Category Archives: Restaurant Menu

How to Design the Perfect Menu

Menu Design

Restaurant review sites and apps are becoming more and more popular. Many people look at reviews on these sites and apps before they dine out. They also view pictures of the menu (or food) that others have posted. If your menu is too overwhelming or even too boring, you may be steering customers towards your competitors. Ask yourself: Is my restaurant menu too complex, simple, colorful, boring, or lengthy? If you answered yes to any of these questions, take a look at these three key tips to help you design the perfect menu for your restaurant.

When designing your menu, be consistent with the theme of your restaurant. A pizza parlor and a 5 star steakhouse should not have the same menu layout or design. There are many online menu generators that you can use, or you can hire a graphic designer to help. You will want to design all menus (desert, drink & entrée) to match. Find one theme, and be consistent throughout.

Although you do not want to overwhelm your customers with 10+ pages of dishes, they would still like to see a variety of options. Dining out has become an unhealthy stigma, and many restaurants are working hard abolish that perception. Customers want healthy menu items, and many people will avoid restaurants without low calorie options. In order to meet every customer’s needs, give your menu variety without being too overwhelming.

Long descriptions have been shown to increase sales. Customers want to know exactly what they are ordering and the ingredients in each dish. Use clear, descriptive adjectives that advertise each dish to the fullest. Pictures are another great way to increase sales. Consider adding pictures to your top selling items or to those that you wish to sell more often.

Remember that you can ask customers for feedback. Create a few mock menus and ask some of your repeat or even new customers what they think. This will help your customers to feel like their opinion is important and it will give you some real insight as to what your customers actually want.

4 Easy Steps to Creating a Menu

Your menu is a critical component to your revenue stream. If you do it right, you can use your menu as a competitive advantage. Use these 4 steps to get started.

  1. Give it a name. Make sure your customers know if they are looking at the breakfast, lunch, dinner, specials, drinks, or dessert menu. Menu names are a great place to work on your branding. Use a graphic designer to personalize the menu and add your own unique touch to it. You want to stand out and be memorable!
  2. Create categories. You certainly want your menu to have plenty of options, but you do not want a customer feeling overwhelmed and taking a while to order. Keep the design simple, engaging, and organized. Make sure each item has a category, title, description, and price.
  3. Customize. The key to customizing your menu is to make the item names and descriptions stand out to a customer. Your menu items were chosen for a reason, so let that be known through intriguing descriptions and images. The more images the better! Customers are more likely to order something that they have a visual of versus an item that they don’t know what to expect. You know you have created a good menu if you see customers licking their lips trying to decide between the options.
  4.  Build a strategy. Promote your most profitable and bestselling items.  Keep these items at the top of your category designs because that’s where most of the orders will come from. Try to use pricing strategies as well. Price seasonally (where appropriate) and do not be afraid to raise prices on best sellers if your margins need a boost.

Once your menu has been created, place it in a professional menu holder  or a simple black menu cover.

If you keep your menus at the table at all times, don’t forget to order plenty of menu clips.

Small changes to your menu can produce big results, so give it a try. What do you have to lose?



Should You Highlight The Mediterranean Diet?

It’s the beginning of the year, and that means the beginning of new diets and exercise plans for everybody. By late February, many people who may have started the year with good intentions have fallen off their plans. One diet that would be easy to handle, as it allows a variety of tasty foods, is the Mediterranean diet that’s been surging in popularity in recent years.

Nation’s Restaurant News reports on the diet, pointing out that it’s less of a specific diet and more of an eating focus “with an emphasis on healthful high antioxidant-, fiber-rich ingredients such as fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains, and healthier fats derived from olive oil, nuts, and seafood.” Both the American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association have highlighted the diet as ways to manage health for years, with it encouraging a variety of foods.

The diet doesn’t prohibit meat and meat products, but just minimizes them, especially in comparison to fish. Olive oil, fruits, and veggies are generally considered tasty components of meals that most consumers enjoy. The concept comes from the traditional diets of those in Greece, Spain, and Southern Italy. It features a significant amount of monounsaturated fats, which have been suggested to lead to a reduction of coronary heart disease risk, improve cholesterol regulation, LDL cholesterol reduction, and features other anti-hypertensive and inflammatory effects.

Naturally, these health benefits are ideal for many, focusing on not just losing weight and gaining more energy, but towards adjusting many ailments. The addition of red wine to the diet adds antixodants with their inclusion of flavonoids.

NRN’s suggestions on how restaurants can include this diet include

Enhance the natural flavor of dishes through herbs and spices rather than salt. Basil, cilantro, ginger and saffron are just a few accents that can complement any sauce, dressing, marinade, soup or entrée.

Boost the use of fruits and vegetables. Bring color and variety to salads and seafood dishes with fresh, seasonal fruits, and add hearty vegetables to chili, soups and noodle dishes.

Provide alternative sources of protein. Use proteins such as omega-3 rich salmon, tuna or shrimp, or make substitutions available in place of traditional meats in entrées and salads.

Use extra-virgin olive oil in place of butter and highly saturated dressings.Use it to flavor salads and drizzle over vegetables and pastas. It can also be used in low-heat food preparation.

Add texture with fiber-rich foods. Infuse texture into dishes by adding fiber-rich beans and legumes into salads and side dishes, and nuts and seeds as toppings.

Replace refined grain breads and noodles with whole grains. Use brown rice, quinoa, whole-wheat pasta and wild rice in place of refined grains wherever possible.

Naturally, a new focus on wine in your restaurant could also find its way into the diets of your customers. Many of the items on your menu might fit with these suggestions, so it shouldn’t take too much to adjust your menu to highlight the diet.