Restaurant menu design, especially when it comes to your cover, should fit your mission statement and goals and be a reflection of the dining experience. Menu covers are the first design element that guests see and will impact their entire dining experience, driving the success of your business.
Here are 5 examples of how different restaurant menu cover designs can impact your business.
The classic diner menu is a great example of a menu with no cover. It is effective, time tested, casual, and doubles as a placemat.
And while no cover menus might be most common in casual dining establishments, they can also be found in high-end sushi restaurants in Tokyo’s Ginza district. There, a handwritten menu on a piece of brown paper is the restaurant’s way of letting guests know that the fish changes daily, depending on what looked best that morning at the Tsukiji Market.
These menus are good for presenting everything in one place and helping people make decisions faster. Similar to no cover, however, the presentation tends to be perceived as more light and casual. As a result, guests might order less, which could reduce profitability.
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The additional panel tends to give patrons more of a feeling of a full dining experience, while also presenting information in a comprehensive easy to read format.
As the number of panels proliferates, the requirement for skillful application of menu design techniques increases. The temptation is to list too many items, and with more items to choose from comes the risk of decision paralysis.
Chains such as Applebee’s, IHOP, and Chili’s are able to navigate the many panel menu successfully. One strategy is to organize the menu categories by page. Another is to use pictures, taking advantage of the increase in menu real estate to make the menu more visual.