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How to Organize a Restaurant Menu

Have you ever gone to a restaurant and been confused, or even felt misled, by bad menu design? Being overwhelmed with poorly described options and feeling like you have to ask your server a bunch of questions about the food can make it difficult for customers to fully relax and enjoy themselves. Spending the extra time to come up with an easy-to-understand, professional menu design will immediately prepare people to enjoy your food instead of guessing what they’re ordering. 

Why Menu Organization is Important for Marketing Your Restaurant

Have you ever had a craving for a bowl of pho, or wanted to try a new restaurant with your friends from out of town? It’s pretty likely that you started searching on your phone, which is why organizing your menu and allowing others to find you easily through popular websites like Yelp is an important marketing strategy for your restaurant. Your menu is one of the most important parts of your restaurant after all!

Web Design for Your Restaurant. Your restaurant’s website will set the tone for customers before they enter your doors. Getting a modern, mobile friendly, and easy to use website shows that you’re a professional establishment and take what you do seriously. You can give people easy access to your up to date menu, contact information, and hours of operation as well as links to any food delivery services you use. Searchability is also an important factor in getting new customers. Optimizing your website to show up on search engines makes it easy for people to type in something like “pizza San Francisco” and find you on their list. 

Other Web Tools for Menu Marketing. Taking the extra time to put your menu up on Yelp, Facebook, or with a Google business profile makes it even easier for people to look over your restaurant. Casting a wide net as far as websites goes is never a bad thing! Having a social media presence is great as well. Posting some delicious food pics to Instagram on a regular basis and growing a local following can get folks paying attention to what you serve. Uploading your menu to a big variety of sources also increases your accessibility. Some people who have vision loss have an easier time looking over menus online, or need more 

Take-Out/Delivery as Forms of Marketing. Since the pandemic, a lot of restaurants have had to rely on delivery services and take-out options to stay in business. With the level of convenience we’ve gotten used to, delivery apps and take-out will continue to thrive. Apps like UberEats offer options to promote your restaurant through promotions. You can create options to save more when you order more food, or daily promotions on specific menu items. Offering deals for take-out is a great option as well, or deals on specific days.


Menu Organization Best Practices

Creating an effective menu is essential to your restaurant. Accessibility and ease of use means people will focus more on enjoying your menu as opposed to becoming overwhelmed or confused. Keeping it simple and to the point is always a great idea.

  • Highlight best sellers. They’re your best sellers for a reason! Putting your best foot forward gives you the opportunity to show off what your customers love you for. Getting new customers with hit menu items will keep them coming back and likely trying new menu items the next time. 
  • Symbols and icons. Dietary restrictions are commonplace, and sometimes a matter of life or death for some people. Whether it’s a life-threatening allergy, a vegan or vegetarian meal, or just an indication of how spicy something is, people really appreciate when you go the extra mile to inform them ahead of time so they don’t have to ask. People without dietary restrictions can also notice these indicators and want to bring their friends who might have those restrictions. 
  • De-emphasize price whenever possible. The purpose of this is not to trick customers into spending more money. You want people to come in and enjoy themselves by looking at your menu and choosing what looks good! Doing small design choices like taking away the dollar sign next to the price and making the price less pronounced than the description lets people focus on what they want instead of how much everything is. 
  • Be descriptive and concise. There’s a fine balance between plainly describing what’s in a dish or drink and writing prose about a chicken sandwich. You want to be crystal clear about everything going on with the items on your menu without rambling on about it, the fewer words the better. It’s great to punch up some of your menu descriptions with a few over the top adjectives, but it can get tricky. If you feel like it’s not hitting how you want, don’t be afraid to collaborate or hire someone to write it out for you. 


How to Design Your Menu

It’s an exciting moment when you start to design your menu. The first big step is to write down and price your menu items. You’ll want to have a general idea of how you’d like to describe things, and you’ll want to keep the number of items minimal. You don’t want to saturate your menu with options, just stick to things you’re excited to showcase. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with making a menu on your own from scratch, websites like Canva and even Adobe offer some free templates for you to choose from. You’ll also want to consider modification pricing and how your menu will look in your POS system. As for the web end of things, having a menu people can scroll through on your website as well as a downloadable PDF version are excellent choices. 


Provi Can Help You with Menu Design and Organization! 

Menus represent the heart and soul of your restaurant or bar, and now you have more than enough knowledge to make the perfect menu for your business. Making the perfect menu shows customers you’re ready to show off the incredible food and drinks you have to offer! Download our free guide, Building the Perfect Menu. 

The Provi Team


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