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restaurant menu templates


When looking at a menu template, have you ever thought about the science behind the layout? Have you ever considered that a menu can influence the items you order? Whether it be printed for dining in, tri-fold carryout menus, or an online menu, your menu design is requisite to your menu's success.

Factors that Influence Menu Template Design

1. Menu Hierarchy


The placement of items on your restaurant menu templates has a direct connection to what items you're selling the most of. By understanding the natural eye movement, you can strategize on what items you will feature were to maximize sales:


  • Upper middle: regardless of the menu template is a single page, tri-fold, or bi-fold, the top center of every menu is where guest's eye-balls always end up looking at first.

  • Upper right next to the middle: after looking at the middle, a guest's eye will naturally move to the right due to the left to right reading.

  • Scan to the left: after reaching the end right side of the menu, guests eye scan back to the upper left corner of the menu

  • Left column subcategories: after viewing the upper left, guests eyes scroll down the left column

  • Back of menu or next page: after the initial menu review, guests move onto menus following pages


2. Food Imagery


The phrase go big or go home makes a lot of sense regarding menu templates and design. By utilizing large, 4K quality photos of your food, you will be able to capture the genuine freshness and taste of your items. 


If you want the highest quality images, hire a professional food photographer. The images should be taken in the proper setting with conventional lighting to ensure vividness. Remember to freshly prepare the items for each photo and get the photos taken within 15 minutes of each item being ready.


When it comes to how many items you should feature in your layout, we suggest minimal. Why? Adding too many images can overwhelm your menu designs layout while crushing your guests with too many options.

3. How to Use Bold


Consider using large and bold typography for your items and featured items. Using a nice typography header will add a nice touch to your menu design's appeal. 


When selecting typography, make sure to keep it comfortable to read yet unique. Popular typography styles for menus include:


  • Timberline

  • Cafe Françoise

  • Proxima Nova

  • Baskerville

  • Cheap Pine

  • Raleway

  • Frutiger

  • Lemon Jelly


Aside from bold, try italics or underlining items. These types of menu typographic effects will help in capturing attention.


4. Menu Notations


If your menu has variations like spiciness, vegan, MSG-free, etc., you will need to figure out ways to include this in your menu templates design creatively. 


Look at having a particular set of custom menu icons created that represent each bit of information, and add a legend key on the bottom of your menu layout. When doing the design, make sure that the icons reflect your menu template's theme and colors. 


5. How to list your prices 


Like any business, your pricing and how it is displayed and interpreted is key. To help prevent your guests from searching out the lowest priced items, follow these tips:


  • Remove $$$ symbols

  • Avoid pricing alignment columns

  • Remove zeros, before $9.00 / after: $9

  • Use a lighter color for prices

  • Don't list your items in price order; for example, high to low prices


6. Your Menu Colors


It may sound like a no-brainer, but colors make sure they are consistent with your brand and overall theme when selecting your menu templates. From a senses standpoint, colors trigger emotions. 


When it comes to food, orange is known to arouse hunger, green is associated with freshness, and light colors set a calming, more relaxed mood.  


7. Combine Lines and Boxes


To help improve the menu reading experience, look at ways to arrange and organize your menu template design. By adding creative elements likes boxes around categories, you will bring visual structure to your menu templates, making it easier for your guest's eyes to read.


8. Good Food Descriptions Sell More Food!


The more desirable an item sounds, the higher the chances it will be ordered. In addition to improving profits, a good menu description gives a restaurant the ability to separate itself from the competition. Another advantage of magnificent menu descriptions is you are increasing odds that your guests will order additional items and or come back a 2nd time to try another item on your restaurant menu.


A menu description is broken down into three parts:


  • Name: keep it simple yet unique

  • Items: most prominent ingredients

  • Call to Action: sell the item


Here's an example:


Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie - rotisserie chicken, organic carrots, diced onions baked trimmed with granny's crispy pie crust.


9. Menu Template A/B Testing


After you have the menu template selected and the item descriptions written out, consider having several menu template layouts variations made; with each variation, mix up what items you place in the menu template sweet spots. After you have your menu template variations, test them out for 30 days and see how your sales go. The menu design that has more sales is the winner!




When designing your restaurant menu, take into consideration the nine suggestions listed above. Make sure your menu template is readable, visually appealing, and true to your brand's image. If done correctly, your menu design will create lasting impressions that ensure consistent long-term success!

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