6 Tips for Designing the Perfect Restaurant Menu

6 Tips for Designing the Perfect Restaurant Menu

The menu is your restaurant’s primary vehicle for showing customers the amazing dishes you offer them. Without this tool, diners won’t know what items they can order, how much they cost, and what they should expect when their food arrives.

A menu, however, does not only need to play the role of giving information to diners. When designed properly, it can help provide customers a better dining experiences and influence their buying decisions. It can also be an additional branding and marketing tool.

Due to these additional uses and potential benefits, having an effective, exceptional menu is a must, regardless of whether you have a new restaurant or one that is already established.

Crafting a Restaurant Menu That Works

If you are creating your first restaurant menu or updating it, follow these tips to have an effective, standout restaurant menu design in Dubai:

1.    Use sections to divide the menu

Although customers want to peruse the menu to find the bestseller or an item that catches their eye, they don’t want to spend several minutes doing this. Once they enter your restaurant, they will want to order as soon as possible so that they can eat quickly.

You can help your customers scan your menu faster and find the dish they want to order by splitting it into sections.

Dividing the menu based on starters, mains, and desserts is an excellent start. If you have an extensive list of offerings, break down each category further to help your diners decide faster and smarter.

Use bars, lines, and boxes to separate the different sections. Play with colors as well to make certain segments stand out.

2.    Choose the right fonts

Typography is one of the crucial elements that will help your restaurant sell its key offerings. Because of this, it is essential that you choose the most suitable one for your menu.

To decide on the best one, consider the atmosphere of your restaurant and the font that embodies it. For instance, if you have a fine dining establishment, choose old English or old-style serif.  In case you have a modern bistro, sans serif and transitional serif will work well with your theme.

Another option would be to go with the font you used for your restaurant name or logo, or a similar one. This will enable your menu to work as an additional branding tool.

You can also be bold and adventurous when selecting your typeface. By doing so, your menu will have an extra artistic element that will get the attention of your diners.

Whichever typeface you choose, make sure it is easy to read.

3.    Keep descriptions short and simple

Diners will use your menu to decide which dishes to order. As such, they need only a brief description of all your offerings, not detailed recipes.

To have a helpful menu, make your descriptions short and simple yet enticing. They should be worded in ways that they will make the customers’ mouths water, even if they are only reading your offerings.

If you are having difficulties creating short but appealing descriptions, consider hiring a copywriter that has experience writing restaurant menus. This is an investment you won’t regret making, especially if you want to incorporate branding elements in this important feature.

4.    Use images

Photos help the customer see exactly what they will be getting. Because of this, these photos can boost the cravings of the diners, which can encourage them to order more.

However, when adding images to your menu, make sure you use high-quality ones. They should be perfect two-dimensional replicas of the dishes. Don’t use photos that have grayish or brownish hues since they will turn off the customers.

Additionally, avoid crowding the menu with images. If you do, you will only confuse the diners as to which item the photo is depicting. Choose your most popular dishes and add a picture beside them.

5.    Add icons or symbols

Aside from incorporating images, use icons and symbols to draw attention to certain items on your menu and improve its general design.

For instance, add stars on bestsellers or popular items. Use chili peppers to indicate the spiciness of your dishes: one for mild and five for the hottest. Place vegetable icons beside vegetarian or vegan options.

However, stay away from using the heart icon to indicate healthy menu items. Although you want customers to order them since they are nutritious options, some customers may immediately think they are bland and tasteless dishes. These dishes may then become unpopular quickly.

6.    Avoid emphasizing the prices

Lastly, your menu should showcase your tasty offerings, not their prices. As such, help your customers focus on your dishes instead of the money they will spend in your restaurant.

Start by making the font sizes of prices smaller than those of your menu items. Additionally, do not put the currency sign (US dollars, UK pound, etc.) beside the amount. This symbol adds an unnecessary extra emphasis on the fact that the person is spending money on his or her meal.

By making the menu item prices an afterthought, you enable your diners to concentrate more on the food, and this can encourage them to order more.

A menu is not simply a list of the food your restaurant offers and how much they cost. It can also be a valuable branding and sales tool.

Because of this, put some thought into its design and get professional help when you want to have the perfect menu.


Stuart Harris is the Creative Director at Yellow, a Dubai branding agency, digital partner and advertising company working with progressive businesses to build bold, meaningful brands.

Categories: Food

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