Ultimate Guide to Create Restaurant Menu Design

Cover artwork created by Desislava Danova

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Having a stunning and attractive restaurant menu design is crucial in the restaurant industry. The look is always one of those factors that affect the effectiveness of the service in your restaurant.

Even though a list of dishes seems like a small thing, it can make or break the attention of your customers. Hiring a professional graphic designer would be a good idea. However, you can always design a good one on your own as long as you know what to do.

According to research, a well-engineered menu helps boost your restaurant profit to 15 percent. Thus, we will show you things when it comes to designing a restaurant menu.

 

Creating a menu at a glance

Making a restaurant menu design on your own might seem intimidating. However, the steps are short and simple once you know what to expect.

Before starting anything, you better know the list of food and beverage items and write it down on a spreadsheet. If necessary, you can split the list into several sections, such as breakfast, lunch, and dinner, for instance. Feel free to add more sections, such as entrees, appetizers, desserts, and so on.

Pick a layout for the design. You can learn the behavior of your customers while using the card. Studying menu engineering is a good place to start.

As mentioned earlier, hiring a professional graphic designer is such a good idea. But you can always make it on your own by using a template or a design maker app. Once you design your food list, don’t forget to save as a PDF and print it out.

Those steps above are the basic process to create a restaurant menu design. In the below section, we will break down the details further.

Created by Made Shop

 

Creating a layout for the menu

Talking about the design of the menu, the eyes are easily drawn to some spots on the paper. You can optimize those areas by putting your most popular foods and drinks.

The spots are called the golden triangle. So, what is the golden triangle?

As its name suggests, the Golden Triangle consists of three spots on the layout that the customers may look at first.

  • The middle is the first place your customers will look at. This is an excellent spot to put your special dishes or limited offers.
  • The top right is the second place where the customer’s eyes would go next. Commonly, restaurateurs put main courses or entrees at the top right of the card.
  • From the top right, the eyes will look at the top left. This is why restaurants always put appetizers and other foods or drinks that boost your profit on the top left.

Understanding the rule of the golden triangle allows you to arrange the layout easily. Those spots mentioned above are excellent for popular drinks and dishes that boost your profit. The next thing you need to figure out is the list sections.

Using boxes is also a good idea. It highlights your high-value offers. This is also a reason why making sections is one of the essential things from a restaurant menu layout.

Tips to create a menu layout
If you plan to layout your restaurant menu design on your own, a few other things are worth considering. Checking out some restaurant menu ideas on the internet will enrich your references. However, you may get overwhelmed just by looking at the pictures without knowing the basics.

Created by Valerie Durak

 

Choosing menu sections

You need to create different sections on the card. It helps the customers to know where to look. Before dividing all items into several sections, you first need to group them according to a specific term.

The easiest way is to group the drinks and dishes into different sections. After that, you can split each group into two sections or more. For instance, you can create coffee and non-coffee sections for the drinks.

Meanwhile, you can go with noodles, vegetarian-safe dishes, seafood, and so on. Being specific will help a lot in making a restaurant menu design. Menu sections according to the main ingredients – such as pork, chicken, or beef – are essential, especially in ethnic restaurants.

Created by Human.

 

Make room for Desserts

As mentioned earlier, you must divide the items into several sections. Sections are crucial for desserts. According to studies, putting desserts on the main list won’t drive customers to order your appetizer. Meanwhile, separating desserts on another list allows your customers to browse during their meal.

Separate the drink selections

If your restaurant comes with a series of drink items, you better make a separate section for them. Those selections take up too much space.

Other than that, you also need to make a clear section of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, coffee, milk, tea, juices, and so on. Separating the beverage section also makes the menu design more interesting.

Special-food sections

Do you plan to put vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free items? If you do, you should make a dedicated room for those options. Keep in mind that sections make it easier to find what they look for.

Another interesting idea is by creating a specific spot for certain items. It will be a good place to introduce your seasonal food or special dishes. That kind of food will make a good appearance at the center of the menu design.

Created by Badal Patel

 

How Many Pages Should You Make?

So, what is the ideal number of a restaurant menu? Generally, it depends on the number of your food items. Less is more. Too many pages may overwhelm your customers. The most common type of menu design list comes in two pages with plenty of room for the list of beverage items. The information is commonly stated as minimal as possible.

For a more modern look, one piece of a large page is more interesting. It gives a unique design and skips the overwhelming.

Created by Erika Luisetto

 

The Most Popular Menu Styles

Some restaurant owners chose to neglect this aspect. Meanwhile, your card style reflects the concept of your business. Even though the options are abundant, there are a few of the most popular restaurant menu design styles you can choose. Each style shows a strong personality that may suit your targeted audience.

