The secrets of creating menus that sell

creating menus

The impression of visitors about the institution and, accordingly, its profitability is influenced by a lot of things: the kitchen, the level of service, the atmosphere, cleanliness in the bathrooms. One such factor that many restaurateurs often overlook is the menu. Selling potential which is difficult to overestimate. In fact, it is advertising that the visitor is guaranteed to see and pay close attention to it. Your task is to make the menu so that it has the desired effect.

In this article I will share with you the secrets of creating a menu that will work to increase profits. The following tips will be useful for those who are just starting a restaurant business, as well as experienced restaurateurs who do not get tired to improve their offspring.

Make it easier for visitors to choose

Scientifically proven fact-the wider a person’s choice of options, the more confusion and discomfort. This is confirmed by the study of Iyengar Tire, an expert in sales psychology, during which 24 types of jams were placed on the shelves in a grocery supermarket one day, and the next – only 6 types. On the first day, only 3% of customers added to their basket jar of jam, while the second delicacy bought more than 30% of buyers. Excessive choice often leads to the fact that a person refuses to choose at all.

According to another study, 80% of total sales are achieved through 16% of menu items. The remaining 84% brings only a fifth of the income.

It is not necessary to burden the guests a huge variety. From time to time it is necessary to analyze the menu and remove the ballast. Don’t know what to remove? First of all, review the sales reports and identify the worst-selling dishes. Among them, highlight the dishes with the lowest margin and get rid of these outsiders. This will not only simplify the choice of your guests, but also facilitate the work of chefs, which will have a positive impact on the speed and quality of their work.

Program for restaurants and bars

One menu or several?

If your institution provides different menus for Breakfast, lunch and dinner, or for example a separate children’s menu, do not put it all in one folder. It is better to divide them into several separate and serve guests only relevant menu for them.

Bournemouth University even studied the formula of the optimal number of dishes in the creating menus: for fast food six dishes in each category, for ordinary restaurants – seven positions in the categories of snacks, salads, desserts and ten main dishes.

With pictures or without?

Whether to place pictures in the menu and in what quantity? Photos of great dishes attract attention in and of themselves do advertising food and drink. Often visitors, making a choice, instead of the name of the dish just point the waiter to your favorite picture. The disadvantage of this solution is that the use of images increases the size of the menu.

If you use photos in the creating menus design, pay special attention to their selection and design:

  • use only high-quality professional photos;
  • place photos of your dishes in the menu, not colorful pictures from the Internet-even if your dishes have excellent taste, the discrepancy of their appearance with the one shown in the picture will leave visitors with a feeling of deception and an unpleasant aftertaste;
    professional design-menu with pictures from the point of view of design should look as a whole;
  • add photos of mouthwatering descriptions of the dishes.

The development of a menu without illustrations for each position also has its advantages. So the menu looks more concise and takes up less space. In this restrained version of the design come to the fore description. Often in the restaurant menu you have to see a simple list of ingredients in the signatures to the dishes, such as”chicken fillet, Romaine lettuce, Parmesan cheese, white bread crackers, Caesar sauce”. The text in the description should arouse the appetite and cause the desire to try the dish. As an option: “the Famous salad of tender chicken breast and fresh salad-Romaine, seasoned with special sauce and strewn with Parmesan, crispy crunches and halves of cherry tomatoes.”

How to write prices?

To round to an integer or to write 99 after the decimal point? It depends on your target audience. If you consider yourself to be a premium-segment establishments, your guests obviously expect to spend more on a meal than they would have spent on food cooked at home. Therefore, if the dish is 150 UAH, it makes no sense in tricks, like 149.99 UAH. If you are focused on the lower and middle price segment, where it is important for the buyer to spend less, prices in the format of 19.95 or 29.99 are justified.

