When it comes to marketing specialists, menu design for restaurants has become the topic of passionate discussions that hint of a sophisticated art form as opposed to a casual subject matter. A menu is the first glimpse of what a restaurant has to offer, even before talking to a hostess or a server, therefore, it provides the first impression businesses bring to the attention of their patrons. Given the importance of this factor, we must take advantage of all the available sources of knowledge on the “engineering of menus” in order to reach a level of beauty and functionality that is technically beneficial to the goals of your brand.
A well-designed menu, which highlights the most profitable dishes and looks well organized, combining images and text with the appropriate typography, unconsciously guides clients to sections of the menu that may facilitate increasing the profits of your restaurant, in this way, the menu becomes a powerful tool for sales.
We will now proceed to give you key points on how to create effective and well-thought-out menu designs that will surely lead you to the successful completion of your goals.
The psychology of design and the engineering of restaurant menus
Are you trying to highlight a specific part of your menu? Colors are an excellent way to achieve just that! You can create pictures and shapes that surround features of the menu you would like to bring out, use bright, contrasting colors that help enhance the elements of your overall design so that they can be perceived in easy and pleasant ways. Keep in mind that they should match the same brand image of your restaurant.
- Typography changes your style
It is possible that the use of enticing color combinations isn’t really your cup of tea, perhaps choosing a refined style of paper or bright tones doesn’t fit with your tastes. Typography adds an excellent way to divert the attention of customers to specific sections of the menu, you can change the font style, try using bold or italic formats, experiment with both capital and lower cases and generally play around with the available design elements until you find the correct combination that fits the image you are aiming to present.
Icons, most likely you have seen them through advertisement designs or billboards, they have been used to show gluten-free products, foods preferred by those who adhere to vegetarian lifestyles or that include specific ingredients some diners won’t allow themselves to have such as raw meat. Iconography can indicate, through the restaurant menu, if the dishes customers prefer are strictly limited to a peculiar set of preferences or cater to a variety of yearly festivities, holidays or across the different seasons of the year.
Images for an ideal menu should be chosen carefully. Nice icons that are appealing to the customers can increase the sales of certain products, we must then consider those products with a high-profit-margin in order to attract more customers.
Tips to pick the best menu fonts for the dishes served in your restaurant
When choosing the best font designs, you must take into consideration how certain choices are crucial to establishing visual priorities. Menu engineering is not a game, making mistakes through the implementation of styles that don’t fit the message you are trying to convey could be disadvantageous for your business.
Although it is tempting to fill up the menu with a cacophony of items, a menu that is basically a ‘wall of text’ creates a distraction that won’t encourage clients to order much or anything at all. This works against the interests of both your customers and your place of business. It may take them forever to decide between all the available entries which will cause delays for users who may have already booked tables or those who happened to stroll right in, consequently, you will be serving less customers which will affect the volume of income your restaurant will turn by the end of the day.
Regarding the organization of the menu, it should be noted that it must follow a logic structure based mostly on common sense. The different options must be classified into groups, main courses, drinks, desserts; there should be an underlying sequence that lets clients order appetizers first and then the main courses and desserts by the end of their meal. If, for instance, the main courses appear before the appetizers, you could be missing a great opportunity to close more sales.
And finally, you must be very careful about how prices are displayed on your restaurant menu since, placing radically different prices can cause a plethora of problems. You may end up selling items that display lower prices instead of those that cost more. This keeps satisfied customers from spreading the word about your finest delights, decrease your profits along with impacting your established and hard-earned reputation.
Therefore, avoid placing prices right in the middle of the center of attention of your menu, be subtle, let them go slightly unnoticed. Do your best to let the names or photos of your best dishes to stand out as opposed to other bits of information that may distract customers and create turmoil that may even reduce or slow down the pace of your workflow. The typography used for numbers should be kept in the same size as the words included in the body of text of your menu, it should align nicely with the main description of the dishes being served.
4 secrets you should apply when designing a restaurant menu
Direct attention visually
This key point covers how to highlight what is considered truly important: underline, change the case to capitals, let words stand out by changing to bold styles, use fonts with different colors and include lines or images that drive the customer's attention towards the higher-profit margin elements of your menu.
Don’t skip on the use of the golden triangle
The psychology behind menu engineering indicates that there is a triangle path our eyes follow while holding a menu in our hands. This pattern usually starts in the middle of the page, crossing to the top right of the menu and then on to the left. You should consider placing high margin products in the middle or on the upper right corner, where it is more likely clients will notice them by casually directing their sight right on to them.
On the presentation of prices
Showing a dollar symbol next to your prices is a counterproductive approach, consider not listing them in a column at all. Visual perception is of utmost importance both for the customer and for your business. Menu item prices are a key factor when the time to present your best dishes comes. In fact, experts recommend not to feature dollar signs at all, since in recent studies, it was discovered how menus that include prices without the currency symbol sell 30% more than those that actually show it.
The famous blank space
Have you ever asked yourself why menus have them? Studies show that the famous blank space can help improve the reader's understanding, allow the elements to ‘breath’ and help improve the aesthetics of the menu; it is a sure way to keep clients from feeling overwhelmed and leaves customers with a good, lasting impression of the delicious items offered at your restaurant.
Menu design for restaurants: a final word
In marketing for restaurants, a positive and memorable customer experience means everything to all parties involved, the menu plays a fundamental role in it; that is why we highly recommend placing emphasis on menu designs that are technically efficient, beneficial to the interests of your business and offer flexibility of management as a very persuasive and effective sales tool.