Menu Engineering: Tips and Tricks for Building a Restaurant Menu that Sells

A restaurant menu is one of the most important marketing tools. If you haven’t designed a menu before, it can be intimidating to think about all of the decisions you have to make. But don’t worry: We’ve got lots of tips and tricks for designing a menu that sells more food!

A restaurant menu is one of the most important marketing tools.

The menu is what first greets your customers and is, therefore, a direct reflection of your brand. The design and layout of a menu can make or break whether someone decides to eat at your place or go somewhere else. A well-designed and edited restaurant menu will be easy to read and use, while an unappealing one will draw people away from visiting again in the future.

Here are a few tips on how you can design an effective menu:

Create a menu that reflects your brand.

A menu is the primary way a restaurant communicates its identity to customers. It can tell guests what kind of restaurant they’re in, and whether it’s the right one for them. If you want your restaurant to succeed, then it’s important that the menu reflects the brand you want to convey.

The first step in creating a menu that reflects your brand is understanding what your brand is. A well-defined brand will be made up of several things:

  • Personality: What kind of mood do you want customers to experience when they walk into your restaurant? Is it upscale or casual? Are there elements that reflect regional cuisine?
  • Goals: Why did you decide to open this particular type of place at this particular time? What are some goals you have for yourself as an owner/operator of this business type?
  • Values: What do those goals mean for how people interact with each other inside and outside your front door? Do they include respect for all people regardless of race or ethnicity or gender identity; or do they include sustainability practices like recycling waste instead of sending it offsite (which saves money).

Design a menu that’s easy to read.

To ensure your customers can read your menu, you should use a font that is:

  • Easy to read. Your chosen font should be easy to read and not too ornate or fancy. You want something that looks nice but also allows for good spacing between letters so that guests can easily glance at it and make sense of the words on the page.
  • Large enough to see from across the table. If you have someone who has trouble seeing or has low vision visiting with friends, then make sure that they can see every word on their plate without having to do any squinting or leaning in closer than they’d like! And remember: bigger isn’t always better — sometimes smaller typefaces look even sharper on menus because they draw attention away from other elements (like photos) happening around them too much.”

Take into account the menu psychology.

There are a lot of psychological factors at play when people are looking at your menu. You want to make sure that you’re using the right tactics so that you can drive sales.

  • Use a hierarchy of information. You want to make sure that your customer understands the importance of each item on the menu, so use size and color to highlight those items. For example, if an item is one of your specials for the day, use larger font and bold it in red or pink (depending on your brand) so that it stands out from all other items.
  • Use pictures to draw attention without overwhelming guests with text. Pictures help communicate both flavor profiles and portion size without having to include additional text! By providing visual cues like this, you’ll be able to encourage customers who might otherwise pass over certain dishes due there being too much information presented at once—which we’ll talk about more later in this post about how much text should go into each item description.”

Price your menu items strategically.

The price of each item on your menu should reflect its value. You don’t want to charge too much for an item, because then customers might complain about the cost. But you also don’t want to price an item too low, because then they may think it’s not worth their money and not order it at all. Pricing your menu items according to their perceived value will help you avoid both of these pitfalls!

Make sure that the prices on your menu are competitive with other restaurants in the area. If people go out for dinner at a restaurant and find out that they could get a similar entree somewhere else for less money, they won’t come back again—and neither will anyone else who hears about how much cheaper it was elsewhere! Be careful not to underprice yourself or overprice yourself relative to other restaurants in your area; this will only lead customers away from what might otherwise be a successful business venture (and soon enough, no one will be visiting anymore).

Show off your best dishes with pictures.

People are visual creatures. When it comes to your restaurant menu, this means you should use pictures to show off your best dishes. Your customers can see what the dish looks like and decide if it is something they want to eat.

Too many pictures can be overwhelming and distracting from the food descriptions on a page, but including one or two well-chosen photos is a great way to catch the eye of potential diners and encourage them to read more about your offerings. Make sure that each picture has an accompanying description so people know what they’re looking at—and don’t forget that you can also use videos in place of still images!

Test, test and test some more.

  • Test your menu items.
  • Test your prices.
  • Test your design (look, feel and layout).
  • Test your pictures.

Build a restaurant menu that sells more food.

Have you ever wondered what makes a restaurant menu successful? The best way to understand it is to look at the psychology behind menu design, and then apply this knowledge to your own restaurant’s menu.

  • Use a template. A template is a layout guide that can be customized in every way possible, including text styles and colors. Templates are great for quickly creating attractive menus that have their own unique look and feel but still follow general guidelines about spacing and positioning items on the page. Plus, templates usually come with built-in fonts so you don’t have to worry about finding or purchasing those yourself!
  • Create high quality images of your food items. With modern technology it’s easy nowadays for anyone who owns a smartphone camera (which includes most people) snap photos of their favorite dishes while they’re out at restaurants or when cooking at home.”