Restaurant Menu Design

Written by Charles Peacock
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I may be a bit of a restaurant snob, but a boring or poorly designed menu always turns me off. I've tried many restaurants because I was impressed with their menu, and I've avoided many others because I felt they didn't try hard enough. Building a strong image for your restaurant starts with great food, but it absolutely requires that you present your selections in an attractive and interesting way.

Designing Your Menu

My biggest pet peeve with poorly designed menus is spelling/grammar mistakes. Some people might think it's nitpicking, but I feel that a restaurant should put as much thought and care into their decor and menu as they do into their food. Dining out is a special event, and every facet of a restaurant should effectively (and carefully) express the mood you are trying to create.

Paper choice is also a crucial part of designing a great menu. Laminated paper is fine for family eateries and fast-food joints, but it simply will not pass for restaurants that consider themselves to be fine-dining establishments. Any good printer or graphic designer will help you choose a paper stock that is attractive to the eye and to the touch (and if you're luck, it's also stain-free).

Choosing a font for your menu is crucial, and again it's best to enlist a professional to help you with your choice. One great way to focus your font choice is to look at menus from similar successful restaurants. Your font choice will say a lot about the ambiance of your restaurant and the type of food that you are presenting. For a good example of the possibilities, think about the types of fonts commonly used in French restaurants, compared with those used in Sushi restaurants.

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