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How to Design a Good Menu for a Restaurant

Every business in the HORECA field is different. Every hotel, restaurant or café has its own special thing and expresses it in its own way. But all these businesses have something in common – their focus on the customer. That and the need for a menu that shows off what they can offer their to their customers. But the menu is more than a list of courses and beverages that the unit can serve. It is a part of that place’s identity itself and that means that it’s worth investing some time and effort into designing an appropriate menu.

Are you not convinced yet? Then think of it like this – the menu is sure to be the only thing that each and every customer that will ever drop by will come into contact with and his experience is sure to be influenced by this interaction as well. Furthermore, there are actual studies that show that menu design can influence even what and how much clients will order, thus how much they’ll pay.

So what should you know? The golden rule should be, as in any other design process, clarity and simplicity. This means that you should organize your courses in a logical manner, use a font that’s easy to read and write texts that are easy to understand.

When it comes to the actual content, we understand that you’d like to give your clients plenty of options, just to make sure that you can satisfy every possible need. But it’s very important for you to keep in mind your restaurant’s theme and the fact that, sometimes, too many options confuse people and make it hard to choose. Also, this might make your specialties fade into the background. By the way, to be 100% sure you’ll avoid this, make sure to highlight them in some way.

However, if it’s impossible for you to keep it short, whatever you do, don’t clutter things! And if spacing them out would turn your menu into a genuine book, divide it into sections. You’re free to choose your criteria and divide it according to courses for the different times of the day (breakfast, lunch, dinner) or on food categories (appetizers, main courses, desserts) and so on.

Visually, of course, your first concern is color and you can’t go wrong with palette you’re branding yourself with. Graphically, illustrations can be an interesting choice, but they shouldn’t clutter or make your customers lose focus from the essence of your menu. In return, photos don’t seem to be a pretty good option, so use them only if you really, really want to, but no more than one per page, preferably for highlighting a house special.

And we surely can’t end this without talking about prices. Your first concern should be variety, meaning that you should be offering options for all kinds of budgets. But we also have a couple of more subtle notes on pricing that will help you move focus from cost to product. For this you should avoid lining up all the prices in that classical right column, because this increases the risk for some customers to go for the cheapest thing in the category. Also, it’s best for you if you keep the price in figures, without any additional signs, because that too emphasizes the cost issue.

We hope these tips will help and don’t forget that, above anything else, your customers cherish quality services!

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