How to Make a Menu: The Ultimate Guide to Restaurant Menus
Basic restaurant menu design
Ultimately, menus should help guide patrons to purchasing decisions they’ll enjoy, and create a great dining experience. This means it’s essential you balance giving readers enough details about your menu items while keeping information clear, easy to understand, and scannable. You want to provide choice without causing paralysis.
To achieve this, basic restaurant menu design features clearly divided sections of options with descriptive details, list of ingredients, and images. The length of your menu will be based on the capabilities of your kitchen; a small kitchen will offer only a few menu items, while bigger restaurants may offer a full booklet of options (like with Cheesecake Factory). Well-designed menus guide readers to the food that appeals to them while still allowing them to scan other options and learn more about your restaurant.
Some additional features in menus include:
- Promotional inserts
- About Us sections that describe the restaurant’s history
- Sections for children, seniors, and vegetarians
How to make a restaurant menu
Follow these basic steps to create the design for your restaurant’s menu:
Break down the menu items into sections
All-day restaurants display breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. Other restaurants may have appetizers, soups and salads, entrees, specialty meals, and desserts. Still other restaurants will serve an extensive array of wines, cocktails, and beers. Start by organizing each option into a category that will make sense to your patrons.
Decide what information you want to share about each item
All menu items require a name, and most menu items will also show the price in an adjacent column. As needed, your menu items might also display ingredients, descriptions, or calories in smaller font below the item name.
Organize the information into consistent columns
Most menus feature two primary columns per page to take full advantage of the space without cluttering it. For example, you may see appetizers and soups or salads on the left and entrees on the right. The prices might be right-hand justified in those columns, but each piece of text assigned to a menu item should be the same. If the price is right-aligned and the description is italicized for one menu item, it should be that way for all of them.
Pictures should be high resolution and extremely inviting. Some menus place a thumbnail image next to each item, while others splash pictures in the background behind the text to show incredibly popular or complex items. Images of popular items will encourage hungry patrons to order them, while pictures of complex menu items set better expectations.
Use Gravit Designer to enhance your menu
Online graphic design software can make designing new menus a breeze. Our smart software can help you arrange columns of menu items so you can cleanly display different details. Then you can add images and style elements in the foreground or background without disturbing the layout. Each layer remains a separate element so you can update images, modify item details, and even replace menu items altogether over time.