How to Set Up a Restaurant Menu

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A menu is the crucial step between diners and their restaurant experience. As important as decor, service or even the food itself, a well-designed menu can guarantee a positive dining experience. The layout and organization of each item on the menu impact diners and sometimes guide their choices. Creating a successful menu takes into account many different factors and produces a menu that will satisfy both customers and restaurateurs.

Setting Up a Successful Restaurant Menu

Let the focus remain on the food, not the price tag.
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Think strategically about the arrangement and price of items. According to Must Have Menus, it may be a wise idea to round prices up or down and leave the decimal points and dollar signs off the price. For instance, "Calamari, $9.25" would become only "Calamari, 9." This is a unique and upscale touch that makes even a simple meal seem luxurious. Abandoning the dollar sign will take the emphasis off money being spent and instead place the focus back on the meal itself, which should be the most enjoyable part of the experience for diners. You can also move the emphasis away from money by listing the price right beside the description of the meal, rather than in a separate column. The separate column makes price comparison the main focus. Be clear and upfront with prices, but let the dishes be the star of the show.

Using descriptive language makes dishes appealing before they're even on the table.
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Present the restaurant dishes in descriptive, appealing language. This is the diners' first experience of the food. You should provide restaurant patrons with a clear idea of what they'll be ordering, but still do the food justice by describing it in interesting and vivid terms. Diners tend to respond well to plenty of adjectives that give them an exciting mental image If a meal is very basic and not very expensive, it's fine to use simple adjectives and short descriptions. But for most dishes, you should try to describe them in words that will match the complexity, value and quality of the food.

Arrange menu text in a basic and attractive layout.
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Keep the organization straightforward and bold. Diners shouldn't be distracted by an overabundance of confusing graphics, clashing colors or a crowded layout. The focus should remain on the descriptions of the dishes. Keep items organized so that diners can identify their selections easily, whether they want appetizers, main courses or drinks, for example. Choose a font that is basic and easy to read, and avoid tiny sizes or badly contrasting colors. If you want to highlight a particular item or break up rows of text, a simple box around a section of text will naturally guide the diner's eye.