Having an aesthetically-pleasing, clear menu is crucial to every restaurant. Your customers want to be able to order quickly and easily, especially that now a lot of restaurants are only doing delivery, meaning it is not so easy to ask a passing waiter what a dish is. Luckily, there are plenty of online menu builders free for the using so you can create your own menu with ease. There are even free menu making apps, perfect for if you are constantly on the go but still want to get some work done. If you have a higher budget, you could always consider getting a graphic designer to design a truly unique menu for your restaurant, but at the end of the day, it’s legible that matters most.
So with that in mind, take a look at this list of tips on how to make a menu:
Decide on the main menu sections
Will you just be serving appetizers, main courses and desserts? Or will you be offering such a wide array of soups that they really deserve their own section? Are salads a big part of what you do or are they just an afterthought side dish? What about vegetarian and vegan options, how many of those do you plan on having? Will you be offering both alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails? Deciding on your menu sections is the best way to keep your menu organized and legible, especially for people that are visiting you for the first time.
Make the dishes sound interesting…but don’t overdo it
There is a thin line between creating a cool dish name and description, and waxing poetical to the point that your customers do not know what they’re ordering. If you’re now quite sure what side of that line you’re on, don’t worry! It’s virtually impossible to be objective when it comes to your own work –– you know what you meant. That’s why you should ask some unaffiliated friends or family members what they think of how your dishes are described on the menu, and be open to their feedback. Better take a little constructive criticism now than a financial hit in the future!
Don’t offer too many dishes
It may seem tempting to pour all of your culinary skills onto your first menu, show your customers all you are capable of. But giving people too much information at once is just likely to confuse them. Information overload is a very real phenomenon, and it has never helped anyone make a decision! That’s why experts agree you should stick to a maximum of 15-20 dishes on one menu. If you really want to offer more, consider having a separate breakfast or brunch menu as well. Limiting the number of dishes on your menu is a good strategic decision –– because those dishes will definitely come in handy later! Changes keep people’s attention, so when you decide it’s time to change things up to keep your customers interested in what you have to offer, you won’t have to scour cookbooks for new ideas. You can just use dishes you skipped before to create a whole new menu in no time!
Figure out what your house favorites will be
There are people who will continue to come back for the same flavors over and over again. Humor them! This will also allow you to show off your culinary skills by giving your specialties a front-and-center position on your menu. Three house favorites should be enough, and make sure they are the kind of dishes that will be available regardless of season.
Pick the right menu card design
Menu builder software is a convenient tool, but don’t let technology do all the thinking for you! At the end of the day, it is your restaurant, and you understand the atmosphere you want to create, your customers, and the very soul of your establishment best. Your menu is an important part of your restaurant’s image, so make sure it reflects what you want to convey. So spend some time going through and testing various menu maker apps and menu creating software and choose the one that’s right for your restaurant.
Making a menu is a challenge, and one of the most important parts of the restaurant opening process. Don’t get too stressed about it, though –– with the right menu designer program and a little creativity and common sense, yours is sure to get your customers’ mouths watering!