Leading Menu Design Ideas for Restaurants

Lauren Christiansen9/8/2021

What Are Menu Design Ideas?

Food menu design is a growing trend in the restaurant industry. Menu design is a creative process that is not just limited to printing a list of dishes in a restaurant. It is a combination of art and science in the form of a visual representation of a restaurant's food and beverage offerings. The design of a menu in a restaurant is a vital component of a restaurant's marketing strategy.

What are Menu Design Ideas?

What restaurant owner doesn't want a great-looking menu? An awesome menu design can increase profits and enhance the restaurant's brand. While designing a menu may seem like a no-brainer, it's actually a complex and meticulous task. It requires knowledge of design trends, color schemes, and even psychology.

With optimized menu engineering, restaurants can stand out among the competition. However, this process is overwhelming if you are unfamiliar with it or new to the restaurant world. Not to worry! Here is some insight into the importance of a great menu layout, along with some top menu design tips.

Why are Menu Design Ideas Important?

The menu is the face of the restaurant. Customers probably won't spend 15 minutes looking at the restaurant's architecture, but they will spend that time reviewing the menu. You may think customers don't care about the way the menu looks as long as the food is good. Sorry, but this is untrue. Humans absolutely respond to certain patterns, color schemes, layouts, formats, and font sizes. Most likely, they don't even realize it.

This is why menu engineering has become an art form for many restaurants. With the right set of design tricks, you can get customers to spend and eat more. This does not require illegal practices or slimy tricks. It is simply about good old-fashioned design skills. With a set of best design practices, you can increase profits, save money, and improve customer satisfaction.

4 Outstanding Menu Design Idea Tips

Beginning any new design project is tricky, particularly when it comes to menu creation. Maybe you have limited experience in this field and are unsure of where to begin. Don't worry; many available vendors can help you carry out this project. However, you still need to pick a design scheme that aligns with the restaurant brand. Here are some menu design ideas that can lure in customers and increase sales.

1. Strategy

Every new business process requires a strategy, and this includes creating menu templates. Don't think about the menu as a list of items and prices. It's much more than that. A strategically designed food menu is a huge opportunity to improve the guest experience and boost sales. Your overall strategy must seek to tell a story and highlight profitable items to the right guests. Part of your strategy must include -

  • Reviewing Data - Cost to price ratio isn't the only important thing. Use menu analytics to identify popular items and how they are tied to return visitors.
  • Separating Items into Categories - You'll have one-hit wonders, hidden gems, and the greatest menu hits. The goal is to market the greatest hits, upsell the hidden gems, and reassess the one-hit wonders. Any underperformers probably need to go.
  • Assessing Company Goals - What are the restaurant's primary goals? To increase profits? Draw in more customers? Change a brand strategy? These will all determine the scope of the menu design project.
  • Research Professionals - You are a restaurateur but are probably not an artist. Research expert designers in the field and look over their reviews. Assess the competition to see who they use and how they design the menu. Think about how to differentiate from them to do it better.

article image

2. Originality

Any graphic design or web design must be unique and align with the restaurant's brand. Dull and bland menu designs are a thing of the past. There are plenty of available online menu templates to get ideas from.

Some restaurants offer menus in the shape of a book. The minimalist look is also popular, in which there is only one font and two colors. One pizza joint uses an interactive pop-up design in which patrons can pull out pictures of pizza one by one. There are many different ways to go about this. Think about how the restaurant can tell its story through the menu.

3. Simplicity

Extravagant menu templates are not always the way to go. While creativity and a brand-aligned design are great, too many color schemes and font sizes are not. The minimalist approach is growing in popularity because it's preferable.

The human eye can only process so much information at once. Too many decorations and irrelevant information will prevent the viewer from seeing the most profitable and popular items. Here are some other things to keep in mind -

  • Location Matters - The placement of each menu item can impact the sales of that menu item. Keep this in mind when trying to showcase a profitable item or special of the month.
  • Use Pictures Carefully - Pictures are great, particularly when it comes to food. But too many pictures are overwhelming. Include photos to show off the menu items the restaurant wants to sell.
  • Bold Typography is Great - Bold fonts are always a plus. They are easier to see and are a natural attention grabber. Consider using bold typography for at least the titles of food items.
  • Pay Attention to Price Alignment - Make sure the price of each item is aligned with the item itself. Arrange the menu carefully in terms of price to ensure customers aren't focusing on how expensive an item is. A lot of restaurant owners are ditching dollar signs altogether on the menus. Psychologists believe this trick prevents the viewer from thinking too much about the cost.
  • Use Colors Wisely - One or two color schemes are great. Make sure they match well together and aren't offensive to the eye.
  • Organize with Boxes and Lines - Organizing the menu so items are easy to find is crucial. Using boxes and lines is a popular option.
  • Pick a Good Font - Research fonts that align with the restaurant's brand and are easy to read. Stick to the same font throughout the entire menu, if possible.

article image

4. Consistency

Consistency is key when it comes to good menu design. You don't want the same font on one page and another font on the next. Nor do you want one sized picture on the front of the menu and another sized picture on the back. While customers might not immediately notice these discrepancies, psychologists believe they subconsciously do.

Inconsistent design schemes not only draw the viewer's attention away from profitable items, but they also look tacky. Ensure the vendor understands the importance of consistent menu design. Review the competition's menu templates to get ideas and learn how they maintain format each item. Remember, the menu is the face of the restaurant. A well designed menu will ensure your success.