Restaurant Menu Design: Capturing your Brand with a New Menu

Happy man looking at menu printed by Acme in restaurant

Restaurant Menu Design: Capturing your Brand with a New Menu

Menus largely represent one of the first impressions that a customer has of your establishment. Because menus are used to educate your customers on your product offerings, it is perhaps one of the most important forms of print advertising you’ll have to create as a business owner. Because of this, your restaurant menu is one of the single most important printed materials that your business will generate.

Essential Menu Design Choices

While the choices available to you when designing your menu are truly endless, there are still some crucial decisions to make that are similar to most print products. You’ll first want to decide whether your menu will be a tri-fold style, long panel, or booklet style. While long panel seems to have become the trendier style lately, some types of restaurants and budgets better lend themselves to the other types. For example, more upscale, expensive seafood restaurants tend to use the booklet style menu for presentation purposes. Alternatively, a diner that serves a lengthy number of dishes may be more apt to use a tri-fold menu.  

Another initial menu design consideration is the stock weight of paper that you’ll use. For many long menus, acceptable weights start around 90-lb, 14 –pt. card stock and go up to a 110-lb weight and an 18-pt thickness. Trifold menus, on the other hand, tend to be heavier, starting around 100-lbs with less thickness. Booklet style menus are often heavier and thicker than either long or tri-folds. 

The last essential menu design choice you’ll want to make before moving into your actual design is the finish of the menu. While gloss lamination will provide your menus with durability and extend their overall lifespan, matte lamination is also an option. Uncoated menus may be a good option for restaurant owners on a budget or who have quickly changing menu options. 

Menu Design Considerations/ Menu Layout & Design


 There are very few instances where your menu shouldn’t be full-color printing. You should select your menu colors based on the mood you want to set. For example, if your dining area uses colors like green and brown to relax the customer, these should also be present in your menu.  Studying the psychology of colors is undoubtedly worth the time when designing a dining room or a menu. Additionally, colors can be used to draw attention to specific items, which can help your menu push customers towards higher profit margin food. 


 It would be best if you also put in a reasonable amount of thought into what your menu says, the font used, and where all the text should be placed. Firstly, you want to divide your menu into logical sections by grouping together like items, such as all salads, seafood, and side items in their own section. Just as color can have a specific psychological effect on your customers, so can the font and typography that you use. Furthermore, never use more than two fonts in your menu and only use a second font to draw attention to specific food items. 

Currency Symbols 

As a bonus, leave the dollar symbol off of your menu. Multiple studies have shown that customers spend more when they don’t realize that they are spending money. Leaving the currency symbol off your menu will increase your overall sales. 

Keys to a Good Restaurant Menu

There’s quite a bit of psychology that goes along with designing a menu. Graphic designers recommend a few things when discussing restaurant menu design which includes using photos sparingly, paying close attention to the way people scan words, choosing appropriate colors and font, and using boxes to direct the attention of diners. All of these suggestions work quite well. As previously mentioned in the last section, leaving the dollar signs off your menu can increase your overall sales. From a restaurant owner perspective, the essential key to a good restaurant menu involves drawing attention to the menu items that have the highest profit margins.

Other Restaurant Print Products

 Outside of printing restaurant menus, there are several other print products that your eatery should consider that can both complement and enhance your food offerings. These restaurant print products include placemats, separate alcohol/cocktail menus, take-out and catering menus, and table tents. If these promotional and menu products fit into your budget, then the design should strongly align with your main menu. They should use the same colors and design scheme but don’t necessarily have to match the same stock or style. For example, your take-out menus can be uncoated and a lesser weight stock than your primary menu. 

 Restaurant Menu Printing

 Owning a business involves making countless decisions, some of which are more important than others. Because of the value instilled in menus, you owe it to yourself to spend the extra attention needed to make your restaurant a success. Restaurant owners should consider enlisting the assistance of a professional graphic designer and printing company to ensure that your most crucial advertising accurately reflects your brand. Acme Printing offers business owners professional graphic design, digital and offset printing, and a vast array of finishing services to put that extra special touch when creating menus. Contact us online or at (423) 581-8528 today for assistance on creating a menu that will leave your customers hungry for more! 

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