The success of your restaurant depends on a number of factors like its location, layout, and the quality of your staff. Out of all of them, however, the menu you offer to customers could play the biggest role in how much they order from you and whether or not they come back to your establishment. You can use these simple yet great design tips to create a customer-friendly menu that will boost your brand and increase your profits.
Customers are less likely to worry about pricing when they can easily estimate or round up what they are spending.
The readability of your menu determines how easily customers can find dishes to order and how quickly they will be served in your restaurant. It used to be that most restaurant owners thought the upper right side was the most valuable space on the menu. They thought their customers’ eyes landed on that spot first, which is why many restaurant owners would place their best selling or most lucrative items there.
However, newer studies find that most customers read menus like a book, scanning the menu from left to right. With that in mind, you might want to use a layout that is logical and simple with which for customers to follow along.
For example, you can print the list of your appetizers and salads on the left side of the menu and follow them with entrees, side dishes, drinks, and desserts. The back of the menu can be reserved for your alcoholic beverages. This layout allows your customers to know exactly where to look for their favorite menu items and place their orders quickly.
You might be tempted to use a lot of photographs on your menu, thinking that the pictures will tempt customers to order more. In reality, most customers associate photographs with spam or junk mail. They also associate photographs on menus with gimmicks used by large national chains that may not be as high-end as your restaurant.
Instead of offering a picture-laden menu, you should use photographs sparingly and instead rely on descriptive wording and tasteful illustrations to capture your customers’ attention. The descriptions of the food offerings allows customers to conjure their own images of what their dishes may look like. The illustrations also denote your brand better and can appeal to more people than photographs that might turn off customers from ordering.
Special Menu Items
If your restaurant offers menu items that you think deserve extra attention, you might want to set them apart in a special section on the menu. A decorative box printed to the side of the entrees or on the front of the menu can draw people’s attention of these offerings. You can also use icons like peppers for spiciness to signal why these items are special and why they deserve special attention on your menu.
Some of the items you can feature in the special menu area include:
- Gluten-free menu items
- Vegan or vegetarian dishes
- Low-sugar or sugar-free items
- Dishes with locally grown or organic ingredients
The special elements will capture the attention of your customers and help them consider whether or not they want to order these dishes.
You are obliged to let customers know how much the dishes on your menu cost. However, you do not want them to focus primarily on cost and instead feel free to order freely without worrying about pricing.
With that in mind, you should avoid using dollar signs to denote pricing on your menu. Studies show that customers are less likely to order as much from a menu that has dollar signs printed on it.
Further, you should use either whole numbers or one decimal point in the menu’s pricing. Customers are less likely to worry about pricing when they can easily estimate or round up what they are spending. They do not worry what the final bill will cost them.
Finally, you should use a soft neutral background like gray to help the prices blend in with the rest of the menu. They will not stand out in a glaring or obnoxious way. Instead, they will be subtle yet available for customers who want to know how much a dish costs.
These simple strategies can help you design a menu from which your customers will enjoy ordering. You can increase sales and advertise the brand of your restaurant without using gimmicks found in national chains or lower end establishments. Your customers may continue to favor your restaurant when they are offered a menu that is easy to read, logically ordered, and subtle with its pricing.