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custom menu templates



If designed correctly, a menu template can boost your food and drink sales average up to as much as 13.7%. The science behind this is known as menu engineering. This type of menu design considers customers' minds, how their eyes read, and what triggers them to buy.

Menu Template Design Engineering


A lot more goes behind menu engineering. It is much more than an excellent-looking menu. By digging into a guests' psychology and understanding menu template design, you too can move your customers into what they order.


In this post, we are going to cover:


  • The value of selecting the correct restaurant menu template

  • Covering the details and preparing your menu for design

  • The type of menu design needed to lift average check totals

  • How to properly layout out items per category to enhance profitability

  • Menu design elements; boxes and shapes


The Effects of Selecting an Excellent Menu Template


Menu template selection may sound easy, but it is often the most overlooked aspect of opening a restaurant. If a menu template is designed correctly, it will have a lasting impact on what items are ordered more by customers. 


Before Menu Template Design


Before designing your menu, you need to cover the basics. This means understanding what item you will sell, how many categories you will contain, writing out the item names with descriptions, and most importantly, identifying your cost.


When establishing your costs:


  • List out each ingredient required per single serving.


After understanding all ingredients needed per item, get yourself wholesale pricing on your ingredients, then use it to determine each item's exact cost.


From there, it is time to analyze your items to determine your top-selling and most popular dishes. If you are a new restaurant that hasn't opened yet, go with unique items and your signature items. If you are an established restaurant, pull POS reports to identify your top-selling items, add-ons, and drinks.


Once you have your most popular items identified but them in a popularity ranking in one column, your cost in the next column, and your sale price aside from that.


Use this analysis to determine what items you want to highlight, promote, and bring attention to your menu template.


Identifying Your Food Type Categories


The next step is setting up your menu template categories. From a ticket standpoint, look to set up the categories by what you want to sell. So for a typical restaurant, the perfect check would be:


  • Appetizer

  • Dish

  • Side

  • Dessert

  • Cocktail

  • Drink


Creating categories to reflect what you want each item ordered to be from you can better position your menu template for success. When providing concise categories, you will guide the customer through the courses quickly and straightforwardly.

Menu Template Design Basics


Engaging and effective template design comes down to the art of guiding your customer's eyes to what you want them to order. This starts with understanding what grabs attention and, more importantly, what areas of the restaurant menu template they will look at first. 


Eye-Ball Scanning


Anytime you open a magazine, book, or menu, you do a quick scan to see what catches your eye. When it comes to restaurant menus, studies prove that when a menu is opened first, the guest looks at the middle center first and rolls to the upper right then across to the upper right.


Because these three areas are the most viewed, they are known as prime real estate in the restaurant menu design world. Make sure you are using these three sections to place your highest margin items, best descriptions, and specials.


Menu Layout Categories


Because eyes commonly start reading at the top of a page, list your best-selling food categories and items towards each menu page's top. By adding your highest margin, most popular items towards the top, your menu items will be in a position of being viewed. It's simple; more views equal more sales.


Two Page Bi-Fold Menus


Two-page menus are the most common for a reason. They support the natural reading flow of the eye while providing adequate menu design space. By having a properly balanced design, the menu template is easier to read and organized. 


Another plus to two-page food menu templates is you have enough spacing to add one or two images of your high-margin items. This added visual appeal will help to drive additional attention to the items you want to sell more off!


Menu Pricing


How your items are priced is one of the most common parts of what guests look at when preparing to order. By implementing these menu pricing tactics, you will have a better chance of driving focus around quality vs. price.


  • Dollar sign: remove the $$$ from all prices; it removes the subconscious connection to cost

  • Column pricing: remove the right-justified price column

  • Nested pricing: add the price at the end of each description; this encourages customers to read each description before getting straight to the price


Menu Design Elements


Incorporating boxes, shapes, subtle shadows, arrows, and icons into a menu design can make a huge difference to the menu template's overall look and feel. 


An example of this would be to place a thin-lined box around your most descriptive item. Make sure the line color is of high contrasting color, so it is visually engaging. This subtle box will stand out because it is the only item in your food menu template that features a box.


Another example would be to add an icon legend on the bottom of the menu design and weave in these icons at the beginning of an item name. You could have a flame icon for "signature dish" and a trophy icon for "most popular". Again, these subtle differentiators will drive more views and sales!


Menu Design that Makes Your More Money!


By following the items listed above, you will be able to best position your menu template for success. By knowing what you make the most money on to being able to properly execute the design, it is essential that you take the time needed to truly analyze your menu items and cost. After analysis, the menu design portion comes into play.

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