female bartender prepares cocktail

Restaurant menu design is crucial to every bar and restaurant. It’s one of, if not the most important piece of marketing collateral you have, with a well-designed menu driving both greater turnover and greater margins than a poorly conceived menu. Looking for ideas? Check out this restaurant menu template, and read on for useful design tips.

1- Separate Your Drink Menu

With drinks giving the highest margin items in a bar or restaurant, draw attention to them by keeping them separate from your food menu. A discrete list for beer, wine, and cocktails allows you to showcase your wares without customers drowning in a sea of text. It’s generally more user-friendly and space efficient than having one giant menu, and you can leave a drinks menu out on a table to help increase sales.


Creative names can account for more than half of the reason for selecting a given cocktail.


2- Get Organized

Think carefully about how many options to include. A good rule of thumb is to have at least eight to twelve different wine, beer, and cocktail options, depending on whether you have a particular alcohol focus. Keep alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks separate.

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3- Words Matter

Creative names can account for more than half of the reason for selecting a given cocktail, according to The Bon Vivants. Use adjectives to create emotive descriptions of ingredients and flavors—without getting too wordy; be as simple as possible. Include the beer style and wine grapes to make it easier for customers to know what they’re getting.

4- Visual Design Cues and Tricks

Using color images of high margin drinks can increase sales (but don’t work with every menu design). Other ways to draw attention to high margin drinks include placing them where people’s eyes are drawn to first—such as at the top right-hand corner of the menu, and first and last on a list. You can also place them in a box, use a larger font, or use white space to separate high margin drinks from other menu options.

5- Who’s Drinking?

Knowing your clientele is crucial. A drink name that encourages massive sales in Kansas could see the exact same drink languishing in New York City.

6- Price it Right

If the price isn’t listed on the menu, people can be intimidated to order more than one cocktail, so always include drink prices. Pricing beers from most expensive to least encourages more profitable purchases. Different wines should vary in price by at least a dollar. Including dollar signs focuses customers on the price, as does using punctuation to connect the item to the price, so just use numbers with decimals immediately after the item, and avoid displaying prices in a column, which encourages price shopping. End prices in .95 instead of .00.

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Mitchell Hall is a writer and editor living in Boston, MA. Originally from New Zealand, growing up he spent nearly ten years greedily imbibing the spirit of hospitality as a kitchenhand, waiter, and barman.