Ever wondered what makes you attracted to certain menus? The food you choose from a menu is influenced by a lot more than just the food itself! Let us look at how creating a restaurant menu can help your business to thrive.


Different Types of Menus

You may be used to seeing different kinds of paper menus, whether they are folded, or in a one-page style. Thanks to modern technology, however, menus now also come in digital formats such as QR based menus and even menu apps. This doesn’t mean the death of menu printing though – restaurants will often have both physical and digital menus. Sometimes the printed menu will even have QR codes integrated to give the customer access to more information on dishes, special offers or other promotions.


The Psychology of Menu Design

Menu design has a lot of secret psychology. Every menu you set your eyes on has been carefully designed to sway you into making buying decisions. The next time you visit your favourite restaurant, consider the layout of the menu before you place your order. Look at the design of the menu, how the colours are used and the written descriptions of each meal.

Graphic design is not just about making something look good. Here we look at the different ways that menu design can affect our buying decisions:


Menu Sections

Menu sections are a very important aspect of design. Not only do they help customers see what’s on offer, but they help them to navigate their way through the menu. Did you know that the right-hand corner of a menu is where customers tend to look first?  With this in mind, it might be a good idea to put your most expensive dishes here.


Food Descriptions

Customers like to read about what food they are eating, and a beautifully written description creates an image in a customer’s mind. The next time you look at a menu, keep an eye out for positive words that appeal to the senses such as “homemade”, “succulent” and “wholesome”. These words are there for a reason!


Colours and Fonts

Did you know that certain colours, such as red, encourage customers to feel hungry? Green is more likely to make customers feel healthy and orange relates to wholesome feelings. Humans are visual beings and designers are aware of the unconscious associations with colours groups.



A cluttered and careless menu translates to careless preparation of food. An organised layout creates a positive impression. Consider the layout of some of the restaurants and cafes you visit and think about the impression it gives you.


For more menu layout tips, read this menu engineering design guide.

How to Design a Menu

A menu is your “shop window” to your kitchen; the one thing that drives customers to enter your restaurant and buy your food. Many restaurant owners do not put enough importance on menu design, yet it is one of the most critical parts of driving your business forward.

When talking to your menu designer, consider the following important factors:

  • The type of restaurant or café you want to advertise
  • The type of dishes and choice of food
  • How many sections you need
  • How much room you need for dish descriptions
  • Your brand colours and fonts
  • The layout
  • What kind of images you want to use
  • How you will arrange your prices
  • Whether you will have a glossary
  • Whether you will incorporate a storytelling aspect


Each of these sections needs time and consideration, so make sure you think of every aspect of your menu design with care and attention to detail.

A menu is one of the most important advertising tools of any restaurant or café. It can be used to educate a customer about the experience they are about to have and offers an instant glimpse into the kind of restaurant you are running. Having an appealing, engaging, and clean menu is essential to communicating your brand.

Whether you run a five-star restaurant or a corner street café, your menu needs to be designed from the customer’s perspective and targeted towards the kind of customers you are looking to attract. The goal is to creatively impress, engage and entice guests to keep visiting your restaurant, and this comes down to the design of the menu and the psychological techniques that we have covered in this article.


Menu design can make or break your business

The bottom line is that your menu conveys so much more than what food is on offer. The more time and effort you put into designing an appealing menu, the less time and effort you will need to put into other areas of your marketing.