This Is How to Design a Menu for Your Restaurant

Did you know that 13,251 new restaurants opened in 2018? And this year is going to be your year.

But before you sink your teeth into running a restaurant (see what we did there?) you have to figure out some essential details. Like how to design a menu.

For fledgling restauranteurs, here are some quick and easy menu design tips and ideas to make a menu that will keep all of your customers hungry for more.

Make a List and Categorize Items

Before you break out your prettiest illustrations and pay a graphic designer, you have to know what you’re going to serve. So, break out Microsoft Word (or Excel, or Google Docs, or even a good old fashioned pen and paper) and write down a list of the items you’d like to serve. Once you have all of your items written down, categorize them.

This will give you a clear idea of how many items you have for each category, which will make it easier to decide how to split your menu. Granted, splitting your menu has a bit to do with psychology. For example, most restaurants should keep their dessert menu separate from the main menu—customers are less likely to order an appetizer if they see desserts on the main menu.

Pay Attention to Eye-Scanning Patterns to Layout Logically

Once you have categories, you can begin to break your menu into sections and lay it out. Take a look at some free digital menu templates to give you ideas and then tinker with some groupings you like.

Historically, menus were laid out on the assumption that the customer’s eye is naturally drawn to the sweet spot in the upper right-hand corner, and so all of the most profitable items were placed there. However, new research suggests that customers actually read menus like a book, so lay out your menu under the assumption that they’ll start in the upper left-hand corner.

How to Design a Menu with Personality and Practicality

Next comes the most important part of the menu: the prices. These are not decided arbitrarily. There are four methods for pricing a restaurant menu:

  1. Ideal food cost pricing
  2. Competitive pricing
  3. Demand-driven pricing
  4. Profitability evaluation

If you’re building off a previous menu, add in your current prices, then take a step back and analyze if those prices are still the right fit based on your new menu’s needs. Or, if you’ve recently boosted your prices, leave space in the menu to explain it—your customers will appreciate the added effort!

Looking for More Great Menu Design Ideas and Tips for Your Restaurant Business?

Figuring out how to design a menu is just one small part of restaurant management, but it’s also the first step toward success. A great menu draws customers in and turns them into regulars.

Need more great ideas to run your restaurant like a pro? Make sure to check out our blog for more great tips!

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