Cliched but true, we eat first with our eyes and then taste the food. This led us to believe can a piece of communication make you hungry? Great restaurant menu designs can improve a dining experience, help clients make satisfying decisions and stimulate appetite, and probably even push you to experiment. Simply put, they are expected to make you visualise the food, and make your mouth water.
Today, we build our restaurants around stories and narratives, but what fun is a story if it cannot be communicated? Menus for us are like a story book- a way to have fun and narrate the story of the restaurant. When I visualise a menu, I try and think of something that should excite you about where you are dining. Possibly the most underrated touch point, menus are just viewed as a collation of dishes a restaurant has available. For designers, it is a promotional device capable of communicating a restaurant’s identity, driving profit and building recall- if it’s well designed.
These are few strategies to keep in mind when changing a menu design:
Typography -Effective typography will convey a restaurant’s image and result in a legible menu. Selection of the typeface and font may depend on several factors, such as the amount of text expected to comfortably fit on the page. Using more than one typeface – say, to differentiate between the names and descriptions of menu items – may help to guide customers through the menu. A well-designed menu should always go with the genre of the restaurant.
Colour and description – One of the important things to keep in mind is the colour that you use for the menu. Select colours keeping the target audience in mind as much as the theme of the restaurant. For instance, when something is in green, it makes one think of fresh food. Red is an attention grabber. Use creative descriptions like freshly-picked, home-brewed and chef special to lure customers to order specific items.
Outer cover - The outers should be inviting, different colour, finishes and materials have different effect on the viewer. So, the outer cover of a menu will help set the mood of the restaurant by being the perfect advocate of the identity of the restaurant. As an example, we can take the menu at Social, Hauz Khas Village that has been done in a newspapers format or a special promotion menu done by Absolute Elyx on a copper clipboard with a pineapple.
Flow –In terms of placement, consider the natural progression of courses. The menu should follow a flow that emulates the courses people will order and eat in the chronology that is generally common. A menu should flow well in terms of clear selectionof headings, courses, descriptions, prices etc. There can be a lot of information on a menu, so keeping it all organized is a priority.
Though, there is always a different ways to design and redesign a menu, but we should always create a menu keeping in mind that it needs to attract a customer, and goes a long way in shaping the customer experience. What work for a place, may not work for another, so focus on the restaurant’s personality. The food prices change, the food items change, so the menu designs!