Serving up a delicious plate of food isn’t the only thing that goes into running a successful restaurant. From choosing the perfect ingredients to ensuring the presentation is spot-on, a lot of thought and effort goes into creating an unforgettable dining experience. One of the most important elements is menu design. Unfortunately, designing one can be tricky without experience or advice. Continue reading this article to learn some delicious tips on how to format a menu, choose fonts, leverage color schemes, and much more.
Basics of Menu Formatting
Every good menu relies on a solid foundation of formatting to stay organized. Visual elements like clearly defined sections and simple grids help make the information easier to read.
And while it may seem obvious, putting appetizers near the top, main courses in the middle and desserts towards the bottom make it easy for customers to quickly find what they’re looking for. Presenting courses and dishes in an unconventional order risks overwhelming or confusing diners with too much information at once.
Make Your Menu Layout Scannable
One way to ensure a diner-friendly template is to use an easily scanned menu design. Using headers in larger font sizes, such as “Starters,” “Main Courses,” and “Shareables,” draws attention to all you have to offer and ensures nothing is overlooked.
How To Design a Menu That Intrigues and Excites Diners
Creating a menu’s graphic design doesn’t have to be as daunting as it seems. Let’s look at visual strategies that promote sales and keep customers coming back for more.
Choose Eye-Catching Fonts
You want something that captures customer attention, reflects the restaurant’s overall aesthetic, and most importantly—is legible! No one should have to bury their nose into a menu or hold it out at arm’s length just to read the text. Consider using bold fonts for titles or headings and lighter ones for body copy. Seek feedback from staff and trusted regulars about different combinations before committing to a look.
Be sure to also take your restaurant’s overall ambiance and feel into account. If you run a fine dining establishment, you should look for a font that reflects your interior design. Meanwhile, local bars and grills beloved by families and neighborhood locals can use more informal fonts to show themselves off as casual places to unwind and enjoy a meal together.
Use Color Wisely
Colors can convey a certain mood or evoke specific emotions from customers. For example, red denotes excitement or passion, while blue evokes a sense of calmness. Consider how they fit into your interior decorating and menu design scheme. You can draw attention to specific items or add a hint of drama by using white space between sections. You can even forgo color all together, and use black and white to appear modern, refined, or impactful.
Keep It Simple
Too much information on a menu can overwhelm customers, so your menu should only include items relevant to a diner’s needs. If you have a backstory or family history you want to share with your guests, add an extra page or section that doesn’t take away space from the dining options.
Use Pictures & Illustrations
We live in a social media world where diners love to share pictures of their meals and eating experiences. If you offer an item with an especially appealing presentation or name that some may not recognize, pictures are a great way to help customers visualize the dish. Visuals also help to break up the text, making it easier to quickly skim through the menu.
Leverage the Power of Psychology
Did you know that menu design is a form of psychology? You can use plenty of tricks to influence customers and get them to order more. For example, try grouping similar items together so customers can easily compare prices and make informed decisions. Oh, and don’t use dollar signs on your menu. Studies have shown that menu designs that include currency symbolism result in less expensive items being ordered.
It’s About the Little Things
Make time for finishing touches, like:
- Borders around each section
- Item descriptions that add an extra layer of detail without cluttering the page
- QR codes to nightly specials, drink menus, or social media accounts
Don’t Forget About Restaurant Menu Printing
The most important components of effective restaurant menu printing strategies are:
- Paper Stock: Make sure your menu design and paper stock align. Thicker stock provides a more upscale feel, while thinner stocks convey a more affordable and relaxed experience.
- Lamination: Lamination is a nice touch if you have a set menu that you don’t plan to tinker with for seasonal dishes, or fix stains. However, skipping this factor is better if you want to offer constantly evolving options or a kid’s menu with a coloring area.
- Folding: Depending on the number of dishes you offer and the information you want to be included, you need to determine if you want a foldable menu. This also plays an essential role in how your menu is printed.
- Colors and Images: Don’t let low-quality printers ruin a beautiful menu design with dull colors or smudged ink. Make sure you enlist the help of an experienced, professional partner to make the most of your restaurant menu printing needs.
Need Help With Your Menu Design? Turn to Presort Inc.
For over 30 years, Presort Inc. has been the go-to source for creative menu design and quality printing services. Our teams of designers and printing professionals are happy to help guide your decisions and offer helpful advice on how to format a menu that’s sure to increase customer satisfaction.
Reach out today to schedule a time to discuss your new menu design, or submit your order here if you already have one and just need to print it.