How to Design a Menu: 6 Tips to Maximize Menu Appeal

Your restaurant’s menu is the ultimate sales tool. A great design and well-written descriptions can persuade customers to add on an appetizer or two plus drinks, and an unappealing design has the potential to decrease your sales. This is why menu design is just as important as the dishes you serve, your restaurant’s atmosphere, and the staff you hire. If your menu needs revamping or you are not sure where to begin, try these menu design tips to help you get started.

Categorize Every Dish

A menu with long lists of dishes can look overwhelming and crowded. The best way to make your menu look more manageable and inviting is by breaking it down to smaller sections. Separate menu options into larger categories like appetizers, entrees, and desserts. Or, for even smaller chunks, separate your menu items into subheadings like fish, meat, and pasta entrees.

Divide Content Creatively

Along with splitting dishes into categories, visual dividers can further help break down your menu content to make it less overwhelming. Decorative boxes, lines, symbols, and other decorations can make your menu more visually appealing at a glance while breaking up different categories.

Play With Typography

The font or fonts you choose to use can say a lot about your food as well as your restaurant brand as a whole. Try using a different font or color for headers and see how that changes the visual statement your menu makes. Use this as an opportunity to play around and see how to best encapsulate your brand visually.

Use Imagery Intelligently

The idea behind breaking everything into sections, dividing it, and adding imagery is to keep a customer’s eye roving around the menu. The longer a customer studies the menu, the more likely they are to find additional things they want to order. Illustrations, when used well, can help guide a customer’s eye around the menu; just be careful any illustrations do not get in the way of legibility.

In that same vein, also be cautious about using poorly taken photographs of food on your menu. Unless you have extraordinarily high-quality, professional photos, it is better to focus on well-written descriptions of the dishes and leave the rest up to the customer’s imagination. Poorly shot food photos can actually discourage people from ordering that particular dish.

Do Not Add Currency Symbols

It may seem like an insignificant detail, but studies have shown that customers given a menu without a dollar sign or other currency symbol spent considerably more than those who were given a menu with dollar signs. So it may seem insignificant, but you will probably be better off ditching the dollar sign.  Also remember that whenever possible don’t put your prices all in a line to help people avoid price shopping.

Have a Separate Dessert Menu

When going through your menu design, set all your dessert descriptions off to the side. Often, when a customer sees a dessert they want, they are more likely to forgo ordering appetizers. If you create a separate, smaller menu just for your desserts, you could enjoy a good uptick in both appetizer and dessert orders.

For further menu design tips, contact the TerraSlate team. We offer comprehensive menu design services as well as professional restaurant menu printing with our proprietary waterproof paper. Learn more about our menu design services, why our waterproof paper is the best option for menu printing, and more! Contact the TerraSlate team today.

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