How to design your restaurant menu to improve sales

In this tutorial, we will learn how to design your restaurant menu and how well-designed menu can increase your restaurant revenue.

This tutorial is not about what dishes to include in the menu card. For that, you need to do menu engineering so that you can identify the stars and the dogs. If you do not know what that is, you can learn all about menu engineering using the link below

Enroll in the Menu Engineering course

In this tutorial, we will purely focus on menu design. We will cover some design elements that you can try to improve the way your menu looks.

Design your Restaurant Menu

Restrict the number of dishes on the menu.

There is a very popular study on giving choices to customers. When people were given a bigger choice of jams in a supermarket, they sold fewer bottles of jam. What happened was that people were confused about what to choose and ended up buying less.

This can happen in your menu as well. Not that people will buy less. Once they are in the restaurant, they may still buy but they will default to the plowhorse dishes. Dishes that are popular but less profitable. Dishes that they have heard of before and can compare prices with other restaurants in their mind.

By restricting the choice to 3 to 5 dishes in each category, you can give people an opportunity to select dishes you want them to try.

This brings us to the next design element in the menu.

Highlight your star dishes.

Once you have done the menu engineering, you will know your star dishes. Those dishes are profitable and popular. Highlight them, add a special sign around them or put a box around them. It is natural for your guest to see items that have been highlighted. This will help your server to recommend them easily as well. And more profitability on these dishes means that it is better for the restaurant.

Try and keep star dishes in a prominent place on the menu

A few key locations on a menu that are generally considered to be more prominent or noticeable to diners:

  • The top left corner of the menu: This is the first place many people look when they open a menu, so it’s a good spot to feature signature dishes or high-margin items.
  • The top right corner of the menu: This is another area that tends to get a lot of attention, and can be a good spot for special deals or limited-time offers.
  • The centre of the menu: The centre of the menu is often a prime location because it’s in the line of sight of most diners. This can be a good spot to feature popular or highly profitable items.
  • The bottom of the menu: The bottom of the menu is often a less prominent location, but it can still be effective for items that are more unique or less popular.

If you are working on digital format menus, I am yet to see a good way to present the items. If you have seen an efficient way to present the menu so that your menu does not look like an e-commerce shopping cart, leave the name of your vendor in the comments section below. We would like to learn from them as well.

Keep the pricing away from the dish

While the pricing should be visible for every dish, keep it away from the dish. If you add a line or dots or asterisk leading to the price, it will make the pricing easier to find. However, you do not want the guest to be looking at all dishes from a pricing lens. You want them to read the description and make a selection. Keep the pricing there, but not easily accessible.

Describe the menu dishes in your style.

What I mean by that is that, if your restaurant is casual dining don’t make the description of the dishes very flowery. Keep the tone of voice so that your guests will understand it clearly. If you have a photo of the dish on the menu, make sure the dish looks exactly like it is in the photo. This will help with guest satisfaction.

Keep these points in mind, the next time you design the menu card. With a few design tweaks, you may see your restaurant revenue rise.

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