Modern style

The menu design with a modern style comes in a wide array of options. The design depends on your business’s theme. Still, many establishments with a modern style feature a sleek look with an interesting infographic, custom images, and stylish yet readable fonts.

Created by Choi Hwanie

 

Upscale

Meanwhile, if you prefer something with a more upscale impression, you need to make something short. Generally, it only has a few options on the page. There is no image on the page, while the fonts are stylish and detailed.

Created by Human.

 

Nostalgic

Nowadays, people love to go to places with a nostalgic vibe. Besides the food, the place is what makes customers want to come over.

However, you won’t be able to nail the vibe without providing a well-designed nostalgic restaurant menu. The most common thing you will see from a nostalgic restaurant is an old-fashioned style along with several pictures on one page. Other than that, the fonts are larger than another menu design on the list.

Created by Gabriela Hernandez

 

Child-friendly

Building a family-friendly restaurant is another level of planning. Typically, the restaurant menu design comes with various pictures and bold colors. Those aspects capture the kids’ interest. The use of large fonts is also a good idea.

Created by Aria Dimaano

 

Styling the Menu

Describing your food

The food description could make or break your customer’s courage to order. As its name suggests, your menu description should provide enough information about essential ingredients, food allergies, or alternative diets.

Serving ethnic food items is quite popular nowadays. This thing should come with sufficient information about how the food is made and the main ingredients.

Feel free to also describe the texture and taste of the dish. Instead of writing the plain ingredients of certain food, you can use some adjectives to write a food description.

Created by Isadora Werdesheim

 

Using images

Depending on the style of your menu, images are crucial. Images help your customers to know what to expect from every menu you wrote on the paper. However, too many images will also break the attractiveness of your menu design.

Studies suggested that lots of images on the list were associated with low-quality and low-cost restaurants. So, how should you use images on the menu?

Be sure to always use high-quality pictures. Your customers won’t bother to consider buying blurred or grainy images on the card. Generally, you can use two images per page. More than two images are suitable for family-friendly restaurants.

Only use images for the most popular items. Hiring a professional food photographer is highly recommended, especially if your budget allows it.

Using pictures from social media seems like a good idea. However, if the images are not yours, you better call the owner for permission first.

Created by Jihad Yanuar

 

Color scheme

Creating a restaurant menu design is not an easy-breezy thing. Doing a series of things is crucial, considering it can make or break your business.

Other than deciding the style of the menu design, you have to choose the color scheme. It sounds like designing a house, but somehow this can be more personal. Your design makes people want to come back or won’t bother to revisit your restaurant in the future.

Generally, the colors you use for your restaurant menu design represent the personality of your business. According to research, some colors affect the appetites of your guests. Thus, be sure to pick the color accordingly and carefully.

For instance, red, yellow, orange, and other bright colors increase appetites and create an exciting vibe in the room. Meanwhile, choosing cold colors like purple and blue may tone down their excitement about food.

Just like designing a home, the color scheme you choose should be consistent and complement each other. Also, be sure to make it look perfect to your brand in the first place.

Choosing electric blue for a coffee shop menu design seems odd. Keep in mind that colors represent your brand and the targeted audience. It is crucial.

Created by Giovanni Bordé

 

Font and Typography

Choosing the font and typography is the next step you should get through after determining the color scheme. The colors should also fit the font style, even though it is not too crucial.

Why should you pick the right font? What is the right font anyway? According to graphic designer professionals, a well-thought-out font helps facilitate sales big time.

When choosing a font, be sure to write the names of foods and drinks in a larger size than the prices. If you do the opposite, customers will automatically find the cheapest option instead of what you suggested.

Writing the item names will also be better by using uppercase and bolded letters. Meanwhile, stick to lowercase and regular styling for describing each item. It allows easier reading.

Should you write or remove the dollar sign? You better remove the dollar sign. According to studies, dollar signs come with a negative connotation. It makes customers reconsider making a big purchase.

Generally, bigger fonts are better. Anyone can read large texts. Meanwhile, if your audience is older or younger, increasing the font size will benefit you. Also, they are easier to read.

Created by Darling Visual Communications

 

Conclusion

Now, you have created the menu design for your restaurant. The next step is to print and display your list of food and beverages to the public. 

You have read all things to consider when designing a restaurant menu. After checking various ideas on the internet and reading the entire tips from experts, you at least learned something by now. A few other things are worth considering. For instance, the presence of symbols or icons is essential. It helps differentiate types of items easily, such as vegetarian, gluten-free, fish, non-coffee, and so on.

We also agree that opening a business without going online is such a waste of sources. Thus, you better make the online version of your menu design so that everyone can read it comfortably through their phones.

And this is the end section of things to consider when it comes to a restaurant menu design.

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