What factors affect your first impression when checking out a new restaurant? More or less, you’ll probably consider the curb appeal, decor, cleanliness, music, friendliness of staff, and even the aromas wafting inside. However, the restaurant industry has changed in the new normal. Though everyone is hoping to dine out without much precaution once the pandemic ends, it’s crucial to adjust marketing strategies now that deliveries and pick-ups have become the standard practice these days. With potential diners not being physically present in your location, restaurant menu design for businesses has become crucial more than ever before.
In fact, even before the pandemic struck, statistics say 86 percent of millennials will try a new restaurant upon seeing food-related content online.
That means you need to step up your menu design game to get that phone ringing for orders!
If you’re thinking of revamping your menu to generate more leads and boost sales, here are ten ideas and restaurant menu examples to get you going.
1. Let Your Personality Shine
11th Street Diner is a retro-style diner, and that reflects in their family restaurant menu design. The illustrations and heading typeface show a style aesthetic reminiscent of the 60s.
2. Bright Against Dark
Arirang, a Korean restaurant, offers bright, colorful food, from scarlet chili stews to rice bowls with multi-hued vegetable and meat toppings. So, they chose a dark gray background to make the photos stand out.
3. Geometric Shapes
When it comes to menu designs, putting photos of your food isn’t required. Just take a look at this design for JOi Cafe. The graphic doesn’t show any picture of the coffee shop’s offerings. However, it does a great job of presenting the business as a hip restaurant you can count on for anything from breakfast burrito to dinner salads.
4. Cute Illustrations
If you haven’t scheduled a product photoshoot yet, maybe some cute illustrations can liven up your menu. For instance, this graphic for The Beer Cafe is one of the cutest restaurant menus online thanks to its digital drawings.
5. Allow Viewers to Feast Their Eyes
Take a look at VeganBurg’s card, and you’ll understand what designers can do that free menu templates can’t. The graphic encapsulates the venture’s unique identity as a wholesome burger joint. The design is so beautiful that you’ll be encouraged to be a vegan (for a meal, at least).
6. Include a Side-Bar
This menu for Smoothie Plus Hollywood uses a sidebar to highlight its benefits. The bar uses a simple font and subtle illustrations, complementing the smoothie photo beside it.
7. Use Bold Colors
Though neutral hues seem to be a thing these days, the trend doesn’t need to tone down your brand personality. This graphic for Noor Mahal Indian Restaurant and Takeaway is a great example of an Indian restaurant menu design that uses a bold purple hue to let its personality shine through.
8. Dual Hues
If using bold colors isn’t in line with your brand identity, you might want to consider a dual-hue menu like The Lobby. The colors were used to divide the menu into sections, making it easier to navigate the material visually.
9. Natural Elements
This elegant dinner menu template for a Czech restaurant called Zlatá Husa owes its beauty to natural visual elements. The food looks sumptuous on top of wooden boards. In the same vein, the background, which looks like natural stone, adds up to the menu’s charm. Just the mere aesthetic can make the viewer feel that the food is lean, healthy, and organic.
Just like most boba shops, Gong Cha offers quite a handful of drink options. And if you don’t have a go-to drink yet, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
This graphic made the menu a bit easier to digest by putting a photo to represent each group. For instance, one look at the “Creative Mix” photo would tell you what kind of concoction you’ll get if you order anything within that group.
In addition to that, the simple layout of the menu that shows a good grasp of graphic design basics made it even more pleasing to the eyes.
Restaurant Menu Design Pointers to Keep in Mind
Here are some pointers to remember to help ensure that your menu represents your business in the best light possible:
- Brand Identity. Just like any other visual element for your business, your menu should reflect your unique brand.
- Highlight Your Specialty. As seen from some of the examples above, you may want to include photos of your specialty menu items. Doing so will draw your audience’s attention to the item you’re trying to showcase.
- Keep Texts Short. Of course, you’ll want to describe your menu items to your customers. But do it in the shortest way possible so as not to make your menu look cluttered. For instance, “batonnet-cut Russet potatoes deep-fried in peanut oil” takes up a lot of space when you can write French fries instead.
- Pay Attention to Layout. It’s easy to get excited and throw every menu item on a blank canvas. However, it’s vital to let the design breathe by using enough negative space.
- Consider Online Viewers. As mentioned above, web graphics has become such a crucial part of restaurants these days. Make sure that your menu doesn’t only look good in print but on the computer and mobile screens as well. Most restaurants offer two types of menu: an online page that lists their food, and a downloadable PDF for future reference.
Your restaurant menu design isn’t the end-all, be-all of your business. Obviously, even the most beautiful menu won’t do your business any good if your food isn’t edible!
However, it’s indeed one of the factors that will attract first-time customers and even returning ones. Hopefully, they’ll become regulars and won’t need the menu anymore because they know your food like the back of their hand.
If you need reliable graphic design services to create a mouthwatering menu, check out Design Doctor. We offer unlimited designs at a flat monthly cost, so you can have all the visuals you need – from advertising graphic design to packaging design and everything else in between.
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