Menu design is one of the most important aspects of your restaurant’s marketing and branding. No matter how good the food, people eat with their eyes before they eat with their mouths. A well-designed menu entices diners and gets them excited for their meal. It also takes advantage of design features like spacing, font, placement, and others to make sure diners focus on dishes you wish to emphasize or promote. With proper menu design, you can create a good impression and improve sales with strategic positioning. Keep these features of a well-designed menu in mind when designing your restaurant’s new menu.
Important Features of a Well-Designed Menu
Positioning of the pages as well as the items on the page are both important in terms of guiding patrons eyes where you want them to go. If you have a two page menu, people are most likely to look at the top right-hand side first. If you have a tri-fold menu, most people first look at the center panel and continue counterclockwise through the rest of the menu. In terms of item placement, people are more likely to order those items which are first and last in a category.
Font and Formatting
Font and formatting are also important in menu design. Cater to your target diner with a font that matches their tastes or needs. If you’re catering to an older crowd, larger font will help them read the menu more easily, for example.
In terms of formatting, one important concept to remember is white space. Only one third of your menu is actually read, and menus that are too crowded can be frustrating to the reader. Keep descriptions of products on the short side, and make sure there’s enough white space to give the eyes room to breathe.
Boxing items is a great way to draw attention to them, but don’t overdo it. Box one in every 8 to 10 items for the best effect.
In addition to keeping item descriptions short, there are a few other good practices to follow. Instead of aligning item prices with the margin, include them in the description. This shifts the focus to the item, not the price. Substitute more creative terms such as “Specialties” for the more generic “Entrees.” Small icons such as stars can also be used as a subtle attention-getter. Use a heart for items that you want to emphasize as healthy or low-calorie, but keep in mind that some may take this to mean the item makes a sacrifice on taste.
Keep your menu fresh by including inserts for limited-time dishes, which gives them an air of exclusivity and keeps guests wondering what will be on the insert the next time they come in. Cleanliness is also important. Throw away dirty or damaged menus to avoid creating a bad impression, or use protective coverings that can be washed.
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