Secrets of Menu Design

There is a lot more to think about for menu design than just whether or not to included pictures on your menu. Instead of focusing on Photoshopping amazing imagery that may not always hold up, get a better understanding of how to maximize profits by using these 10 secrets of menu design.

1. A Culinary Institute of America study showed if a dollar sign is used in the price, diners are more likely to buy cheaper options. Furthermore if euros or pounds symbols are used these are terrifying to the eye and the wallet of consumers.
2. The average time a customer spends reading a menu is 109 seconds. Unless they are repeat regulars who already know what they want, most decide within the first minute and a half after they sit down and look at the menu.
3. It is important for the guest to see all the menu items at once, so anything more than a trifold is considered too big. If its bulky, the diner will skip over information, lose interest, give up and order something they don’t really want, risking a bad experience.
4. If prices are in a column, it will result in price shopping. It is best to stagger them 3 spaces from the last letter of the menu description without dots or dashes to draw the customer’s attention away from the dollar amount.
5. A dessert menu should always include the 5 C’s: Citrus, Coffee, Caramel, Chocolate and Cheesecake.
6. Desserts shouldn’t be on the main menu. If they see an eye-catching dessert at the beginning of the meal, often diners will skip an appetizer. Savvy restaurateurs know to surprise the diner with a dessert menu after the main course, thus resulting in profits of both appetizers and dessert sales.
7. Don’t capitalize everything. Dish names are fine, but for descriptions use lower-case to avoid readers from glossing over the whole menu.
8. The 8 biggest food allergies are nuts, peanuts, milk, wheat, eggs, fish, shellfish and soy. It’s important to list these ingredients in the description of any dish that contains them.
9. On a two-page menu, most people will look just above center on the right side. Next, people look at the first and last items on each page. Include your highest margin dishes, or the most popular dishes in these areas.
10. A healthy rule of thumb for a balanced menu is 10 appetizers, 10 entrées and 6 desserts with at least one vegetarian appetizer and entrée.

You’ll never look at menu design the same.

Information courtesy of The Culinary Institute of America and thrillest.com

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