Restaurant Menu Design: How to Catch the Character of Your Restaurant in Your Menus

A menu gives more than just a basic insight into what a restaurant has to offer in terms of the kind of food and it’s pricing. It’s an important internal advertisement tool that helps give customers a glimpse into the experience they are about to have. A clean, well-designed menu that reflects the identity of your restaurant is an important way to communicate your brand and it’s one of the essential building blocks for creating a successful restaurant business. In fact, much of a restaurant’s success is determined by its menu.

In order for your menu to effectively represent your brand and help boost sales, you should keep in mind the kind of people you want dining at your restaurant when approaching the menu design. From the colours used to the typography chosen, your menu should tie in with the interior design and theme of your restaurant. Consistency is key, so keep elements between the decor and menu the same to better reflect your restaurant’s personality.

Colour is an important element when it comes to designing menus. A specific colour can create interest and also evoke certain emotions. In order to truly capture the character of your restaurant in your menu design, you must first choose a colour that resonates with your brand and best conveys the image you want it to convey to your audience. It’s important that you choose a colour that grabs the attention of your customers. Incorporating warmer colours in your design elicits a welcoming response. From a psychological standpoint, colours such as reds and yellows have the ability to invoke the feeling of hunger. These colours also effectively grab your visitors’ attention. It’s an effective strategy many fast-food restaurants use. On the other hand, restaurants mainly targeting health and fitness enthusiasts use various shades of green and earthy tones which are usually linked to health and nature. By incorporating such colours in their menu design, restaurants are able to further promote the healthy options on their menu. These colours are also present throughout the restaurant to match the persona of the target audience. A restaurant with a more lighthearted ambiance such as a café or French bistro may benefit from using colours such a yellow, orange and other peppy colours throughout their menu design. Colours can be incorporated depending on what’s pleasing to the eyes.

Although graphics play an important part in the menu design, we cannot forget about the significance of typography. Good imagery and typography go hand in hand. When put to correct use, the menu’s typeface can give an insight into the character of a restaurant. A font is chosen and placed based on what style the restaurant is trying to reflect. The type of restaurant you are will be the driving force when it comes to choosing the perfect font for your brand as well as the font used throughout the design of the menu. A sophisticated, consistent and clean typeface would best reflect a restaurant that offers a simplistic menu or a fine-dining experience, whereas, fast food chains may include thick, trendy, or grungy fonts throughout their menu. If an already existing font is unable to capture the character of your restaurant, you may benefit from choosing a custom font to really stand out. Most menus incorporate different typefaces and sizes to differentiate between the category of food, name of the dish and the description. This allows for better readability and relatability. A play between font styles can also reflect your restaurant’s persona. Using italics for the description may give your restaurant an up-scale feel if that’s what your style is.  

While colours and typography create the ideal blend for evoking emotions and creating good visuals, style and presentation of the menu cannot be overlooked. The style of menu you decide for your restaurant, whether it be take-out or in-house dining, can also help reflect the character of your restaurant. If your restaurant offers a fine-dining experience then you could benefit from having a hard-bound menu that reflects the sophistication of the restaurant. However, a café dedicated to promoting holistic and healthy eating may decide to go with a more sustainable approach for their menus – perhaps by choosing recycled paper for their menus or going paper-free with digital menus.

A menu design that is synchronous with the restaurant’s identity is an ideal way to capture your restaurant’s personality. With a focus on elements such as colour, typography and style to effectively communicate your design, a menu design should add recognizable personality to your restaurant resulting in an ever-lasting impression on your customers.

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