One of the most important tools you have in your restaurant is your menu. An effective one requires careful development to maximize its marketing and sales potential. An expert restaurant menu maker can help you with this process if you think your current menu isn’t fitting your needs.
Engineering your menu can help you increase sales and profits at your business. Your menu is your main tool for driving sales. A properly structured menu also has the potential to increase profits by ten to fifteen percent.
This guide will help you make the best restaurant menu possible by explaining the process and providing you with some helpful restaurant menu ideas.
Restaurant Menu Making 101
As a marketing tool, menus should be effective. As long as they meet the requirements, this will happen. In other words, they should be seasonal, visually pleasing, clearly written, diverse, targeted at a specific segment of the population, and reliable.
It requires strategic planning to develop this “silent salesperson”. There are specific menus that should be designed for different groups of guests, those with deeper pockets and those with more shallow pockets. In one season, menus can increase your restaurant’s traffic and bring in more patrons if they are properly used as a marketing tool.
The process of creating a menu used to take more time before than it does today. Modern restaurant technology and tools have made it easier and simpler for restaurateurs to create successful restaurant menus.
Menu Writing: Things to Consider
Make sure you understand the relationship between your restaurant kitchen and your menu. It is important to note that the size and layout of your kitchen will directly influence the menu. The menu possibilities will be limited if you have a smaller kitchen.
Nevertheless, you can still sell a wide variety of food items and services. Restaurants with small kitchens with almost over a hundred items on the menu are not uncommon. Making certain you comprehend how the kitchen and menu work together is the key to utilizing many ingredients.
Restaurant Menu Errors You Should Avoid
If possible, choose clear fonts and avoid using overly descriptive language. Both of these factors can cause customers to wonder if their order is actually as they thought. Especially if the initial item was on the pricey side, they might hesitate and select something else.
Don’t forget that your restaurant’s menu represents you, so always present it in the best possible light.
Pricing Restaurant Menus
For any restaurant to price its menus correctly, understanding the costs of food is critical. As a business owner, be sure you keep your menu prices competitive with other restaurant prices in your area while making enough of a profit.
When you are serving items that are highly seasonal, such as seafood, you should also include the market price on your restaurant menu.
In addition to being clear, credible, and legally regulated, the price must also be reasonable. Price determination is based on a psychological principle: amounts ending with 99 or 95 cents are not important. However, anyone who does not hike the price from 50 cents to 80 or 90 cents is losing money.
It is important to know that the menu is not a price list. Menus that have been designed based on price levels are not the most effective. Each guest should not be influenced by the cost of dinner, but rather by what he or she likes to eat. Mixing up your menu with costly and affordable items is the best way to ensure your restaurant’s success.
Knowing your Restaurant’s Runners is Important
All menus contain such items as “runners” which are popular foods and “unpopular” food items. A runner is a popular standard dish that is recognizable, and they are the best-selling food.
In the long run, you’ll notice that twenty percent of the food sold on the menu accounts for eight percent of the sales. Successive restaurateurs know which food should get a “star” rating. This group consists of menu items that leave the most money in cash registers.
In what way can a dish be made into a star? It should be unique. It is important that customers can easily recognize your restaurant for its uniqueness. In other words, if your restaurant serves a unique dish that is the only one of its kind in the area, you’ll get your goal.
You could even raise the price based on this. As a rule of thumb, the star dishes should be paired with the stars on the wine list.
Menus for Special Occasions
There are specific menus that restaurants create for special occasions. It’s a good idea to offer a prix fixe menu during busy holidays like Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day. A limited-item menu allows the kitchen to prepare a large number of meals in a short period because there are fewer items available at a given time.
During the slow season, a prix fixe menu serves as a great promotion even without it being a holiday. Restaurant promotions such as two-for-one fixed price menus or wine tasting menus are popular. Despite tough economic conditions, these tactics can bring in customers.
Most Common Restaurant Menu Styles
Every online restaurant menu maker offers menu templates that owners, like you, can easily modify by adding photos and descriptions. Although it is an advantage on your end as it saves time and trouble, you must remain focused on the style of the menu you want.
The style you choose for your restaurant must reflect your concept and appeal to your customers. Here are a few common styles you can choose from when deciding on a menu style:
Restaurants with family-friendly menus typically have a bright, colorful layout that can appeal to little ones. A large, readable font is also recommended so that it is easy to scan.
Modern restaurants feature a wide array of menu items, and the designs vary based on the business’ theme. There are also many modern establishments with menus that are stylish, featuring designs, images, and fonts that are designed with care.
Growing numbers of baby boomers are eating out more often than they are cooking for themselves, which makes nostalgia-based businesses more popular. Each page of their menus includes multiple images and has a classic or traditional style.
Furthermore, if you expect your establishment to have an older customer base, you may want to increase the font size so it’s more readable
Typically, upscale menu pages are short and contain only a few items. Pages usually lack images and use details and stylish fonts.
Choosing the Right Layout for Your Menu
In your menu, you want to make the most profitable items appear in the areas rented at the highest rate. Then you can determine how you want to arrange the rest of your menu items based on the sections you want to put in the Golden Triangle. Following this, you will need to select the number of sections you would like on your menu.
Submenus – Menu Sections
It is important to consider how many items you have on your menu and how you can group or separate them to make your menu look better. Could you, for instance, divide the main course sections into appetizers and sandwiches? Are you able to separate it further into beef, chicken, pork, and seafood categories?
It is best to create sections with specific categories so that you can easily help your customers find items that appeal to them.
