Food menu design


Menu design is almost always overlooked or forgotten. This is a shame since it is the single most powerful marketing tool in the restaurant business.

But then there is the other extreme as well which is taking menu design layout to a food menu design layout engineering company to do the work for you.

How about we look at some basics of food menu design so you can do it yourself and know that you are doing a good job.

  1. Above all the menu design and layout need to reflect and emphasize the restaurant concept. So that means that a high end restaurant has a simple, clean layout and font while a family restaurant might have a menu with columns.
  2. Proportion is also important — that is the categories of menu items — it’s best to have somewhat balanced categories so that guests have a sense of being guided through the menu.
  3. Industry standard research says that customers first look at the upper right hand corner of a menu so that is where one should place the house specialty. This concretizes the idea or connection between your restaurant and your house specialty. Like Tio’s restaurant that specializes in carne Asada, so put the carne asada in the upper right hand corner of the menu for immediate brand recognition. The more you can influence the idea of delicious carne asada at Tio’s the more that will become a reality.  After the upper right, people seem to most often look at the middle of the menu and then lastly the upper left.
  4. Be consistent. If you prefer single words as the descriptor of menu items then continue with that style across the menu. And the same for a longer descriptions of menu items.
  5. Consider the lighting and the font size. The font should never be smaller than a 14 point font on any menu.


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