One of the most important marketing tools for any restaurant is its menu. It is the beginning of the journey from a customer walking into your restaurant till the time they order from your well-crafted and designed menu. A restaurant menu design is one of the most important of all moving parts of a restaurants operation.

It’s unfortunate that to save money (penny wise pound foolish) many restaurant owners just throw together all their items on to a piece of paper. I have been consulting restaurants on their menu design and production for over 40 years. Before there were inkjet and laser printers, and the opportunity of producing them in-house. That opportunity was as good as it was bad. Good because it allowed for the changing of the menu as food trends changed , and operating costs rose. Bad because operators were putting their menus on regular thin white sheets of paper. Having that be the first impression of their food it showed the diner that it was good enough and cheap enough. The customer could only think “If they are this cheap and cutting corners on this what about the food” If this is your situation and you don’t have money to afford a good restaurant menu designer, have no fear, we are here to help get you going in the right direction when it comes to DIY great restaurant menu design with our papers or we can do it all for you.

List All Your Products So You Can See What You Are Working With

Before we can get to the design aspects of your restaurant you got to know and understand the things your menu offers Use a type program you are comfortable with and list in categories your food item followed by description and then price. If possible use a word document so if you submit your menu items to us we can easily design from there.

Break Down Your Menu Items Into Sections

After seeing all your menu items listed out, you may start to see patterns or ideas on how to group your products. Once you have a good understanding of your menu items, it’s time to start placing them logically into menu sections. Usually the menu items are in order of the way the food and beverages are ordered. Drinks, if applicable, Appetizers, Salads, Entrees, Dessert. Depending on the type of restaurant the previous layout suggestion can vary. Again, depending on the type of restaurant, I suggest that a dessert menu should be separate and handed to the customer at the end of the meal. Congrats, an important first step has been completed. Now that you have your menu items laid out, it’s time to move on to the fun stuff.

Pick A Color Scheme That Matches Your Restaurants Brand and/or Identity.

This is as simple (we say simple, but it’s really not, there is a whole study behind it) as choosing 3-4 colors that you feel would work on your restaurant menus and are associated with your restaurant. If you are having trouble picking colors or need inspiration, there are some great online resources to check out or we can help you with that.

With our digital technology we can probably print your menus in color for just slightly more than in black and white. However if you would like to print your menu in black ink we have a variety of papers that will add some character as opposed to a plain white sheet.

Prices, how to place on menu

I would argue that one of the most important aspects of a restaurant menu design is how you portray your pricing. Never line the prices up in a straight line so the customer “shops by price”. You want them to read the menu and come to a food item decision they will enjoy. Never use dollar signs to remind them how much money they are spending.

Menu Content Is Important

Referencing the menu item document you created earlier, check out the descriptions you wrote for each menu item. Do they describe the dish? Do they inform the customer of the ingredients such as “ spicy, garlic, onions, black pepper crusted, mushrooms which may not appeal to all because of their strong taste.

One cool little tip, providing you have room without making point sizes to small, to make your menu descriptions more interesting is to add one or more adjectives to each menu item description such as — mouth watering steak, hearty salad, marinated tender, fluffy eggs — we could go on forever

Stay tuned for our next Installment on How to Make A Restaurant Menu.

No Cost Analysis of Your Menu

We will be glad to review your menu and point out things that may help your menu work better. Even if you are not using our menu papers or printing services. Email a PDF or JPEG of your menu to

If you need our full service of typesetting and printing your menus or just printing from your files,
visit or call 1-800-815-5342 to get started