If you are running a restaurant, you must have noticed that the menu is probably the first thing that all customers look at. A well-designed restaurant menu is a key to any restaurant’s marketing plan. Your menu not only expresses your restaurant’s personality but also established your budget and promotes profitability.
Your restaurant’s menu is your prime means of representation. At its basic, your restaurant menu will show the types of food that you are serving and their corresponding prices, but as the manager or the restaurant owner, you know that it offers much more than that as long as you do it right.
When designing your menu, you want it to immediately capture your customers’ attention once it is handed to them. One way to do this competently is to use the golden triangle method.
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The Golden Triangle Method
When your customers look at the menu, their eyes usually move to the middle part of the menu before traveling to the top right corner and then to the top left. This movement of the eyes when looking at the menu has been dubbed the “Golden Triangle” by menu engineers. These three key areas are where the dishes with the highest profit margin are usually placed.
The three points of the golden triangle all serve a different purpose:
The Middle: When looking at the menu, most customers will look at the middle part first. Tactically, this is the ideal place to put all your unique or limited menu items.
Top Right: The second place the eyes usually go when looking at the menu in the top right corner. Most restaurants typically place their main course items and entrees at this part.
Top Left: The final place that the eye settles on when looking at the menu in the top left corner of the page. This is where you will, in most cases, find appetizers. They make it like this so that when the customer is looking at the main course items or the entrees, they can shift to the top left corner and look at the appetizers.
How to Layout Your Menu
When designing your menu, you want the items and dishes with the highest profit margin to be in areas where the customer can easily see when they go through the menu. When creating the menu, there are various things that you should consider, such as:
The menu style
It is important to keep in mind that your menu is your primary mode of representation. You want it to represent your business’s concept and appeal to all your customers regardless of their age, gender, class, or ethnicity.
Here are the most commonly used styles that you should consider to help you choose the best style for your menu:
Upscale: Upscale menus are normally short and have only a few items listed on the page. They have very few, or no images on the page and are usually very detailed, and are written in stylish fonts.
Child-friendly: This type of menu usually has lots of pictures and is commonly used in family-friendly restaurants. The color used in child-friendly menus is usually bright, and the font used is large and, at times, bold to capture the child’s attention.
Modern: This type of Menu style is usually designed based on the theme of the business. The font color and size used in the modern design are usually dependent on the restaurant theme.
Nostalgic: Most businesses have embraced the nostalgic design, and the design is becoming more popular by the day. This type of menu is usually rustic, has several images on each page, and uses an old-fashioned style. The font size used in this type of menu is usually one that can be read easily by the elderly.
Writing great food descriptions is a great marketing strategy, one that you should embrace on your menu. A good description can persuade the customer to try out the dish, provide important information to customers with food allergies or alternative diets. A great food description can also help the customers understand what they are ordering and find dishes that appeal to them.
Image used in the menu
Adding high-quality images to your menu can help the customers know what to expect. It is important that you only include your own photos on the menu. Do not go for stock images unless it’s a generic dish that can conform to a standard image.
Tip: Make sure that the images are of high quality and include images of only on your major dishes or high-value items.
Choosing the color scheme
The colors that you incorporate on your menu greatly impact the customer’s taste and preference. Although most businesses choose to go with their restaurant’s theme, it is important that you choose your colors wisely when designing the menu. For instance, bright colors like yellow, red, and orange can significantly increase your customer’s appetite, while dull colors like purple and blue can make them less excited about the food.
Psychologically speaking, the colors orange and yellow reflect energy, creativity, increased mental activity, and the feeling of being comfortable and happy. When designing your menu, it is advisable to incorporate these colors to take advantage of their effect on the customer’s psychology. Also, make sure that you are keen to ensure that the colors you choose match your business’s brand and overall theme.
The font you use on your menu will depend on the style you choose. For instance, if you decide to go with a child-friendly style, you will have to use a font that a child can easily read and understand.
The most common font used in most restaurant menus is the Helvetica. Being one of the most recognizable fonts in the world, it is perfect for all the menu styles you choose. It is also known for its safe, neutral, and accessible style making it one of the best fonts to use for all audiences.
The size of your menu will depend on the number of items you have on your list. If you are looking to have very many items on your menu, you should consider having separate menus for dessert and drinks. You can also consider having another Menu for kids in order to make the size of your menu more manageable. It is important that you maintain your menu to the standard paper size of 8.5” x 11” to make it easier for the customers to read through it.
The standard number of pages should be included in a menu 4 with a separate page for the desserts and wines. This is to make it easy for the customers to view all the items much easier.
Additional Tips for the Menu
There are a few things you must keep in consideration while laying out your menu such as including your best-selling items or those that you want to increase their sales on strategic positions on the menu with the golden triangle method in mind. Apart from that, depending on your restaurant’s theme, you must arrange your menu in columns when designing the menu.
Make sure that when listing a signature item, you list them in a way that will capture the customer’s attention. To do this, you can box a section and add the image, label, logo, or description of the item. Also, when designing the menu, you want to have a separate menu for desserts and beverages. This will make it easy for the customers to go through them.
Lastly, favor your customers. When drafting the menu, you should always have your customers in mind. Understand that not all customers have the same taste and preference and others subscribe to different diets, therefore, while listing your items, make sure to give them proper designations; for instance, you can add a tag on the side to mention vegan diet, gluten-free menu, etc.
There is no specific number of items that should be included in a menu. However, one should not include too many items on the menu to make it hard for the customers to read through it and make a choice.
To create an effective menu, you first have to consider the menu style that you want to use, the description of the food, the images you want to include in the menu, the color or theme of your menu, the font size and color, and the number of pages you want your menu to have.
The menu should have the name of the item, the price, the item’s image, and a description of the item.
Your restaurant’s menu is your prime means of representation. At its basic, your restaurant menu will show the types of food that you are serving and their corresponding prices, but as the manager or the restaurant owner, you know that it offers much more than that as long as you do it right. Make sure that your menu appeals to the customers and that the item you have included in your menu is served according to the specifications/description. This will help you maintain your customers and gain new ones through referrals.