How To Write The Most Successful Restaurant Menu Possible

How-To Guides

Black menu on a wooden table

There are a few things to keep in mind when writing a restaurant menu. First, you need to remember that your menu is a marketing tool. It should entice customers and make them want to order from you. Make sure your language is persuasive, and the descriptions are mouth-watering.

Second, your menu should be easy to read and understand. Use clear fonts and generous spacing so diners can scan the options and decide. Lastly, don't forget to include pricing! Customers need to know how much each item costs before deciding whether or not to order it.

In a student essay using an essay writing service, the author describes the restaurant menu as a map encouraging the customers to navigate from hunger to satisfaction easily. Here are some tips for writing a successful restaurant menu that can make customers come back for more!

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Check Your Competition

According to statistics, 80% of diners are likely to choose restaurants within 10 minutes from their home. So you must know how other restaurants near you are performing, especially if you’re in a small city with several other bistros.

See what items they're offering and at what prices. This will give you a good starting point for creating your menu.

Once you have an idea of what's out there, you can start brainstorming your unique dishes and drinks. Think about what makes your restaurant special and focus on highlighting those features on your menu.

Choose Menu Items That Sell

Salad and wine glass on a table

To do this, you'll need to consider both your target audience and your location. For example, if you're targeting business professionals in a downtown area, you'll want to offer items that are quick and easy to eat, like sandwiches or salads. 

If you're in a more casual setting, you might have more success with heartier fare, like burgers or pizzas. And if you're in a tourist area, make sure to include local specialties that visitors will be looking for.

Once you know what food will appeal to your customers, it's time to start thinking about individual dishes. You should also consider the cost of the food, such that it helps the restaurant maintain profit, and the dishes can be reproduced easily even when there’s a food rush.

Make the Menu Size Manageable

When choosing the menu, it's important to keep quality and quantity in mind. You want to offer delicious and satisfying dishes, but you also don't want to stress your customers with too many choices.

A good rule of thumb is to have a maximum of 7 items per section on your menu. This will give your customers enough variety to find something they'll enjoy without being so overwhelming that they can't decide.

When it comes to writing the actual menu, less is more. Use simple, straightforward language to describe your dishes, and avoid fancy or overly complicated terms. The goal is to make it easy for your customers to know what they're getting, so they can order with confidence.

Also, consider the food that your kitchen can capably produce. Do you have enough stations for the sautéed dishes, grilled items, soups, baked goods, and salad?

Use Longer Food Descriptions that Trigger the Senses

Restaurant menu with long and detailed descriptions

The key to a great restaurant menu is in the food descriptions. You want to use language to make your diners' mouths water and their stomachs growl. Use terms that trigger the senses, such as "succulent," "juicy," or "freshly baked."

In addition to making the food sound delicious, you also want to give your diners a sense of what they will be getting. Be specific in your descriptions, and tell them exactly what they can expect.

For example, rather than simply listing "Steak" on your menu, try something like "12 oz. Hand-Cut Prime Ribeye Steak Served with Roasted Potatoes and Sautéed Vegetables."

It's also important to use appropriate language for your target audience. Avoid using slang or overly casual terms if you're aiming for a more upscale crowd. Likewise, if you're targeting a younger demographic, you'll want to ensure your menu language is hip and trendy.

To do all these, consider each dish and what makes them unique, then write some adjectives to describe it with your main focus on smell, texture, taste, and the cooking method.

  • Vegetables: Use words like fresh, zesty, and earthy.
  • Meat: Use spicy, smoky, tender, well-done, juicy, aged, or lean.
  • Sauces: Use sweet, bitter, sour, fruity, rich, or tangy.

Finally, don't forget to proofread your menu before sending it to print! Nothing will turn off potential customers faster than typos or grammatical errors.

Design a Simple But Attractive Menu Layout

The most important factor to consider when deciding on a menu layout is the type of restaurant you have. 

Fine dining restaurants will want to use a more sophisticated layout that includes items such as appetizers, entrees, and desserts. In comparison, a more casual restaurant might just need sections for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

The color scheme and font should also reflect your business’ theme. For instance, if you’re running a Mexican restaurant, the menu should include vibrant colors like red, purple, green, and turquoise. But if you have an Italian or French bistro, using the colors we previously mentioned will be out of place.

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Organize Your Menu Logically

Woman holding and looking at a burger menu

Once you've decided on the overall layout, you need to decide how to categorize each section in a sensible way. A common method is to organize items from lightest to heaviest. 

Appetizers should come first, followed by soup and salad, and then entrees and desserts. This gives your diners a clear idea of what they should order based on how hungry they are.

Another option is to create a separate section for drinks, which can be helpful if you have many different options. You could also mix them with the food items, grouping them by type (e.g., all of the cocktails, non-alcoholic beverages, etc.) 

Don’t forget to use high-quality images that accurately depict what each food and drink looks like.

Make the Menu Easy to Read

Use clear and concise language, and be sure to include plenty of white space, so diners’ eyes don’t get tired from scanning the menu. You might also consider using different typefaces or font sizes that contrast well with the background for different menu sections.

When your menu font is hard to read or uses too much text, it can be difficult for customers to comprehend and recollect most of your offerings. As tempting as it may be, avoid using too much culinary jargon in your menu. 

For instance, instead of “Amuse-Bouche,” you can say “Bite-Sized Hors D’oeuvres.” Use the latter unless you’re running a luxurious French restaurant.

Making your menu text so small that customers have to squint is also a huge turnoff for many diners. In the same way, it becomes very clumsy if you use a very big font.

Create Special Menus for Events

Wooden special menu displayed outdoors

One way to really stand out from the competition is to create special or prix-fixe menus for holidays and other events. This gives your customers something different to look forward to and can help you boost sales during typically slower periods. For example, you could create a special Valentine’s Day or Easter brunch menu. 

Not only will this give your patrons something new to try, but it can also attract new customers looking for a unique dining experience. Be sure to promote your special menus in advance so that people have time to make reservations or just stop by.

Don’t be afraid to change your offerings from time to time. Seasonal ingredients are an excellent way to keep your menu exciting and give customers a reason to return.

Include Prices

Consumers are price-sensitive, so it is important to include prices on your menu. This will help them understand the value of your food and drinks and make informed choices about what to order.

You can use pricing strategies to your advantage, such as listing a lower price for a popular course or bundling meals together at a discounted rate. You can also list them in order from least expensive to most expensive. This will help customers make choices based on their budget and their appetite.

In addition, including prices on your menu can help you avoid any awkwardness or confusion when it comes time to pay the bill.

Bottom Line

So, what makes a great restaurant menu? First and foremost, it should be easy to read and organized in an easily navigable way. The layout should be simple, and the font should be large enough to be seen.

You should also update menus regularly with new items and seasonal specials. And finally, make sure you test your menu out on customers—get feedback about what they like and don’t like, then use that information to improve your offerings.

With these tips in mind, you can create a successful and appealing menu for diners!

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