A restaurant’s menu is one of the most important ways to communicate the type of experience a guest is about to have. It’s an instant snapshot of the restaurant and the one piece of advertising every guest will read, having an inspiring menu design is essential to communicating the essence of your brand.
The definition of a menu is ‘a list of dishes available in a restaurant’. Following this literal definition, one could just list the items offered on a piece of paper. However, successful chefs and restaurant owners understand the purpose of a well-designed menu.
Whether a five-star restaurant or a small cafe, the menu needs to be created from the perspective of the guests the business is trying to attract. Once established, the goal is to creatively impress and entice visitors through considered design. Font selection, use of colour, whitespace, photos, even the type of paper and the device the menu is housed are all crucial in making the menu a success.
Psychology of inspiring menu design
The Golden Triangle
In most cases, when people look at a menu, their eyes are instinctively drawn to the middle, before scanning to the top right and finally, the top left. The space covered in this instinctive approach is known as ‘The Golden Triangle’.
So what should you put here? The dishes with the highest profit margins.
Another way to use psychology to your advantage is through colour.
Green makes customers think of freshly picked food. Orange, also associated with healthy goodness, is a fun, light colour with delicious qualities that is used as an appetite stimulator. Yellow makes people happy, and you can use it to grab the reader’s attention so is best used for specials and offers. Similarly red is an attention-grabber, it can be used to guide guests to dishes you really want them to order, however too bright a red can look cheap.
The communication of dish prices can have a big influence on a guests decision making.
Removing pound signs from a menu can lead to people spending more money.
Why? Because without the qualifying monetary symbol, you take away the ‘real’ or perceived value of the meal. It doesn’t feel like you’re spending money when the pound signs disappear.
Use of descriptive writing should be used to inspire your customers.
Terminology such as ‘freshly-picked’, ‘recently harvested’, ‘line-caught’ and ‘home-brewed’ will entice diners and appeal to their imagination.
Nostalgia and storytelling are also powerful ways of persuading diners. As an example ‘Aunt Jane’s renowned spicy fried chicken’ sounds a lot more intriguing than ‘fried chicken’. Guests feel like they’re ordering something really special — a blast from the past that is worth investing in.
Does your menu inspire?
The strategic importance of designing a menu can’t be understated. It could make the difference between profit and loss.
Have you read this, looked at your menu, and thought it needs a redesign?
Contact us today on 01803 295 959 to find out how we can help you better promote your dishes and increase your profits.