Restaurant Menu Designs

You put a lot of care into the dishes you serve; have you put the same effort into your menu design? Effective restaurant menu design is essential for your establishment’s success. Your menu not only represents your restaurant and serves as diners’ introduction to your food, it can also steer their choices to items that improve your bottom line. This useful guide explains how to use the four components of successful restaurant menu designs to help you design a restaurant menu that really sells.



  1. Design should reflect your restaurant’s theme while promoting sales by being:
      • Representative – Choose a design scheme that reflects your restaurant (i.e. bright colors and a bold graphic style for a sports bar). A graphic design incorporating your logo can be a great way to create a distinctive look.
      • Easily read -­ Choose a clean, simple font in 12 or 14 pt. type size. Consistently use one font style for all the headings, one for listings, etc. If a menu item is difficult to pronounce, number it for easy ordering.
      • Eye-catching – Use dividers, boxes, and borders to separate different sections of your menu. Draw attention to special menu items by highlighting them as “New” or “Chef’s Choice” with small attention-grabbing graphics.
      • Customizable – Use leather or plastic menu covers with inserted menu sheets so you can inexpensively switch pages to update your menu items, adjust prices, and include specials.
  2. Layout should make your menu easy to navigate with:
      • Logical orderPresent the different sections of your menu in the order they are eaten: breakfast, appetizer, salad, lunch, dinner/entrees, and desserts. Put drinks and desserts at the back of your menu for quick ordering.
      • Strategic placement – Place one of your most popular menu items on the top right corner of your menu as research has shown that most people look there first. From there customers’ eyes generally drift down and to the middle of the menu page, a perfect position for your most expensive menu item. Surround it with other popular/expensive items; while not everyone will purchase your most expensive item, the comparison will lead to more orders of the other items.
  3. Content should appeal to diners with vivid, alluring descriptions that:

      • Enhance diners’ perception of menu items with terms that impart a level of prestige to the preparation. Dub items as slow-roasted, hand-coddled, or traditionally aged.
      • Highlight superior or unique qualities of ingredients – cage-free chicken, free-range beef, locally grown produce, etc. Include the area from which your ingredients are sourced: Alaskan salmon, Maine lobster.
      • Entice interest by using specific names for food items – fettuccine instead of pasta, aged sharp Irish cheddar rather than cheese.
  4. Pricing should ensure your profitability without alienating customers. To achieve this, you need to:
      • Determine menu prices by figuring the cost of everything that goes into preparing a dish, then calculating a price 65-70% above cost. This may seem high, but the price needs to cover all your expenses.
      • Adjust as needed, by designating the price of items whose cost fluctuates according to seasonal availability as “Market Price”. Refrain from using numbers in menu item descriptions so you can use portion control to bring down costs.
      • Balance meal prices by featuring stable, lower-priced offerings along with more expensive items to ensure all diners can find something in their price range.

Figuring out menu prices is easy with the inventory tracking module of Pinnacle Hospitality Systems’ POSitouch restaurant menu software, which tracks all of the items that are needed to create each menu item and provides accurate information on the cost of raw materials. Pinnacle’s restaurant point of sale systems feature flexible menu and price functionality that allows you to configure by workstation, day of week and time of day – perfect for restaurants serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Pinnacle’s POSitouch POS for restaurants even features quantity countdown for daily specials to avoid disappointing guests. Contact Pinnacle today at 800.771.7100 to discover all the ways Pinnacle’s POSitouch system can help your restaurant succeed.

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