In any restaurant, the menu is one of the most viewed pieces of material on the premises. In fact, sometimes it will determine whether your customers dine with you or try somewhere else, based on what they see. Aside from the food and prices. A cluttered, dated or plain unprofessional menu design can really hamper your restaurant’s success. Keeping this in mind, how to best design your restaurant menu?
We get it. With so many elements to focus on when running a restaurant, it’s easy to let the actual design of your menu fall by the wayside. After all, you’re in the business of cooking food – not graphic design! That being said, it is important you ensure your menu is selling your food instead of turning diners off. If you own a restaurant, here are our top tips to perfecting your menu design.
Master the layout
When you are placing items on a plate ready for service, you put care and attention into every aspect of the presentation, right? Although food and design are two separate entities, the mantra of how both need to be presented in the right way still exists.
It always pays to hire a professional designer here. It’s crucial your menu truly sells what you have to offer. Elements such as the typeface, spacing, general order, colour use and even the material it’s printed on need to all work in sync. If you don’t have a background in graphic design, then consulting someone who does, can keep you on the right track.
The layout shouldn’t feel too cluttered, which is a mistake many restaurants make. When there are too many options crammed onto a small page, it can feel overwhelming. Keep things simple and easy to follow, which will make life easier for your chefs too.
Keep it appetizing!
McDonald’s famously use red and yellow in their branding, as it’s the colour of their fries and ketchup. That’s not to say you have to go crazy with the paint pot. But factoring in that your menu needs to appear appetising is really important.
Even if your menu design is simplistic and paired back, you can still get stomachs rumbling with the language you use throughout. Lots of descriptive adjectives really help! For example, ‘pie and mash’ is okay. But how about: ‘Hand baked, shortcrust pastry steak and ale pie served with mash potatoes, seasonal vegetables and gravy’. Even if your menu is printed in black and white, you’d still get customers drooling with that!
Pictures are an optional extra, as they will take up precious room on your menu. If you are going to use images, make sure they are your own. Do not stock photography, as this can really disappoint diners when the dish bears no resemblance to their order. If possible, hire a professional photographer so that your food is presented to the highest standard.
The eye is in the detail
Just like when you season your dishes to bring out the best flavours, designing a menu also benefits from looking at the finer details before you go to print. A big one that so often goes awry is spell checking! With free tools such as Grammarly, it literally takes a couple of minutes. It can save a lot of embarrassment or frustration in the long run.
Even if it’s just a rough copy, it’s always handy to preview/critique a basic version of your menu before it is mass-produced. The points you want to be considering include the journey from start to finish (i.e, is the order logical). How durable the material is for the number of people who will be handling it. If the text or images are easy to follow and read and finally, how well it sells your food overall. After all, your menu acts as an advert for each dish! It might seem like a lot to consider, but the more you factor in the customer experience, the better the outcome will be for everyone.
Feedback can be really helpful
Similar to how you might have a menu tasting night where your friends, family or customers give their opinion on your latest dishes. Why not do the same for your marketing? Granted, it’s not as exciting, but asking others what they think about various aspects of your business can be a huge help.
In addition, if diners do comment that your menu isn’t easy to follow or that it’s not very informative, always make a note of it. If one person is saying something it’s likely others are thinking it too. Instead of feeling offended at bad criticism, see if it’s something you can actually work on to improve. By getting into the mindset of your customers, you can deliver the best possible experience. Also, maximising customer satisfaction, therefore, profits too.
Getting the right menu design for your business is important, but why stop there? With Stampede, we can help you understand who is visiting your restaurant too. Using this data, you not only stay in control of who is using your WiFi (no more passwords on a blackboard!). But we can also help you make better business decisions, through the analytics our platform provides. The more in-tune you are with your customers, the better the marketing campaigns and overall experience will be.
Want to learn more? Why not book a call with us?