have fun with your menu!