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Not only the content, but also the design are important when creating the menu! On average, a guest in a restaurant spends six minutes studying the dishes, drinks and seasonal offers. During this time, they decide whether to return to the menu after the main course, whether to opt for a small appetizer or the menu of the day, and what they expect from the advertised delicacies.
With the feel and design of the menus, you convey the image of your establishment. After you have already compiled the appropriate dishes and prices when creating the menu, you now have to translate the look and concept of your restaurant into an appealing design - regardless of whether you use a menu with insert sheets made of paper or supplement your menu with boards.
First and foremost, a restaurant's menu fulfills an informational function: your guests want to know what dishes you offer, what specials you have, and how much each dish and drink will cost. To ensure that your menu fulfills this function, you should pay attention to two things:
Readability of type
A good menu uses an appealing font that matches your logo and concept, but is still easy to read. You should avoid squiggly fonts, as well as particularly small fonts. The lighting conditions in restaurants and bars often have a negative effect on the legibility of the menu, so it's better to go for a larger font. Which font is ultimately chosen is a matter of taste and depends on the design concept.
Structured arrangement of dishes
If your guest gets lost in the endless list of dishes, you will lose him as a satisfied customer! Group your dishes and drinks logically and clearly so that the reader can see at first glance where he has just opened the menu: if he has landed at the desserts, he knows that he will probably have to scroll to the beginning of the menu to get to the starters. Highlighted headings, lines or boxes make it easier to find your way around and subtly point out your special offers. For restaurant menus, it has proven effective to staple the changing daily or seasonal menus at the top of the menu. This is followed by appetizers, main courses and desserts. Beverages are divided into coffee, soft drinks, and alcoholic beverages and listed afterward.
Separate the offers that are particularly important to you from the regular menu and make table displays. These will attract guests' attention more easily.
It's not just through your recipes that you let your culinary vision speak: The design of your menu should perfectly match the interior design of your establishment. Do you run a website or have a social media channel? The menu is virtually an offline version of these communication tools, for which you need an equally appealing and professional exterior.
Din A4 has long since ceased to be the only format to consider for a menu: menu cards come in many different colors, formats and materials. Choosing the right format depends largely on the scope of your food selection and your clientele: traditional restaurants still resort to the Din A4 format in booklet form, as it fits well in the hand and serves the habit of the guests. Venues with experimental cuisine and small offer can also use unusual folds in square form or flyer-like menus. In cocktail bars, there is often little space on the tables, which is why tall, narrow formats have proven their worth here - wooden menus are a particular highlight. Square formats are also well suited, as there is enough space here for appealing pictures of the delicious cocktails.
Font, image selection, color choice and arrangement of image and font develop a very specific effect on your guests. Many different colors cause a certain restlessness on the menu and make your menu look confusing and cheap. When it comes to colors and fonts, less is more. Use a maximum of three different colors and two different fonts to achieve an appealing result. The color spectrum should fit harmoniously into your room concept: Teak look, houseplants and tropical deco go perfectly with warm green tones, and pastel colors look especially nice with creamy white walls and furniture.
On the Internet, restaurateurs can sometimes find free design templates for menus that are easy to edit with design programs such as InDesign or GIMP. However, your menu card will be more individual if it is created by a graphic designer based on your concept and logo.
While photos are welcome in burger menus, ice cream menus, and cocktail menus, they are less common in restaurant menus and can quickly look like fast food. To still create a varied image for the guest, you should rely on graphic symbols. The mandatory listing of additives and allergens can be solved more elegantly with graphic buttons than with the classic numbering listed at the end of the menu. It is also possible to label vegan, gluten-free or vegetarian dishes using appropriate icons. The icons should be clear enough for your guests to grasp the meaning, even without having to look at the legend at the end of the menu.
The last tip is actually self-evident for experienced restaurateurs: make sure that the menu does not arrive at the guests' table crumpled, dirty or dog-eared! The menu represents you and your establishment as much as the staff and the interior - a worn, dirty menu leaves an unattractive impression on the guest. Opt for wipeable cards or inexpensive paper cards that are easy to replace. Menu covers protect the card paper from food debris and make it easy to replace individual sheets of card.
Encourage your staff to wipe down all menus at the end of their shift and check for damage. This way you can be sure that only flawless menus reach the guest.