In my first blog post, where I talked about how to start a new restaurant, I had scantly mentioned about creating a menu for your restaurant — this article will be all about that. People often tend to neglect and undermine the value of a good menu, but in reality, it can do wonders as far as marketing is concerned. People remember when rather minuscule details stand out and can leave long-lasting impressions on your customers. While I am no way trying to imply that an eye-pleasing, comprehendible menu will be the ‘make or break’ factor in improving your restaurant’s brand, a good menu can definitely make sure that your customer is impressed with you. So without further ado, let’s dive right into the topic of this article
Step 1: Segregate
Before actually starting to design your menu, you should have a rough idea of what is going to be on the menu. For example, if you are starting or expanding a sit-down restaurant, you might want to segregate your menu into appetizers, main course, desserts (maybe a kid’s section too). I hope you understand what I mean by segregating a menu.
Step 2: Describe
Hold tight, we are not adding items on the actual menu yet because we need to make some adjustments. After segregating your menu, you need line items, their description and prices. For example, you might have ‘vada’ as an appetizer, but that is not enough. You need to have a price in mind and also describe your product — even if it seems obvious. Someone out of India might not know what a ‘vada’ is. In your description, make sure you give your customer a hint of the ingredients required to make the product, along with the quantity you will serve. Another good idea would be to include symbols which tell whether the menu item is spicy, vegetarian, vegan (feel free to customize this portion). You might be overwhelmed with the amount of information I have spewed in this section, so let us get back to our ‘vada example’. This is how I would include a ‘vada’ on my menu (disregarding the designing and formatting):
Vada (Plate of three pieces) ₹50.00
South Indian savory made from black lentil and coconut in a doughnut-like shape.
You should do this for all your menu line items.
Step 3: Design Understanding Psychology
By understanding psychology, I mean that you should have (or make an effort to develop) a basic sense of ‘color combination’ and ‘human nature’ when it comes to reading your menu. For example, if you have a luxurious fine dining restaurant, then your menu shouldn’t have a flashy yellow or purple color — it just does not suit your theme. So, make you that you match your theme with the color you decide to use on the menu. Ensure that your menu is easy to read — do not have your red menu text on an orange theme menu card, your customer while have trouble reading what is on the card and will get irritated even before you serve your meal.
Now the way our brain functions is that whenever we are given something to read, we scan it starting from the top left and end at the bottom right. An implication of this is that your major menu line items should be on the top left and the bottom right side of the card. Do not have desserts on the first page and appetizers on the last page — your menu should be in sync with common eating habits. People rarely check the last page of your menu so don’t have your best dishes on that page. Do not draw lines on your card where menu items are linked to the price, this draws more attention to your price rather than the dish and that is not something you might want to do.
Step 4: Print & Laminate
Once you design your menu card, print it and go ahead and laminate it! Do not offer your customer a pamphlet to read from, chances are the latter will get spoilt in a few months. Restaurants, usually update menu prices once a year, so you need your menu to be fresh for a year at least, so laminating it is a good idea.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article and I wish you the best in creating and designing your menu card. Be sure to check out SelectDine, a company that helps you set up your restaurant at the best price and expand to multiple locations. They are your one-stop solutions to all problems related to the ‘Food & Beverage’ Industry.
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