A well-designed restaurant menu is an essential ingredient in running a profitable restaurant business. Careful planning and placement of menu items not only helps restaurants generate profits, but also simplifies ordering for your customers Your restaurant menu is more than just a piece of paper with the dish.
Promote the most profitable items
Your most profitable item is one that requires low-cost ingredients, an item that doesn't take a lot of time to prepare and that you can sell at a higher price. This item should be featured prominently on the menu or presented as a dish of the day to attract the customer's attention. Or, you can also place it in the "chef's favorite" segment to encourage customers to order it. Playing on the customer's psychology goes a long way in optimizing your menu design. Menu engineering is an integral part of running a restaurant. Customers are more likely to order less expensive dishes over an item that is expensive. Place your cheap but highly profitable dish next to an expensive dish that perfectly complements the previous item. This way, you can highlight the expensive dish that complements the cheaper item and entices your guests to order more.
Using symbols and icons
The use of symbols and icons has been shown in studies to draw attention to your menu items. Not only that, but they can be used to enhance the overall design of your menu and make the specials more readable. Using a star can show diners that this menu item is either very good or a popular item. You can also use symbols to designate vegetarian elements or vegan on the menu, instead of having to write it down or create a special section on the menu for them. A friendly tip would be to avoid using the heart icon. This usually equates to something that is healthy or "good for your heart". This usually translates to "bland and tasteless" for customers. Your menu should always focus on what you have to offer, not the price of the items. Promoting things like euro menus or cheaper items is usually not a tactic that ends up working to a restaurant's advantage.
Use images with care
There are two real schools of thought when it comes to images: those who really love big, bold images and those who avoid images altogether. Either way can work, but only if you invest in phenomenal photography. You need to hire a professional photographer to take pictures of your food if you want menu items. Every image needs to be well lit and photographed to look tasty. Grayish food will not sell. If you plan to use food photography, stick to one or two photos of branded items. Also be wary of using stock images for menu design. The menu item when represented visually should be exactly what you are offering.