The Well-Crafted Menu

Marilynn Dawson By Marilynn Dawson, 21st Oct 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Business>Sales & Marketing

The scene is repeated thousands of times every day of every week of every month of every year in most western cultures around the world. A person walks into a restaurant, tea house, or hotel eatery. A hostess greets them at the door, grabs something from a rack nearby, takes the person to their seat and places this item on the table in front of them. This person picks up the item and begins to flip through it, looking for something to order. You guessed it, they picked up a menu!


Menus have been featuring restaurant fare for as long as such establishments have graced the earth. Ranging from mere slips of paper to boards behind the till, to fancy full-colour works of art presented in a fine diner, menus are an integral part of the hospitality dining experience.

A well-crafted menu will do several things:

1) Brand the restaurant with it's colours, logo, name, etc.

2) Present a full listing of the available dishes, desserts, appetizers, and drinks offered by that establishment.

3) Present the cost of the above items in a clear, understandable manner. Pausing here a moment, one restaurant I went into, caused this author to re-read the prices of a menu item several times until finally I had to ask someone else at the table how to interpret them. A fast-food style salad bar did the same thing on their menu boards. A well-crafted menu won't have the customer guessing what the prices are.

4) Describe the listings in a manner that lets the patron know if they will encounter any foods they either don't like, don't want, or are allergic to. Some menus will have this information separate from the menu listings, and specify any potential concerns the patron may have and encourage them to speak to their waiter if they have any concerns.


Many restaurants include full-colour images of each dish on their menu, or of dishes they are particularly proud of. Other restaurants will only include full-colour images of those dishes currently on sale or being promoted at the time, such as seasonal dishes.

Generally, the well-crafted menu will group like items together into their own section on a one-sheet menu, or into their own page on a multi-page menu. It is typical to put them in order of time of day for all-day menus, and within that arrangement, place appetizers ahead of main dishes and desserts following. Most menus place the available drinks at the back or bottom of the menu.


Your local print house contains all the experience and equipment necessary to build your menu exactly the way you want it, within the budget you can afford. Remember to print more than you think you need, as invariably, they end up wearing out or getting destroyed in some manner. Full-colour is recommended where possible, both for your branding and for customer influence. A coffee-shop-like atmosphere may get away with a single-page legal sized sheet of heavy-duty card stock, but a full-fledged restaurant will want to protect their menu in plastic sleeves. Do it well, and watch your customers return.


Branding, Eatery Branding, Marketing, Promotion, Restaurant Menu

Meet the author

author avatar Marilynn Dawson
I am a computer tech by trade, as well as a Christian author and freelancer. Topics range from devotionals and online safety, to how-to's, family finances, product reviews, and more.

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