National holidays are a time when the nation stops work…
If you own a restaurant, café, pub or take away, you will understand the importance of the menu.
It shows you the food you can order, as well as the prices. But did you know that the design of your menu also impacts on people’s choice as to whether they eat at your restaurant or not? What should your menu look like to keep customers coming back for more?
There are 5 key traits you need to consider when designing your menu:
#1 Design and Layout
The layout and the design of the menu have the most visual impact on your customers. There is a huge difference between a flimsy laminated menu and a nicely printed menu in a protective cover.
Graphics and images can be just as important as words, but it’s important to remember:
- Don’t swamp the page or pages with graphics – people don’t need to know what chips look like- but the homemade, stuffed ravioli dish is more likely to appeal to hungry diners. Pick a few popular meals to photograph- your customers don’t need to see a picture of every single dish.
- Quality is key – your photos need to be professionally set, photographed and of high quality. Ditch the free stock photos from the internet. Chances are your customers have seen them before!
- Don’t clutter your menu with words either – it’s important to have white space around key areas of your menu, otherwise, your eyes won’t be able to pick out important information easily and your menu will become frustrating to read.
There are hundreds of typefaces available online but this doesn’t mean you have to use three or four variations on your menu.
For a professional look- choose one easy to read typeface. Stick with this and use the variations listed in #3. It’s too easy to confuse your menu by using multiple typefaces- but just because you like the look of it, it doesn’t mean your customers will.
#3 Bold and Italics
Bold and italics are two variations of typeface that place emphasis on keywords to draw the diner’s attention to them. For example, we design plenty of menus that look like this;
Beef in Ale £5.95
Cubes of locally sourced beef marinated and then slowly cooked in a thick, rich sauce. Served with dumplings and seasonal vegetables of your choice.
Putting something in bold makes it stand out because the eye is naturally drawn to darker colours. Putting a word in italics allows for a softer emphasis and with the remainder of the information in normal typeset, everything a diner needs to know is set out clearly.
The way we have set it out isn’t the golden rule, just make sure you don’t overuse bold and italics or their impact is lost.
#4 Descriptions and Information
At Colour Graphics, we understand that the information diners need from your menu can be quite complex. The idea is to give as much information as they need to make a decision;
- Emotive words such as ‘delicious’, ‘tasty’ and ‘moreish’ work well but don’t overdo it. Make sure that the diner gets all the important information about a dish, not just strings of flowery language.
- If it helps when writing a description for a dish, consider the questions a diner may ask your servers. Is it important, for example, that they know what kind of meat is in the lasagne, or whether the dish is suitable for a vegetarian or gluten-free diet?
- Use symbols to help them with information such as how to pay and what payment cards you accept.
- Make the ordinary sound extraordinary – for example, deep fried chicken and chips could be better described as a ‘lightly-fried chicken breast in a golden breadcrumb, served with triple-cooked chips’ (but remember, don’t overdo it on the descriptions!)
Your menu is important so imagine a diner reading that ‘coffee is served with a dark choccolate medallion’ or ‘pasta is served with garlic bred’. Once you have written your menu, why not have it professionally proofread as part of the design and print process? It could save your menu from some embarrassing typos.
At Colour Graphics, we can design and print all kinds of menus in many different formats. Take a look!