10 Ways To Optimise Your Menu Design

Menu design in Doncaster

Did you know that your restaurant menu design can help to BOOST SALES and DIRECT ATTENTION to the items you really want to sell?

Top restaurants hire menu engineers to optimise their menus but you can use the following tips to help make your restaurant menu design work for you.

The Benefits of Menu Engineering

Optimising your menu to make it work for you will enable you to:

The benefits of hiring professional designers who perform menu engineering techniques to optimise your menu and make it work for you will enable you to maximise your menu to its full potential.

Time Is Of The Essence

Diners spend 109 seconds on a menu


An extensive study conducted by Gallup (a global analytics and advice firm) concluded that the average time spent looking at a menu was 109 seconds!

You have less than 2 minutes to inform your diners about your specials, wine list and desserts.


A well designed professional menu layout can direct attention to the items you really want to sell.

Use the following checklist to make sure you are getting the most out of your menu.

Here are 10 Ways You Can Optimise Your Restaurant Menu

Separate The Dessert Menu

If a customer notices a mouth-watering dessert at the beginning of a meal, they will often skip having a starter.

Having a separate dessert menu helps to improve both starter and dessert sales.

7 items on a menu

Seven Is The Magic Number

Too much food choice on a menu will overwhelm and confuse your customer and they will just choose something that they always choose.


Limit food selection choices to a maximum of 7 per category.

7 items on the menu

Group Into Logical Sections

Diners don’t read restaurant menu’s from front to back, they prefer to find what they want quickly. Make your stylish menu much easier to scan by including clear section headings. Studies show that the sooner a customer finds what they want, the more they will order.
Make text easy to read

Make It Easy To Read

Legibility is a huge factor in the success of your menu, so choose a font that is easy to read and contrasts well with the background colour of your menu.


Print shouldn’t cause your diners to squint nor should it be so big that it overwhelms them.

Make fonts legible
Restaurant menu golden triangle

Be Aware Of The Golden Triangle

Your restaurant menu layout does have a sweet spot! Researchers who analyse eye patterns have determined that diners first look at the middle of a menu then their eyes move to the top right.


Placing high profit generating dishes in these areas can make a positive impact on your bottom line.

Place a red herring on menu

The Power Of The Red Herring

Diners don’t tend to order the most expensive dishes. Placing expensive items on menus as decoys can make other dishes look more reasonably priced.


They may not order the £45 steak but having that pricey item on the menu makes the £25 steak seem like a great deal.

red herring on a menu
tasty menu descriptions

Tantalise The Tastebuds

Provide descriptive menus! Marks & Spencers food sales sky rocketed after they used descriptive words to describe their dishes.


Research shows that using buzzwords like ‘succulent’ and ‘tender’ can increase sales and make diners feel more satisfied with their meal.

tasty menu items
build a strong brand

Maintain Brand Continuity

A strong brand can change how people perceive your company, it can drive new business and increase brand awareness.


Having a logo isn’t enough.


Colour, fonts and imagery choices all form part of your brand and should be translated into all marketing material, including restaurant your menu.

Brand consistency
emphasize high profit items

Emphasise High Profit Items

Good graphic design uses boxes and frames to highlight dishes you want customers to order.


This type of design is known as an eye magnet and draws the attention of the diner, which in turn increases the likelihood of them ordering the dish. Pair this with the sweet spot (golden triangle) and your on to a winner!

Invest In Your Menu

Invest In Your Menu Design

Your menu is your MOST valuable marketing tool. Custom menus will give you a return on investment over and over.


Essentially it is in-house advertising for your brand and allows you the opportunity to increase your revenue.


Using the right psychological triggers and design elements, your custom designed menu can increase sales and inspire repeat visits all year long.

Doncaster graphic designer logo

** Golden Rule ** DO NOT use ready-made menu templates!

Do not use menu templates. These are not flexible, inhibit the design process and they limit creativity.


A menu template will never be unique and it will ultimately cost you more money in the long run. Their main selling point is that they are cheap, but you get what you pay for. They are cheap and this shows in the menu design which can reflect on your company as a whole, giving it a poor brand image.


Menu templates will just frustrate you by taking up precious time spent trying to squeeze your menu items into a one size fits all template. You may think certain menu templates are ok if you are the stereotypical cheap and cheerful greasy cafe or cheap fast food restaurant but they are a massive no-no if you want to come across as a reputable, high class, fine dining eatery like high end restaurants.


Professional, custom, quality printed menus, together with your brand logo will help to give your company a strong brand identity.


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