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

Promotion of the restaurant as a location for weddings and banquets

Promotion of the restaurant as a venue for weddings and other special events is quite time — consuming and long process. But it’s definitely worth the effort. Taking a wedding or other celebration, you at once attract a wide audience, which with the right approach will be able to convert into loyal customers of your institution.

The promotion of the Banquet hall of the restaurant

So, weddings and other banquets — this is an opportunity to reach a large audience. Guests who visited you at the wedding in the restaurant – your potential customers. If you are located in a big city, perhaps many of them did not even know about the existence of your promotion of the restaurant.

If they like the cuisine and the level of service, they are very likely to become your visitors. If, in addition to the kitchen, you manage to impress guests with a high level of the event, they will probably want to celebrate your own special event. Not necessarily a wedding, it can be an anniversary, corporate event, etc.

Moreover, a huge circle of people who were not even present at the event will know about you. These are friends and acquaintances of the guests, with whom the latter will certainly share their impressions. These are friends of guests in social networks who will see photos from the wedding.

So, the benefits are obvious. What you need to do to attract newlyweds to the restaurant and how to create a holiday so unforgettable for them to use the full “word of mouth” and reactions in social networks?

Declare yourself as a wedding location

Even if you have a small place in the area and it would seem that there is no possibility to take crowded events, you can position yourself as a promotion of the restaurant for a small wedding. Today, many couples prefer to celebrate their special day in a narrow circle of the closest people and are looking for this is not a big room with a pathetic design, but a cozy atmospheric place.

Online promotion of the restaurant

Most of the current newlyweds-representatives of the digital generation, which is online 74% of the time. The first thing that makes a young couple after the engagement-begins to Google about everything regarding the organization of weddings in their city. Based on this, your presence in the network directly determines the number of reservations of the Banquet hall, as before ordering a restaurant for a wedding, most couples are studying all the offers available on the Internet.

  1. Add restaurant information to Google My Business. Already added? Great, make sure that there is information about the possibility of holding celebrations and photos of the restaurant with the appropriate design.
  2. Encourage customers to leave feedback about you wherever possible. On the same Google My business, on your Facebook page.
  3. Make your institution in all sorts of online catalogs wedding theme. Type in the search engine “wedding restaurant [your city].” On the first page of the search results you will see a lot of sites ” All for a wedding in [your city]”, ” all Banquet halls [your city]”. To add information about your company, please contact the administration of each individual site.
  4. Create on the website of your restaurant a separate page dedicated to the organization of weddings with a detailed description of your offer, photo gallery, reviews and request form. The form should include the mandatory fields date And format of the event (Classical feast, buffet with buffet and bar, Your format), as well as other fields that will help you to formulate a proposal for a particular couple, which you will present to them by phone or in person.
  5. Promote yourself as a wedding location on your pages in social networks. Avoid dry posts in the spirit of ” Taking orders for weddings, banquets…”. Post “live” content-behind-the-scenes photos and videos about how you are preparing for the event, the details of the hall design, the work of the staff in the kitchen and in the hall, as well as gratitude from the newlyweds. All that may be interesting to your potential customers.

The organization of the wedding in the restaurant

Three key factors that are taken into account by future newlyweds when choosing a restaurant for a wedding:

  • cost
  • atmosphere in the institution
  • possibility of personalization (as far as you are ready to adapt to the wishes of customers).

How to convince them to spend their special day with you? Do everything possible to satisfy their desires. What do the future newlyweds want most when planning their wedding?

Desire number one for most brides and grooms (and especially their parents) — to make a lasting impression on the guests. Make it cooler than everyone else. Original and unusual. So about their wedding the talk continued for at least another six months. And better year!

Help them in this and get the desired effect: rave reviews and”word of mouth marketing”.

Wedding menu

Usually the menu for the wedding is based on the preferences of the bride and groom. But do not forget about the main desire — to surprise and impress guests. On the wedding table should be dishes that people do not usually eat in everyday life. It does not have to be expensive delicacies.

Surprise can not only (and not so much!) ingredients, how many form of applying. For example, instead of banal sandwiches with caviar, you can serve rolls of thin pancakes with the same caviar. Instead of banal salads in common salad bowls-tartlets with the same salads, various canapes and a La carte snacks. As hot dishes, again, what guests do not eat every day, even from the usual products. Grilled dishes, for example, including vegetables for side dishes.

Discussing with the bride and groom menu, focus on the fact that a particular dish will impress guests that due to the unusual dishes of their wedding will talk and remember for a long time.

Recommend them an unusual wedding cake. The kind that all guests take pictures with before they eat. Great if you have at hand the contacts of the master(s) who create unique cakes. If the bride and groom have different preferences in sweets, you can prepare a puzzle cake of two parts or a pseudo-cake consisting of portion cakes.

Is it worth buying an existing institution?

Many of those who dream of becoming a restaurateur, often think about buying an existing institution. Buying a ready-made restaurant promises many advantages-you do not need to be puzzled by the search for premises, furniture, equipment, look for suppliers, recruit staff, etc.on the other hand, if you sell a restaurant or bar with not the most brilliant reputation, even after the most radical rebranding, you may not be able to change the established opinion about the institution. Therefore, before considering such a deal, it is necessary to evaluate all the pros and cons of buying a working restaurant.

