6 Trends In Menu Design

Sunny Stree

Current research in restaurant trends indicates that good menu design is important in many ways. While it helps customers make satisfying choices and can help stimulate appetite among guests, it also can and should be more than a list of options. It is a marketing tool that helps to identify the brand, communicate identity and drive profitability.

1. Reading 101

How does the average guest look at our menu? In the past restaurants have designed menus under the assumption that customers eyes are naturally drawn to “hot spots” Hot spots are areas typically in the center of the menu or areas with bold type or bright colors. While there is some evidence that bold colors and graphics grab a customer's attention, research is now supporting the fact that the average person still goes back to reading a menu like a book, starting in the top left corner.

2. Logic, it just makes sense

Dividing the menu into logical grouping and sections makes it easy for the guest to find items that they are interested in. Having appetizers, similar entrees, and desserts organized into groups just makes sense and gives some simple direction to guests that aides in their decision making. Take a look at how Sunny Street Café divides their menu.

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3. Picture this

Current research is now telling us that photos of food are most commonly associated with junk mail fliers and big fast food chain restaurants. If photos are used they need to be high quality and assurance must be taken that all actual plating and presentations are completely accurate. In general, it is better to leave the quality of the food to the customer’s imagination, because not all food photography will appeal to everyone. In place of photos many restaurants are using simple graphics and illustrations to communicate more of the restaurant's personality, and they are more likely to be universally appealing.

4. Checking all the boxes

Boxes can draw attention to a group of menu items and are often used by restaurants to promote high profit margin items.

5. All in

Current trends are moving toward allowing the guest to see the whole menu at once. The trifold and booklet style menus are on the way out. Offering a separate one page specials or drink menu is becoming more popular than risking losing them on cluttered multi page menus. Minimalism is key.

6. It’s not about the money

Make an effort to keep customers from focusing on how much they’re spending. Studies have shown that customers are more likely to spend more when currency signs are omitted.

The key takeaway is that you don't want your menu detracting from the quality of your restaurant or your food. The menu is a physical representation of the atmosphere of your restaurant. It should follow the aesthetics of the dining area but be quick and easy to read. By following these 6 trends you can increase profitability through clever menu design.


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