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restaurant menu

Having a well-designed and thought out menu can make a difference for your guests. It can impact the guests’ dining experience and what they order, affecting your bottom line in the kitchen and overall service.

As a restaurant owner or chef, you have put a lot of time and thought into the food you serve at your establishment. The menu should reflect this level of detail, as well as be a visual representation of your theme, tone, and values as a restaurant.

Here are some of the industry standards for restaurant menu design to consider, whether you’re starting fresh or revamping your existing menu content and layout.

Type Of Menu

How many folds can impact your guests and how they see your entire menu offerings.

Research shows this does have an impact on how they order because of the common patterns of reading. For a single-fold menu, guests are likely to go straight to the middle of the page before continuing to the top right and then left. This is often referred to as the ‘golden triangle’ in menu graphic design. Even in menus with multiple folds, research shows that most people look at the middle of a menu first, followed by the top, then the bottom.

Having a well-designed and thought out menu can make a difference for your guests.


Keeping the ‘golden triangle’ idea in mind, it’s a smart move to place your signature items or any menu options you want to emphasize within this most viewed area.


Design & Font

If you have specials or signature items, it might make the most sense to call these out in a different font or colored text-box from the other menu options.

80% of a restaurant’s food sales come from only 16% of menu items. How do you know which ones? The perfect menu is just a click away with Upserve's Menu Builder.

Design Your Menu

Once again, research has shown that people notice things that look different from the rest of the page, so even just placing dish names in bold or different colors will call attention to it, increasing the possibility of being ordered.

Even for the regular menu, it’s important to have a readable font and type size for all menu options. You may consider having a large print menu option available at the hostess stand for guests who are visually impaired.


What you call your dishes can impact sales. If your restaurant has a theme, it could be fun to tie in different names for common dishes to fit the theme, giving your restaurant a quirky and memorable twist. Using adjectives and other buzzwords can also help bring attention and interest to a menu option.

Using words like “decadent” or “artisan” speak to guest’s taste buds and interests, making them more likely to order a dish.

It’s also important to make sure your descriptions of each menu option are concise and complete, making note of any special preparation techniques or special garnishes.

Research shows that showing the dish cost at the end of a description is most effective, as it seems almost like an afterthought to the guest because they are lured in by the food description.

For more information on restaurant menu design, check this out

Written by   |  
Kristen is a curious person with a love of pop culture, history, and the arts. Lover of all things food, tea, and books. Once a Season 5 blogger for Stratejoy in 2011, she can now be found around the internet @lifebykristenc and lifebykristen.com, her lifestyle blog.
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