In any case, when designing a menu, it is important to minimize any Association with spending money:

  • avoid currency, specify the price in simple numbers without UAH, RUB, etc.
  • give up the tabular format-the column with prices all its kind causes unnecessary associations with the calculation of costs. It is better to write prices right next to the name of the dish and, if possible, not to allocate them or to allocate a minimum (color or font style, for example);
  • remove the lines / dashed lines that indicate the price;
  • again, work on attractive descriptions of dishes – they will divert attention from the price.

Menu structure

The location of the menu sections is not the case when you should experiment with creativity. They should be placed in the correct sequence: Snacks, Salads, First courses, Main courses, side Dishes, Desserts, Drinks. And yet, even such a clear structure of the restaurant menu leaves room for time-tested marketing techniques.

Trap positions

Place the most expensive positions at the top. Visitors usually view the list from top to bottom. If the first thing that the guest saw is a lobster for 400 UAH, the dishes with prices significantly lower, located under it, will look very acceptable choice.

Also, almost any menu has expensive items that are rarely ordered. Use them as a trap. Place near this position tradable dishes that have the highest margin. In the neighborhood with an expensive dish, they will look very profitable in the eyes of visitors.

Golden triangle

On the basis of the study, which studied the patterns, which moves the look of the person who picked up the menu, the rule of the”Golden triangle”was formulated. According to him, the visitor’s eyes move from the center to the upper right corner and then to the upper left corner. It is in this triangle that it is important to try to fit the positions on which you want to focus, especially dishes and drinks with the highest margin.

Size matters

If your restaurant is not a luxury restaurant with a leather-bound menu with gold lettering, think about a different menu format than standard A4 sheets. For example, a small narrow menu of three additions does not take up much space and can remain on the table for the entire stay of the guest in the institution, which allows you to make an additional order without having to ask the waiter to bring the menu again.

In any case, the size of the menu should correspond to the size of the tables in the institution. The visitor should not wonder where to put the bulky menu, when he has already decided on the choice.

Errors in menu design

Avoid the most common mistakes in the design of the menu.

Unreadable font

Sometimes an intricate font is a component of the institution’s branding, in such cases it should not be excluded from the menu, but writing the entire menu in a font that is poorly read is also not the best solution. Ornate style can be left for headlines, and for the list of dishes to choose a simple, well-read font.

Focus on prices

“What a price for a steak!”- this is clearly not the effect that should cause a cursory view of the menu. Do not distract visitors from studying the range of dishes and drinks brightly allocated prices.

Grammatical flaws

You are a restaurateur, not a Philology graduate. You will be forgiven grammatical errors. In personal correspondence, for example. In the menu of your institution-in any case. Before you give the menu to print, be sure to give it to the proofreading specialist.


The menu is an integral part of the institution’s branding and must comply with the General concept. Demonstrate your individuality through the menu and declare the principles on which your business is built. Not only in design, but also in texts. In addition to the list of items in the menu (if appropriate, based on the format of the restaurant), you can add a variety of phrases and quotes, such as “No small portions — you will not leave here hungry!”or” our steaks are made from the freshest meat that hasn’t even seen the fridge.”

Menu on the institution’s website in PDF format
Users should be able to view your menu online without having to download PDFs. Not to mention the fact that this format is not suitable for viewing on mobile devices, and the text in the PDF is not indexed by search engines.

A well-designed menu is an effective marketing tool that can solve a lot of tasks: to guide and help with the choice of guests, to perform part of the waiter’s work on the description of dishes and their advantages, as well as to convince guests to visit your cafe or restaurant again.

Use the tips above to create a truly selling menu. Do not forget also about competitors. If your cafe is not the only one within a radius of 100 km, before you take up the development of a new design, poshpionte and study the menu of your competitors, and then do better than them.

Don’t forget to add a QR code at the bottom of the menu that leads to your website or social network page. A link to the social network will allow guests to share their impressions of you with their friends, noting your location in the post. As practice shows, this “midst a Facebook-integralnoe radio” working on the promotion very effectively, while not requiring the cost of