7 Questions to Answer Before Designing a Food Menu
The menu is one of the most important parts of any food establishment. Restaurant menu design is not as simple as it seems. The right approach to food menu design can do wonders for the brand and its profits.
Are you planning to create a new menu or redesigning the menu for your establishment? In any of these cases, there are 7 questions that you must answer before you start designing- and these are what we will talk about next.
What is your target audience?
How well do you know your existing and/or target customers? If you could not define and answer this within seconds, then you need to pause and work on this before going to the next steps.
Your target audience will help you learn about what your menu should be like and what the rest of your F&B marketing strategy must be.
Every other professional that you hire for F&B branding, be it food photographers in Singapore or an affordable graphic designer– they all will need to know what type of audience you have in mind so that they can provide you results suited to them.
Does your menu consider the prevalence of new styles of eating, diets, and food allergies?
People are becoming increasingly conscious of what they eat, and they expect their dietary preferences to be respected when they go out to eat.
Being aware of and incorporating these changes to your menu can do a lot in getting you more customers. Incorporate variants of dishes like gluten-free, vegan, free of meat, etc. in your menu if feasible.
Do include information about ingredients like nuts, seafood, etc. that people may be allergic to. Being sensitive to these factors helps in creating a welcoming experience for your customers.
Ensure that your customers are informed about any possible allergens on the menu.
Does the menu highlight your restaurant’s signature dishes or culinary style?
What sets your restaurant’s food apart from the competition? What are the signature dishes? Both these things must be prominently highlighted in the menu. Your customers should be able to order things that would make them switch from the competition to your establishment.
Does the menu design take into account the ambiance and the lighting conditions?
For instance, if your restaurant has dim lighting or a darker ambiance for fine-dining, does your menu’s creative graphic designer ensure that it is easy to read and does not strain your customer’s eyes? Ensure that your menu is easy to read and pleasing based on the setting and lighting at your restaurant.
What type of design techniques has been used to point customers towards certain dishes? Have these techniques or tricks been overused?
There are many ‘techniques’ that are used to drive customers towards certain items. Setting a decoy item, which is a higher-priced item that makes others look affordable, is a common technique.
Design elements like placing high-profit items at certain places in the menu, flow of different categories, etc. are also helpful. However- ensure that you do not overuse these techniques.
The menu must have subtle indicators towards items that you want your customers to order, not a bag of tricks that will not have any effect at all.
Have you finalized the items, descriptions, ingredients, and the cost?
You need all 4 things in place before you start working on a restaurant menu design. What items would be served, their descriptions for the menu, the ingredients to be used in them, and the menu cost of each item?
The menu cost is not the selling price of the dish- it is the total cost of all ingredients used in making the dish (excluding any labor costs of preparation and serving).
What is your plan for updating prices?
Updating a menu can be an expensive and tedious affair if you modify prices frequently. You need to have an idea of how frequently you would update the prices, what your strategy for updating the price would be and how would this price-change be rolled out.
If you will be changing pieces often, you may want to have a template that can be revised as needed. Do not cross out prices using a pen or marker. This looks unprofessional and is one of the worst things to do with such an important element of your restaurant.
Thus, once you have answers to all the 7 questions above, you can get working on the food menu design.
Answering these questions will help you in all other aspects as well- including food photography, overall marketing strategy, F&B branding, etc.
Once you have a clear idea and vision of what your restaurant will be and what sets it apart from the competition, you can proceed with menu design and all other important elements.
Keep these things in mind and you are sure to provide your guests with an unforgettable experience.