Particularly in ethnic restaurants where there are menu items that may be unfamiliar to customers, creating menu sections for particular ingredients is vital.
Guidelines for Designing a Menu Layout
In addition to the ones listed above, you should consider these other restaurant menu ideas:
- You may want to create separate sections on your menu for vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free items if your establishment offers a large selection of these options. It is much easier for guests with special dietary requirements to take advantage of this section.
- Separate the dessert menu from the main menu. Desserts are likely to draw more customers away from appetizers if they’re on the main menu. In addition, if you have a specialty dessert menu, you can leave it on the table for customers to browse while they eat, giving them a chance to decide which treats they would like to try.
- By placing a box or border around certain menu items, such as exclusive items or seasonal items, you can draw attention to them. As a result, your special items stand out from your other items, catching your customers’ attention. For added impact, place them at the center of the page.
- It is also recommended to make a separate beverage menu for restaurants that offer a large selection of beverages. Consider including popular non-alcoholic beverages such as tea, lemonade, and sodas on your main menu.
What is the ideal number of pages for your menu?
In most cases, the number of menu items you have will determine how many pages you have in your menu. Menus, however, need to be kept to a minimum. Your customers might feel overwhelmed if you have too many pages on your menu.
The two-page menu is the most popular type of menu, as it gives you plenty of space for listing your menu items without being overwhelming. Instead of using multiple pages for your restaurant, you can opt for a larger one or a unique design.
How To Design A Restaurant Menu
To keep track of your menu items, write them all down on a single page or use a Google Spreadsheet.
Menu design itself does not have to be the first step. It is a bad idea since you will quit the project once you see the blank page. Rather, begin with what you know intimately: your menu items.
Write down all of the meals you serve in an Excel spreadsheet, Google Sheet, or even on paper. It’s so easy to cut, copy, and paste various items into Google Sheets, and the document will automatically save.
Categorize your menu into sections sequentially.
Consider how you might categorize your menu items differently based on their new context. Following the logical ordering of all your menu items, it’s time to start dividing your menu into sections. Just rearrange your menu items until they appear as you desire.
Consider a color scheme that reflects your brand.
Having laid out your menu in a logical manner, evaluate your presentation. Your restaurant’s brand should be reflected in the color scheme you choose. You could do this simply by picking three colors you want to use on your menu, or by deciding that you want the information in greyscale to save on printing costs.
Make sure that your menu items are priced appropriately.
Take a step back and analyze your prices if you’re working from a previous menu. Consider your customer’s perspective. Are you able to afford to adjust the price of this menu item a bit depending on the business data in your point of sale system, especially if the item is a runner?
Give a brief description of each dish.
Make sure you describe each menu item on your sheet. Ask your chef what inspired each meal, where the ingredients came from, and how much time and effort it took to make each item.
A minimum of one adjective should accompany each menu item. Descriptions such as tasty buns, delicious meatloaf, and refreshing drinks may seem like a little effort, but it’s effective.
Placement and menu design should be considered when translating into a menu. It should be brief.
Putting all that detail on a sheet into a menu design is the hard part. Providing that sheet makes the life of a designer so much easier.
Alternatively, you can download menu templates from Microsoft Word, Microsoft Powerpoint, or the Adobe Suite.
Be careful when adding photos. Food photographers may be needed.
Many restaurants commit this error. As you start to add more and more to your menu, you get a sense of what you need. You know that white space is good for menu design and that the more pictures or icons you include, the more distracted the customer is from your actual content – the dishes and these amazing descriptions you just provided.
Including photos of your most profitable menu items is a good idea, but the photos must be of good quality. Food photography may require hiring a professional; a smartphone is not appropriate for taking these photos.
You can ask a friend or hire a professional to take the perfect picture of your menu after you’ve perfected your food presentation skills.
Design a mockup for fonts, margins, alignment, and overall layout.
Possibly, you have a few photos in mind, as well as a general idea of the layout of the page and the colors. It’s now time to put everything together to create your restaurant menu.
In this case, you may hire a menu designer or turn to online templates to get a quick start on your menu. Iterate constantly, and don’t be afraid to ask family, professionals, friends, or even your existing customers for advice.
In addition, updating your menu shouldn’t be too hard. You may have to do this whole process over again should you not leave room for adding and removing menu items, particularly when your menu changes throughout the year.
The menu design will be remembered by many guests, including regulars. Be sure the menu design is easy to update, so you won’t have to redesign it over and over.
Ensure that everyone has approved content and design.
Your restaurant menu is ready. Make some more. Share with your business partners a few design options, and then let them decide on which design is most appropriate for your restaurant brand.
Providing detailed information about each menu item is important to stakeholders, as well as pricing and brand consistency.
Select the menu that you are most interested in after you’ve gone through the approval process. A restaurant menu software provider could help you decide which design will generate more sales.
Ensure that the final design is proofread and printed.
Your restaurant menu is ready to be printed. Please take a moment to have your menu proofread and send it to a friend or colleague who hasn’t looked at it for a while. Misplaced commas or small typos can negatively affect how customers perceive your restaurant.
In the event you skip this step, you may waste a considerable amount of money on printing menus that will only be thrown out.
The management of a restaurant can present challenges, but it is also extremely rewarding at the same time. Having the perfect menu is crucial. Customers come to your restaurant for the food and that is what pays the bills.
Adaptability is key. An item you thought would be popular in the kitchen may turn out not to be so. Periodically modify or add items if necessary. In the end, it’s still your restaurant.