The Importance of Menu Design

A restaurant’s menu is one of the most important internal advertising tools that can be used to educate a guest about the experience they are about to have. An instant snapshot of a restaurant and the one piece of advertising every guest will read, having an appealing, clean menu is essential to communicating your brand.

The literal definition of a menu is ‘a bill of fare or a list of food items a restaurant prepares and serves.’ Following the literal definition, one could just list the items offered on a piece of paper.  However, successful chefs and restaurant owners will realize the broad and comprehensive purpose of a well-designed menu.  An effective menu design should communicate a brand, the vision, the ambiance and feel of the restaurant and the food and the experience a guest can expect to have.

The driving force behind a well-designed menu is not the designer or printer, it is the restaurant owner or head chef. As the creative mastermind behind menu development, their insight, vision and guidance are what make it a complete representation of the brand experience.

Whether it is a five-star restaurant or a mom and pop diner, the menu needs to be developed from the perspective of the specific clientele the restaurant is looking to attract.  Once established, the goal is to creatively impress and entice guests. This comes down to the actual menu design, the fonts, color palates, use of whitespace and/or photos, descriptive content, even the type of paper used or the presentation folder it’s housed in.

Keeping the branding a streamlined theme throughout all elements of the restaurant, including the all-important menu design, will play a vital role in the success of the restaurant and greatly increase the chances of repeat customers.