Running a Successful Restaurant: The Menu Design

Because such a large percentage of small businesses are restaurants, I would like to make a dedicated series of posts to running a successful restaurants. There will be a post for this series about once every week or two. Please request specific topics via the comments form of this post.

Two of the many points which contribute to restaurant success are: ambiance and marketing. The menu design is an opportunity to hit both of these points in one place. In fact, experts say that an effective menu design can increase profits up to 10%.

There are a few for options for restaurant owner/mangers when they are deciding how to go about designing their menu:

On Their Own:

  • Some restaurant owner/managers are happy just using MS Word or Excel to put together a simple menu which they then print out and either leave as plain paper, laminate, or put into menu jackets.
  • Although this method is the cheapest, getting the layout right can be very time consuming. Often the final product leaves a lot to be desired.

Menu Templates:

  • There are specially designed menu templates available for restaurant owner/managers to input their menu into. These are already formatted and have places for you to add graphics. They also have graphics you can choose from.
  • Menu templates are great if you already know exactly what order you want to lay out your menu in. They are a big time saver and will make a finished product which will improve your restaurant’s image.

Full-service Menu Design:

  • There is also the option of having your menu professionally designed by a company like The Menu Maker. They have special techniques and design tricks to make your menus image enhancing ‘eye candy’ which can skillfully direct customers to certain items.
  • This is pricier, but most restaurants that use it are very happy with the result and find that it pays for itself in image reinforcement, marketing, and in encouraging sales of the more profitable dishes.

Graphic Designer/Ad Agency:

  • Some restaurant managers decide that they want to go with a professional graphic designer, or use the same agency which they may be using for their other marketing and ad needs.
  • The plus here is that the agency will be able to easily streamline the menu with the other marketing efforts. Also, it means dealing with fewer vendors (as opposed to using an agency for mailers, etc and a menu design firm for menus).
  • However, generally designers at these companies work on many projects other than menus; therefore, they may not be as “expert” as those at menu design companies. Additionally, it can often be more expensive, because they don’t have all the menu resources which a menu-dedicated design agency will have at its disposal.

The decision you make regarding how, and through whom, you design your menu can have a big effect on your bottom line – so make sure you think about all the issues before you invest time and money in your design.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *