How to Design the Best Menu For Your Cafe or Restaurant to Make Profits Quickly When You Re-Open after COVID-19!

Designing the perfect menu can be a challenge.  Great restaurant and cafe menu designs enhance the experience, helping customers make satisfying choices and stimulating their appetite.  A menu is more than just a list of the dishes a restaurant has available; it is an advertising tool capable of communicating a restaurant’s culture, identifying and driving profit – when it is well designed.

Here, we discuss several visual strategies in menu design for 2020 that can help increase profit margins for your restaurant clients.

  1. Be aware of customer scanning

Many restaurants have not changed their menu design in years.  The former mentality of the ‘sweet spot’ in the upper right hand corner doesn’t always work, for every restaurant and cafe.  Many customers read a menu like a book, starting from top left to bottom right.  Depending on how large and detailed your menu is (ie. does it fold, or have pages) will influence where customers are more drawn to.  Ask your regular customers where they tend to go to understand patterns and create a menu for them that pops!

  1. Choose the right colors

Select colors that align with your theme and target audience.  Different colors have different psychological effects on your customers, so your color scheme will help to set the mood of a restaurant as well as draw attention to certain food items.  For instance, for a Tex Mex-type restaurant make sure that you design your menu to reflect a fresh take on a warm color scheme that is usually associated with Mexican cuisine and your brand.

  1. Divide the menu into logical sections

Make it easy for customers to search for dishes by arranging items sequentially and in logical groups, starting with the appetizers, and ending with dessert.  In a cafe, organize drinks first, from hot to cold, and through categories to make it easy to read.  Enticing cafe customers with food next and having perfect pairings can really drive up your average guest spend.  Restaurant menu’s that show all three courses (or more!) have the tendency to see increased sales and more items purchased as customers save room for that special something at the end!

  1. Use photos sparingly

Photos of food are more commonly associated with big chain restaurants like Whitespot, not high-end restaurants.  Depending on your concept and clientele, choose photos sparingly!  If you do use photos, they must be of extremely high professional quality, do not spare any expense here as it could draw in thousands more in sales.  In general, it is better to leave the quality of the food to the customer’s imagination, with a mouth-watering description.  Nothing compares to the visual presentation and tantalizing smell of a food or drink item, when the customer first receives it.  Also, you must pair this with knowledgeable employees that know how to romance the food, painting that mouth-watering description to your happy customers.

  1. Consider using illustration

Again, depending on your concept of restuarant of cafe, you may want to use , instead of photography.  Customers are more likely to have fun with illustrations and when done right can lead to extra sales of those items highlighted.  Overall, illustrations are more likely to be universally appealing and can help communicate the restaurant’s unique personality.

  1. Remove currency signs on prices

Currency signs have been shown to be detrimental in restaurants and cafe.  Customers are reminded of the cost and become overly aware of partying with their money when they are used on menus.  Help customers not be concerned about the cost by removing currency signs and you are more likely to see customers spend more.  Many high end restaurants have implemented this tactic and it works!

  1. Consider using different designs to highlight key items

Have a signature drink or dish that you make a healthy profit on and customers love?  Why not create a menu design that drives customers attention to these items?  Boxes and or starring an item or group of items, can be very effective.  Think steakhouse that has signature prime rib slow-roasted every night and hand-carved.  Why not place this item front and center and highlight is of the special of this and every night?  When dont right it really works!  Promoting this dish with higher margins than others can drive sales and profit subconsciously.

  1. Use the right font

Effective typography will communicate a restaurant’s brand and result in a legible, easy to read and navigate menu.  Selection of font may depend on a number of practical factors, such as the amount of text needed to comfortably fit on the page, your logo and your brand strategy.  Using more than one typeface – say, to distinguish the names and descriptions of menu items – may help to guide customers through the menu.  Avoid confusing customers with too many fonts or hard to read fonts for those visually impaired or your more aged guests.

Overall there is a science to making a menu that speaks to your customers and drives sales.  Trial and error can be the best way to test this out.  Implement the above techniques and you will see your profits increase and your customer satisfaction go up!  Pair your great menu with great quality ingredients, and exceptional customer service and you will have the winning combo to be very successful in 2020!  Call us today to help with implementation, operations or customer service support.  We specialize in menu optimization, operational excellence and customer service training.

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