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Most Common Restaurant Menu Design Mistakes

October 2, 2020

Head of Hospitality

Head of Hospitality

Article Overview

10min read

The menu is always the centerpiece of a restaurant. Think of it as a powerful communication tool that introduces the restaurant and its concept to the customer. When designed well, it can give customers an idea of your restaurant’s aspirations and objectives for utmost customer satisfaction.

Simply put, the restaurant menu design can not only affect the expectations of a customer and the overall customer experience but also your restaurant’s profits. To communicate all these in an effective manner, your menu must be designed strategically.  

Take a look at the most common menu design mistakes to avoid that can help your restaurant be a successful endeavor.

Poorly Presented Menus 

Creative menus are always a hit but do not stray too far from your overall branding guidelines – this includes the color palette, restaurant statements, and approach to food photography. Customers will not spend a lot of time looking through the menu so your presentation needs to be immediately engaging. Thoughtful usage of illustrations, graphics, fonts, and colors can help you highlight specific dishes – like the chef’s special creations – while sparking a sense of interest in your menu.

Poor Placement Of Menu Items 

Where your menu items are placed has a profound effect on your profit margin. While it is dependent on the layout and design, menus have prime spots where the customers immediately look. In a two-fold design, this sweet spot falls on the right-hand page, a couple of lines below the top. In a tri-fold design, it is the center of the layout. By keeping your most popular menu items in the hotspots, you stand a better chance of increasing profits.

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Old Menus

Menus pass hands several times through the day so wear and tear are inevitable. That being said, overly damaged and stained menus can dampen the excitement at the table and reflect poorly on the restaurant’s image. Laminating or adding a matte finish can make the menus more durable. You should consider being a bit creative and opting for a layout that blends in with your restaurant interior design

A rising trend in recent years has been the use of unconventional materials for the menu. For example, a rustic themed restaurant could make use of a wooden menu; this is more durable while also slotting in well with the restaurant concept. So, don’t be afraid to experiment until you find the perfect menu theme for your restaurant.

An Excessively Long Menu 

The common line of thinking is that a long menu can give patrons a variety of options thus increasing sales. In reality, it gives the opposite effect. Since the menu is long, guests need more time to leaf through the menu and find the right option which occupies the servers for longer and slows down service for the rest of the establishment. Moreover, a longer menu can confuse guests because they are undecided about what is your best dish – this can lead to them choosing the cheapest dish you sell.

As mentioned above, the menu is undisputedly the most important marketing tool you possess after the guest has entered your restaurant. It is the sole reason guests visit your restaurant so do take the time and effort to analyze your menu many times over until you find the perfect design that will maximize profits.

Head of Hospitality

Angela Soudi is a visionary writer with 20+ years of experience in Sales and Marketing across Europe, Canada, and the Middle East. She is highly invested in actively contributing articles to pioneering hospitality platforms and websites.

Head of Hospitality
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