Consider your menu your personal calling card. It reflects your restaurant’s personality, character, ambience and style. Whether globally influenced dishes, down-home favorites or a combination of both, a well-crafted menu represents your restaurant brand in a way that should excite diners to anticipate a mouth-watering fare, make them want to come back, and recommend your place to family and friends.
Great menu design is a key component of your marketing initiative and keeps your brand fresh in your customer’s mind. Casual eateries use colorful pictures and creative artwork that can “burn” a residual, graphically-pleasing mental image that “pops up” when your patrons get that gnawing, hungry signal and ponder, “Where should I go for lunch or maybe dinner?”
Just imagine that oh so juicy burger, grilled to perfection, topped with gooey, melted cheese, thinly fried onion rings, and the fresh garden toppings of your choice. It’s your perfect masterpiece served with savory, crispy fries. You know, the one you get every time you go to “yum, my favorite burger place.” Or maybe it’s “Oh, those tender, succulent baby back ribs, dripping with sweet-smoky BBQ sauce that always requires a pile of napkins.” Are you hungry yet? You see, mental imagery is powerful, especially when it comes to your favorite foods, and it can drive customers right to your restaurant and website.
On the other hand, upscale, sophisticated dining establishments typically present a simple, yet elegant menu that reflects a subdued and refined demeanor usually designed on good quality paper with black and white text. These menus are designed to lure the gourmet-minded crowd boasting discerning palettes infatuated with the gastronomic fare.
Remember to place your best selling items or the specials you want to sell the most on the prime spots of your menu where your customers’ eyes will focus on first. Highlight signature items by drawing attention to them by graphically boxing selections off, adding colors, artwork, photographs, labels and logos. Creative and innovative menu item names using ingredients or preparation descriptions of your special dishes create an enticing and exotic finesse that can tease your customers to place an order.
Whether your dining establishment is a fun, festive casual eatery or fine dining establishment, you should analyze your menu every six to twelve months to determine what is selling and what is not. Then you can judge which items are profitable and how your menu selections stack up against your competition.