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best menu templates


A Restaurant menu is a direct line of communication with your guests. Showcasing your items to enhancing the restaurant experience, a menu template, and how it looks plays a vital role in how your restaurant is viewed. If a menu template is laid out using menu optimization logic, you too can see lifts in sales.

Menu Layout Optimization for Maximum Food Sales

1. How Your Menu Categories Are Set-Up

Before setting up your menu template, food categories do an in-depth look at each category's items. Pull up your POS reports, get a per ranking list of the top-selling items, and then do a cost check. 

Once you have your data, you can begin fine-tuning the order you display each item per category. Studies show that guests tend to order the top 3 items listed per category. Studies also indicate that the 2nd and 3rd items listed sell more than the first item. 

So with that being said, try listing your top three selling yet highest margin items. If you are a new restaurant, identify the top 3 most unique items per category, list those after 90 days of being open, run a POS report, and do some fine-tuning.

2. Fine Tune the Items Listed

Having options is good, but when too many menu items are listed in your menu template, it can be overwhelming. Another problem with listing many items is it slows down the decision-making process, extending ordering and overall table time.

A defined menu offering will increase the ordering time while making it easier for your kitchen's operation. Try and keep at seven items or less per category. You can also spend more time on the items and how they are described; we will cover menu descriptions later on in this post.

3. Using Your Menu Templates Real Estate

Look at your menu template like investment property. Higher, more desired condos are in areas that are centrally located around restaurants, schools, and parks. Your menu is similar. Where people spend the most time looking is your restaurant menu templates most important section.

According to studies, the center, upper right, and left corners are the top three sections of your menu that guests look at the most. With that being said, those three areas should be where you place your high margin items, specials, and signature items. Also, consider adding upsells and extra, for example, extra bacon for .$99. These simple upsells can add up very quickly!


4. Bringing Attention to Items

Calling out your high margin items is another tactic that many restaurant owners use when designing their menu templates. By making items bold, adding ribbons, switching to Italic style, or adding a box around an item will help in grabbing eyes. 

Remember, though, don't go highlighting too many items. This will take away from the featured highlights and overdo it.

5. Images

Focus on using high-quality images that are professionally taken. When it comes to how many photos you should use, limit it. Look at incorporating several large HD images of your highest margin items. This adds a level of flare that creates demand for a specific item. 

6. Upselling Extra's

A creative way to increase profits is to incorporate your sides, toppings, and desserts into the descriptions. By creatively incorporating your modifiers into the menu templates design, you are asking nicely for more! For example, add an extra side for $1.99 or add a dessert for $2.99.


7. Item Cross-Selling

Besides menu modifiers, adding a frequently purchased line to a description is the perfect way to cross-sell another item. It is suggestive selling and works! Give it a try.

 8. Menu Item Combining

Take a look at your ticket sales and see what items are commonly purchased together. Let's say you notice that with New York Strip Steak purchases, a glass of 19 Crime Cabernet is included. The second most frequent wine is Merlot. Consider adding a "your choice of wine" with the steak to the description, then increase the cost. This delivers value while increasing the chance of the 2nd glass of wine being ordered.

9. Incorporate Colors

Colors are known to trigger emotion while setting the mood. Green for fresh, orange for appetite, yellow for happiness, and red to drive action are the common emotions associated with food and colors. Look at incorporating these colors into your brand and menu template to maximize profits while improving your restaurant's ambiance.

10. Dishes that Allure

In other words, items that grab attention. By placing fancy, high-priced items at the top of each category and your higher margins below them, you may influence guests to order the items below the allure dishes. Why? The items below the first are better priced out and give an impression of a more significant bargain.


The menu template design is one of the fastest ways to kick start sales. Through mindful design variations and attention to your item descriptions, you, too, can create the perfect menu template!

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