Your menu expresses your business’ personality, focuses on your overall business goals, promotes your profitability and entices your customers. To accomplish those goals and do them well, you have to concentrate on your menu engineering. It’s not as simple as listing your items and scribbling a price. You’ve got to think about it. In this blog, we look at some main points of menu design, and why it is so important. Also, we have spoken to the design team to get their thoughts about menu design, so you’ll see their comments in here too!
A menu is an important piece of marketing material. It is the visual representation of your product before the customer has even seen the food or drink on offer. It’s all about creating the right first impression (James).
Colour is definitive! Here are some basic tips when using colour: When your customers see the colour green, it makes them think of fresh food, just picked from the garden. When customers see orange, it stimulates their appetite. Orange is a fun, light colour with delicious qualities. Plus, the colour stimulates the brain by increasing its oxygen supply. Orange is also associated with healthy food. Yellow usually makes people happy, and you can use it on your menu to grab the reader’s attention. Yellow can also stimulate a diner’s appetite. If you use red on your menu, it’s an attention-grabber. It makes people stand up and take notice. You can use red to guide people to the dishes you really want them to order.
Imagination is key! Use creative descriptions like freshly-picked, recently harvested, line-caught, home-brewed and chef-designed to entice your diners. You want consumers to imagine the process of someone bringing the food to the table. Stay away from superlatives as you can bet diners will ignore them because they are too fantastic to believe.
Alignment – keeps it all looking uniform! Also include relevant images – you don’t want to be putting cocktail images on a food menu (Sam). Another trick is to use nostalgia in your description. It’s a powerful driver when it comes to diners. For example, try Aunt Bessie’s Renowned Fried Chicken instead of simply friend chicken. This makes diners feel like they’re ordering something really special – a blast from the past that is worth the money. ‘If there is a lot of information, using boxes to section off areas can break up big areas of text, as well as making it look more interesting’ (Sarah).
The strategic importance of designing your menu can’t be understated. A well-crafted menu can mean the difference between profits and loss. It’s always good to make special offers and weekly deals stand out on the menu to help up sell them (Jack). A strategically planned menu is easy to navigate, skilled at the upsell and the best way to promote your menu items. ‘On a menu it’s important to make the most relevant information stand. Clear titles are essential for the customer’ (Angus). Finally, think of your restaurant menu as your silent salesperson. It can do the heavy lifting for you if you’ve crafted it correctly. Things to bear in mind: ‘A clean and minimal design – too much info or crammed design can put off or confuse the customer’ (Josh). ‘A clean simplistic design, too much on a menu just makes the menu seem cluttered! Clear distinction between key elements (Price, Menu Item, Description) Consistency is key!’ (Mitch).