If you already have experience in the management of catering, you will probably be easier to assess all the advantages and potential risks. For those who want to try their luck in this field for the first time, I recommend initially weigh the chances that you will make a good restaurateur.

You will be a great restaurateur if:

  • love people, enjoy communication, know how to listen and adequately perceive criticism.
  • you have such a skill as multitasking. As a restaurateur you will have to conduct a lot of telephone conversations, take care of visitors, resolve conflict situations in the team, look for repairmen for suddenly broken equipment – and all this can fit in only one shift.
  • stress resistance is one of your strongest qualities. A certain level of stress is inherent in any job, but owning and managing a restaurant is a completely different level. If any little thing makes you worry a lot, then everything that happens in the restaurant will lead to stress – from skirmishes between employees to delays in deliveries. The restaurant has a full hall of guests-you worry about the quality of service, visitors a little – worry about profit. When it snows — you worry about how to attract customers, and so on to infinity. Experiences and stress always go hand in hand. And if you can not cope with their experiences, the restaurant business – most likely not for you.
  • you know how to delegate responsibilities. Many small business owners belong to the category of people who use the logic of “it will be better and faster if I do it myself”. That’s only in the management of the restaurant this attitude can do you a bad service. You will need the ability to delegate many daily tasks, the ability to teach and trust responsible work to others.

Buying a restaurant: what to look for?

By analogy with the opening of a cafe/restaurant from scratch, when buying an existing facility, you should first consider such factors as the location, compliance with the concept of the institution to the needs of the audience living nearby (if you do not plan to radically change the concept), future rental costs, utilities, staff salaries.

The first question that needs to be answered: “Why is this place for sale?”. There can be two options:

  1. The owner objectively can no longer take care of his institution: changing the type of activity, moving or for any other personal reasons (health problems, difficulties in the family, etc.) forced to sell a cafe or restaurant.
  2. The institution is unprofitable, bogged down in debt, the owner is not able to correct the situation and tries to get rid of the problem cargo.

Honestly-nothing. There is no guarantee that the establishment you have purchased will be successful in the future. But you have every opportunity to understand what it is now – a profitable and successful business or a real financial nightmare. This will have to find out the following:

Financial condition

Ask the current owner for all the financial documents to analyze the state of the enterprise.
Find out if there are any debts to suppliers, landlords, utilities.
Find out the average monthly and average annual costs of products, wages, rent and compare them with the average market.
Reporting and clear figures on the costs you will need not only to make a decision about the transaction, but also for the subsequent preparation of your own business plan, if you still decide to buy.

If the owner has no hidden thoughts, he will willingly provide all reporting requested by you. Any attempt to conceal anything should be seen as a Wake-up call.


If you are familiar with the institution (worked with him or been there as a guest), to assess the location of the restaurant will be easier. Otherwise, you need to sensibly assess the popularity and patency of the place, to find out which audience most often visits it, and how it coincides with your plans and aspirations. In addition, it is necessary to look around and ask the neighbors, the presence of nearby Parking, as well as be sure to communicate with the landlord and make sure that for you the terms of the lease will not change after purchase.


Before buying, you need to decide whether you will leave the branding of the restaurant as it is or will change it. Will the name, kitchen, interior, staff remain the same? Changing the concept will entail additional, rather significant costs. And in this case, it is worth assessing whether it is advisable to buy a ready-made restaurant and “reshape” it for yourself or still create your child from scratch.


This is a very important point. Getting rid of bad fame is sometimes very, very difficult, even if you plan to completely change the concept of the restaurant: make changes to the menu, update the interior and recruit new staff. If the institution before you was not the best reputation, people by inertia for a long time will treat it biased.

Conclusion of the sale of the restaurant

How to make a deal if you have weighed all the “pros” and “cons” and decided to buy a ready-made restaurant business?

  • Contact the owner. If you saw an ad for the sale of the restaurant business or learned from friends that the institution is for sale, you need to find the owner’s contacts and communicate with him. Perhaps the staff is not yet aware that the institution is for sale. It makes no sense to come directly to the restaurant and try to communicate on the subject of purchase and sale with the staff.
  • Specify what is included in the amount. Buying an existing cafe / restaurant with all the equipment, furniture and stock can be a very profitable deal, but only if you do not plan to change anything. If you have far-reaching plans for rebranding, it is possible that most of the existing inventory in the institution you do not need and there is no need to pay for all this.
  • Sensibly, without unnecessary emotions, evaluate the value of the business. Once you have decided what exactly you pay for, answer the question whether it is appropriate price for this offer. A person who is very excited about the idea of a new business may have difficulties with an adequate assessment of the acquired assets. On the methods of evaluation of the restaurant business will tell you below.
  • Define the sales scheme. The sale of a restaurant can be arranged in one of two ways: property, when the business is sold as a set of assets, or by selling corporate rights to the company.