Restaurant menu design is an all-important way of attracting the eye of your potential customers, particularly when your menu is prominently displayed in a window or outside your eatery.
Of course, your amazing dishes are one of the draws, but how you present those dishes can be the difference between walk-bys and sit-ins.
The key to most great restaurant menu design is to keep it simple.
Don’t make it overly flamboyant.
If you’re going to use a gimmick, like making it look like a book or have pop ups within, make sure it’s clearly linked to the theme of your restaurant.
Make sure your layout works with the dishes you offer.
Starters, mains and desserts might work for you, with a few images in between, or perhaps simple black writing on a white page for a sense of class.
However, if you’re a tapas restaurant or fast food joint, this isn’t really going to work for you.
Think about how you want your customers to read your dishes.
Which do you want to stand out? Keep this in mind when designing your menu.
Match Your Décor
This sounds so simple but it’s a quick win that’s often easily missed.
There are so many great restaurant menu design templates in full colour with plenty of different styles.
It’s easy to find something that either complements or cleverly contrasts with your décor.
There are some useful design resources like a free font download or online design apps that you should consider using.
Not only will they allow you to discover a style that suits your restaurant theme, it will cost you next to nothing to experiment with what’s best.
Think of your menu as an ornament as well as a practicality.
You wouldn’t buy table cloths that didn’t go with your restaurant theme.
So why would you design a menu that seems as if it could either fit in at any old restaurant?
Does your restaurant is full of bare brickwork and visible pipes? Then go for an industrial or even a steam punk theme with your menu.
If you have lots of polished wood, find a wood grain background.
If your restaurant is a white tablecloth joint, re-imagine the menu styles of a traditional Italian trattoria.
Remember, the restaurant menu is one of the first interactions your customer has with your food, so keep your descriptions short but vivid, and keep the look enticing yet fully in keeping with your overall restaurant ambience.
Make it a functioning part of your business, not just an add on.
Restaurant Menu Design Ideas That Really Work
Think about restaurants you’ve eaten at yourself where the menu really stands out.
Was it because of a gimmick?
Was it the colour scheme?
Was it that it had changed every time you went in?
As a restaurateur or menu designer, there’s nothing wrong with taking inspiration from your peers.
The important thing is to make sure your menu reflects the theme and personality of your own restaurant, rather than being a vague copy of someone else’s.
Think about the five most striking menus you have ever seen, and take the most eye-catching point about each of them.
Now, it’s time to figure out how you can apply those aspects of clever design work to your own menu project.