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menu design for restaurants

14 Secrets for Full-Flavored Restaurant Menu Designs

On average, your guests will spend 2 minutes looking at your restaurant menu design. Make sure that what your guests are looking at best represents your restaurant's brand and food.

It Starts With Menu Design Basics

By putting effort and time into your restaurant menu design, you will be able to better sell more of your higher-margin items while creating memorable experiences that will keep your guests coming back.

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1. Limit Options

Too many options in your food menu templates create decision paralysis. More options also increase table times and can be inundating for guests. Look at limiting the items per category by seven options.

2. Don't Over Use Photos


One photo next to a menu item can increase sales by 30%, but you don't want to overdo it. Use photos to your highest profit items and limit photos to no more than one per page.


When using photos, make sure they are HD and professionally taken. Don't use stock photography because that is not your food.


3. Remove Dollar Signs


The Center of Hospitality Research found that guests spend significantly more at a restaurant where restaurant menu designs do not include the $$$.


Because dollar signs subconsciously are connected to cost, remove them from your menu design! You want to focus on food quality and flavor, not the price!


Don't add a dotted line from the menu item to the price. It reminds guests that they're spending money.


4. Tell Your Story


Longer restaurant menu descriptions will sell up to 34% more food. The better you describe it, the more guests will consider ordering it.


Try to evoke their senses with descriptions that paint a picture. A powerful menu description reads like "hand-breaded and fried then tossed in jalapeno ghost-pepper hot sauce."


5. White Space


Don't jam-pack your menu pages with text and images; it will overwhelm your guests. Keep at least 1-inch margins around the edges of the menu design, and don't pack text too close together. Another triumphant trick is to put empty space encompassing an item to bring notice to it. 


Rule of thumb: items with large profit should be beset with white space


6. Make Your Restaurant Menu Design Pop


Highlight menu items that generate the most revenue by putting a box around them, making them a different color, or putting them in larger bolder text.

Indecisive eaters will be more included to go with a menu item that is essentially chosen for them.

7. Choose Appetizing Colors

The colors that your menu design uses has a direct connection to the items ordered. An example of this is red and yellow. Many times a restaurant menu design will feature shades of yellow and red because red drives appetites and yellow grabs attention. 

8. Attraction Dishes

Add an expensive fancy dish to offset the cost of your high-priced items. After a guest sees a $260 lobster tail, that $75 New York Strip doesn't appear too expensive.

9. The Three Spots


If you drew a heat map on your restaurant menu design, you would find an eye movement pattern. Guests move from the middle of the page to the top right and end on the top lift. With that in mind, these areas should have dishes with the highest profit margin.


10. Text Sizes


Make sure your text isn't too small and that the background and text colors have enough contrast. Be mindful of those who are colorblind as well when picking a color theme.


11. Menu Size


The size of your menu needs to fit your table size. A huge menu on a small menu looks silly, not to mention hard to hold. 


12. Pricing


When you emphasize price, you are taking away from the taster and flavor. This low-price tactic attracts cheaper guests and can significantly affect your average ticket sale. Try removing these low priced menu design promotions, and lead with the item name and descriptions. This builds value in food quality.


13. Review Your Two Cheapest Items


Most guests won't settle for the lowest-priced items. Often times, the cheapest items are perceived as low quality. Take advantage of this by increasing the price of the second-cheapest item because many times, the second cheapest item is ordered the most.


14. Chose Print Materials Carefully

All your menu design optimization will be for nothing without professional printing. Choose a thicker paper type with a glossy finish. 

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