Small Business Resource Center

How to create impactful restaurant menus

create restaurant menus

No matter the type of restaurant you run, your menu says a lot about who you are, what you serve and who you serve. From a visual and tactile standpoint, your menu should make a statement about the type and quality of food you offer and your establishment’s atmosphere while simultaneously appealing to your customers’ tastes. Here are the considerations to keep in mind when designing your menus:

Choose a paper stock

Touch is a powerful sense and prominent feature of menus. To achieve a quality, high-end feel you should choose a paper weight of 100 lb. You should also consider color and texture:

  • Kraft paper offers a rustic look and feel
  • Brilliant white linen paper offers a crisp, more classic look
  • Natural white linen paper offers a softer, creamy appearance

For the eco-conscious, look for papers comprised of at least 30 percent post-consumer content.

Choose a size

Beyond the standard letter-size paper, there are many niche options in unique dimensions that could add to your establishment’s theme and atmosphere, such as:

  • 3.75” x 5.5”
  • 4.25” x 11”
  • 5.5” x 8.5”
  • 6” x 17”
  • 11” x 17”

Consider customized options

There are several customized printing options that could also help you achieve the look you are trying to achieve.

  • You could feature your logo in foil or promote an award with a foil seal.
  • A special die-cut shape of the menu lends itself to your establishment’s overall theme, and can even serve to differentiate different menus: a dessert menu shaped like a pie, for example, or a drink menu shaped like a wine glass.
  • Lamination is an option if your menus will not be housed in something else and you want to protect them from wear and tear.

Choose a quantity

A general rule of thumb to determining how many menus to order is to have enough to cover as many people who would be in your restaurant at one time over the course of 2 hours, plus some cushion to allow for wear and tear.

It is a safe bet to order in smaller quantities and re-order as needed. Your menu and prices may change over time (or every day!).

Choose a printing method

There are several options for printing your menus and your needs may dictate the route you choose:

  • Online printer: Great for buying in bulk at reasonable prices, and having custom options like foils, die-cuts, premium papers. Shipped to your door, but rush jobs can get pricey.
  • Local printer: Can also be good for buying in bulk, but can be more expensive than online printers. Typically must get picked up at the store, but can usually be turned around same day.
  • Personal printer: Better for lower quantities and constantly changing menus. Quick turnaround assuming no technical issues, but ink costs can add up.

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