One of the most frequently used items in the restaurant and bar industry is the menu. A well-designed and organized menu is not only an extension of the establishment’s brand, but it is also a sales tool. Here are some tips when it comes to designing a successful menu.

Before tackling the look of the menu, or any branding, ask yourself:

“What is the personality and culture of my restaurant?”
“Who is my demographic and how do they operate?”
“Who is my competition and what advantages do I have in the marketplace?”

These questions will allow you to narrow your focus and make informed decisions not only on your menu design, but also on the layout of your tables, hours of operation and entrée choices. Keeping your clients in mind will help you to best serve their needs.



What to do:

  • Put a box around items of importance
  • Distinguish a hierarchy with use of color
  • Use columns for easier readability
  • Include symbols and icons where applicable
  • Create unique headers and use descriptive wording

What to avoid: 

  • Patterns behind menu items
  • Prices that stand out more than the description
  • Lengthy descriptions of offerings
  • Low quality papers, as menus are constantly handled
  • Photos of entrees, as consumers will expect a replica of the picture



According to Gregg Rapp, Menu Engineer, there are three factors you should consider incorporating when designing your menu.

  1. White Space
  2. Readability
  3. Separate Menus (Food, Dessert, Drink)

These factors are dependent on each other for ultimate legibility and comprehension for your guests.

To push a certain product or increase profitability, Rapp suggests placement of information on your menu be done strategically as the gaze of the eye typically follows these paths:






Also, be sure to keep in mind the tangible experience for guests. What is your menu printed on? The texture, color and weight of your menu gives an immediate impression and creates a unique experience for the consumer (and don’t forget about eco and green papers!).



Does your menu need an update or some new organization? 818 has the knowledge and experience to help you with your establishment’s goals. Let’s meet for coffee or tacos and see how we might be a good fit for you.


Source: Gregg Rapp,