How to design a menu for a restaurant or café?
Basically, a menu is a list of foods and beverages available at a café, restaurant, bar, pub, etc. Along with the names of dishes, you can also see their price and weights (in grams). Creating the right menu is one of those tasks that only seems to be simple. You can’t simply use a random design and expect your customers to like it. You need to come up with stylish design, develop an intuitive structure, surprise your clients with seasonal offers, experiment with new ingredients, etc.
Luckily, we’re here to help you with this daunting task. To get a clear idea of the work lying ahead, let’s summarize what you’ll need to do:
- make a table with the names of your dishes. Make sure the food you’re offering goes in line with the overall concept of your business;
- split the list into sections (soups, main dishes, pizza, beverages, desserts, etc.)
- develop a convenient design;
- use special programs (both offline and online) for creating a menu;
- download your finished menu in vector or PSD and take it to your selected print shop. Be sure to order sufficient number of copies.
Now that we’ve outlined the upcoming work, let’s move to some useful recommendations that will make things easier for you and increase your sales.
Keep it simple
A good menu is a simple one. A menu with too many pages and images can confuse a client and even make them lose their appetite. This is the last thing you want, right? Try to avoid including the photos of your food. Not only does it clutter the menu, but also fails to help the client understand what exactly they’ll be served. Instead of a photo, list the ingredients of each dish.
While it may sound surprising, a big choice is not always a good thing. Offer 4-5 options for each section, whether it’s a soup, main dish or dessert. Don’t forget about extra positions that the client can order on the side (bacon, butter, honey, crepes, etc.).
The Golden triangle rule
The term “golden triangle” refers to three areas of the menu that are the first to attract the attention of customers:
- center. Upon opening the menu, the customer first looks at the central part of the page. It’s a great place for special offers.
- right upper corner. This is where most restaurants place their main courses section.
- left upper corner. Following the right upper corner, the human eye moves to the left upper corner. This is where you usually find starter dishes that make a big contribution to the revenue of the restaurant.
In a design, where text plays a crucial role, one must pay special attention to the choice of fonts. The wrong typography can make the names of dishes difficult to read.
To avoid chaos on your menu pages, consummate designers recommend using no more than 3 simple fonts. Typography is an important part of your restaurant’s identity. The only case when you’re allowed to use intricate fonts is when your place has a sophisticated design (Victorian era, Provence, etc.). Plus, don’t ignore other typography aspects, such as letter spacing and the like.
How would you feel if you were looking at the menu without understanding a word? If your restaurant is popular with foreigners, be sure to translate your menu into different languages (or in English, at least). This is a nonverbal way of saying that you welcome every nationality at your café. Plus, this is a great way to benefit from word-of-the-mouth marketing!
Short vs. long descriptions
When it comes to a menu, even small details (such as length of sentences) matter. If you write several short sentences followed by a long one, the viewer will focus on the latter. At the same time, among multiple long descriptions, the viewer will pay attention to short ones.
Think about how long the descriptions of your dishes are. Experiment with long and short paragraphs to find the best solution.
Avoid currency symbols
Avoid using the currency symbols (€, £, $, etc.) with your prices. A currency symbol affects the customer perception on a subconscious level, making them think that the restaurant is only interested in emptying their pockets. Nowadays, a growing number of restaurants follow this rule, and there is no need for you to stand out!
Menu as an investment
Think about your menu as an employer that sells your goods and services. A menu is one of the first things that establishes an emotional connection between the customer and your restaurant.
Every cafe or bar needs a website to promote its services. Instead of a website, you can create social media accounts and upload your menu online for your audience to see. This is a great way to attract customers on Facebook, Instagram, TripAdvisor, Yelp, etc.
The main ways of creating a menu involve:
а) online services;
b) graphic editors (Photoshop, etc.);
Which method to choose depends on how much time and money you have. If you own a small, cozy café, you can hardly afford to hire a professional designer. Luckily, you have other options! For example, MustHaveMenus, a service specializing in menu design, asks from $99 per page. We have to admit, it’s pretty costly! Let’s focus on cheaper options, such as online services and graphic editors.
If you have zero experience in menu design or lack budget for a professional designer, it’s no reason to give up. It’s 2019, after all! On the internet, you can find smart online services (both free and fee-based) that can do all the work for you! These services offer everything you need to come up with a beautiful menu: customizable templates, fonts, color palettes, and many more. Check out our short list of the best menu generators below!
iMenuPro is a clever platform that allows you to easily create a printable menu without any design skills. How does it work? It offers hundreds of customizable templates that will fit the restaurant/cafe of any style. You can add images and logos from cloud services and edit them right in iMenuPro. With its drag-and-drop interface, IМenuPro can be used even by a kid!
Canva is an expert menu maker that will leave you speechless. With its built-in templates, you only need to add the photos and descriptions of your dishes. Plus, you can choose from a variety of fonts, filters, formatting options, etc. The strong side of Canva is that it allows you to work on you menu as you go. By using apps for Android, iPhone, and iPad, you have the opportunity to edit your design anywhere, at any time!
This amazingly simple service will become your best helper in creating a smart menu for your restaurant. Menugo offers a jaw-dropping collection of templates divided by type of restaurant, theme, etc. How about an Eco-friendly vegetarian menu? Or Sweet cupcake design? Or Spanish theme?
Price: Menugo has two plans. If you have nothing against watermarks, you can use the Free Plan. If you buy the Unlimited Plan for $9, you’ll get a printable menu without watermarks. Plus, you’ll be able to use 200 templates and customization tools.
MustHaveMenus is a versatile platform that can take care of the entire menu design process, from creating a sketch to printing. Choose the suitable template, enter the information, customize your design, and download. Easy, isn’t it? On top of that, MustHaveMenus has a team of seasoned designers who will create a professional menu tailored to your every requirement. Naturally, this service will cost you more, so be sure to check out the prices in advances.
Price: $29/month (online generator) and $99/page (designers).
Adobe Spark is a platform of many talents, and menu design is one of them. Feel free to choose and personalize your template, experiment with modern fonts, upload images from your computer or cloud services, and many more. Adobe Spark is there to make your life easier!
Menu design is an important communication channel between your customers and your restaurant. A menu has the power to enchant your guests or ruin the first impression. With these video guides, you’ll be able to design a nice menu you can be proud of!
Menu for a café or bakery
Check out this video to learn how to create a menu for a cozy café or bakery.
How to make a restaurant menu in Photoshop
Watch this tutorial to become a pro in creating a great menu for your restaurant.
How to create a brochure menu in Photoshop
From this video, you’ll learn how to make a professional brochure design.
Need a one-page menu for your fast food restaurant? Check out this intuitive video guide!
Menu bi-fold brochure
Watch this step-by-step guide to make a bi-fold brochure in Photoshop.
Wrapping it up
A menu is much more than a brochure containing the information about your dishes and drinks. It’s a major communication channel between you and your clients. Plus, it’s a powerful marketing tool that can promote your restaurant every day, without any extra investments. Your menu must make your customers want to return to your restaurant and recommend it to their friends. Yes, all these functions are performed by a few small sheets of paper! Designing a menu should not be taken lightly, especially if you’re making your first steps in the HoReCa industry. You need to put much effort into making a menu a strong side of your restaurant or bar. In this post, we’ve addressed some creative menu design ideas and talked about the cheapest ways to get a beautiful brochure. Unless you’re not yet overwhelmed with information, we invite to take a look at some inspiring templates.
These templates will fit any type of facility, whether it’s a restaurant, family café, bakery, bar, etc. Check them out to get some much-needed inspiration!