Designing a menu starts with setting appropriate objectives that address guest expectations.
What are guest expectations?
The guest is the central reason why we are in business. His or her need and wants have to be fulfilled. It is the inner urge that realize them to come into the restaurant.
What does it mean when we say needs and wants in the above statement?
NEEDS – they are generally basic requests. For example, food that satisfies their hunger.
WANTS – the realization of the need influenced by culture and socioeconomic factors. This is the reason why someone visits the restaurant. Examples include, perceived value, item price, ambiance.
It is easy to get carried away with menu design. Before, producing works of art, a menu planner needs to get to the business end first. It must faithfully list the menu items on offer. Additionally:
• The menu must promote, advertise and inform
• The wording must satisfy the above purpose
In this lesson, we are going to review how to design a menu cover, typeface, descriptive copy, menu format, including specials and common menu mistakes.
Designing the Menu Cover
The menu cover is the defining merchandise that is the soul of a restaurant. It is a tangible item that stimulates through feel, script, and colour.
• Reflects the PERSONALITY of the restaurant
• The menu cover ENTERTAINS
• The menu EDUCATES, as it explains the ingredients and the method of preparation to guests
• The menu card also reflects the MOOD of the restaurant
• The menu cover creates IDENTITY with the theme of the restaurant
• The menu has another important role and that is to ADVERTISE the cuisine and restaurant
Menu cover designers take great care to come out with something unique. Most restaurateurs would like their menu cover to be original and a talking point.
The advertising agency leads these efforts. One of the methods used is the material. Some materials used are paper, cloth, plastic, wood, leather, palm leaf, and glass.
Check out these two examples of creative and innovative menu options:
Typeface (often time referred to as the font) refers to the lettering used in menu covers. Some useful tips are:
• Wherever lettering is used, it is more effective when the background colour is lighter than the letters
• Typefaces come in many sizes, set a minimum 12-point typeface
• Most of the text should be in lowercase type
• Headings and sub-headings should be in UPPERCASE or CAPITALS
• Keep space between sentences must be kept in mind to avoid crowding
• Use exotic typefaces sparingly as they are hard to read
• Typefaces must match the theme of the restaurant.
Descriptive copy is essential to explain menu items. This becomes more critical in specialty cuisines. Some considerations when describing the menu items:
• Ingredients, both main and secondary ingredients.
• Method of preparation.
• Short sentences. Keep the sentences crisp and to the point.
• Easy to read.
• Claims should be credible (example, nutritional, dietary and freshness claims).
• Grading because this helps the customer know exactly what he or she is eating.
• Geographical origin sometimes bring excitement and authenticity by mentioning the origin of the item.
• Appealing adjectives that appeal to the senses of sight, smell, taste, hearing, and touch
What is the message you are telling about your restaurant and cuisine? Some items to consider are:
• National terms
• Geographical clues
• Shapes or cuts
• Cooking style
• Famous names
• Historic events
The format is the way the copy is presented based on the amount of printed material to be included. Format addresses the menu cover’s size, shape and general make-up.
• An insert is a laminated pocket. The insert has the advantage of being easy to change while retaining the outer cover.
• Specials are advertised on tent cards.
Should the menu copy exceed the space, the menu planner has the following options:
• Delete some menu items
• Shorten the descriptive copy
• Drop some of the supplemental copy used for theme and merchandising
• Choose a format that provides more space
A good menu is planned inside out. This means the first priority is given to the menu and its presentation and the follows other information. It is important to communicate first the produce a work of art. A menu is supposed to inform and educate first. It should be presented in a way that stimulates appetite and results in a sale.
If there is leftover space, it can be utilized meaningfully by the following alternatives:
• Educate on theme
• Story about the management
• Take-out service
• Home-delivery services
• Free wifi login details
• Banquet and meeting facilities
• Shopping arcade
• Tourist attractions
• Credit cards honoured
• Map of the city
• Advertising other hotel facilities
Specials are menu offerings that are the signature items of the establishment. They become a unique selling proportion of an establishment that separates them from others. They often attract a higher price and promoting them leads to good business. Sometimes items are slow moving and need a push with special recognition.
You can highlight these items by:
• Listing specials in bolder type
• Describing specials with exciting copy
• Placing specials in boxes/panels/graphics devise
• Using more colour and illustrations
Common Menu Mistakes
• Menu cover is too large
• Typeface is too small
• Lack of description
• Dirty menus!
• Typed Additions
• Blank pages
• Overcrowding the menu cover. For more information on Menu Design visit this: https://www.dictionary.com/browse/design
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