It’s a Saturday night. You and your spouse decide that cooking the pound of frostbitten beef in the freezer is just not worth the effort or potential health risks. You decide to go out. After eleven hours of deciding on a place to eat, you settle on someplace new, even though a “gastropub” reminds you of something your grandmother could be diagnosed with. “She suffers from gastropub.” Or even, “I ate the old beef from the freezer. I think it gave me gastropub.”
It can be difficult enough deciding on a place to eat, let alone choosing from an actual menu. For the easily overwhelmed, a three page menu (what we call a “tri-fold” in the printing biz) of thirty-two different cheeseburger toppings might produce an aneurysm or two. As for the jaded foodies out there, those who glance at a menu and immediately judge its functionality, design, and of course, content, a boring menu can turn away business. As a part time cook and a proud food enthusiast, I understand the fundamentals of a solid menu. The following are some tips for creating your perfect menu.
CONTENT– DON’T. OVER. THINK. I could stop there but I’ll elaborate. A great menu shouldn’t be convoluted with extra or unnecessary details and information. The food should speak for itself. Keep it simple. Every menu item should give the reader a clear idea of what that item is. By fluffing up a menu item with superfluous words (like that one) and descriptions, the risk of intimidating a customer increases. What could be a fun and adventurous dish choice for a customer becomes a pop quiz on french cuisine. “Haricot Verts”, for the record, are just green beans. Writing them in french will not Hari-convert anyone. If someone likes green beans, they’ll order them. Culture is important to a menu, but if it’s not consistent and requires a translator for only a few menu items, then it’s time to simplify. On the other hand, a more elaborate description of a completely unfamiliar dish might pique interest. If local veggies are involved, say that. If the dish contains, for example, “ Wild Chilean Salmon slow smoked for eight hours,” okay, that’s important. If the dish was created by two Hungarian immigrants twenty years ago while they were practicing their tap dance routine, maybe save that information for a biography later down the road. Some details, although interesting to some, are better left out. If the menu item is not self explanatory, only say what is necessary, what serves a purpose.
Aesthetic– Speaking of serving a purpose…the aesthetic of a menu is what customers first see. Make that first impression count! Something we love to suggest to restrautors at Harvest for hand held menus is using Synthetic cover paper, which is tear-free and waterproof. It feels and looks so much better than standard paper menus. A glossy finish helps make your menu’s images stand out and gives the menu a very professional appearance, whatever size or style you decide on. Take out menus, brochure style menus, are great for those who prefer to take things home and hold them. Who doesn’t like to take a menu home, curl up by the fire, and reflect on all the menu items you could’ve had. “What? They did have shrimp? They had shrimp all along?” A conversation I’ve had with myself many a time. Take home menus are great for branding. Think of how many times your menus will be seen magnetized to a fridge, or inside the miscellaneous kitchen drawer. Hence the importance of a menus appearance. Matching the aesthetic of a restaurant or location to a menu is always a smart move. Light or dark blues and nautical images, for example, are a fitting choice for seafood menus or beach themed restaurants. Finding a niche for your menus aesthetic helps maintain a general focus for customers. It’s important to remember that before people eat with their mouths, they eat with their eyes. A well designed menu is essential in completing an overall dining experience.
Accessibility– If you’ve been living under a large rock for the past few decades, that is a valid excuse for not having an online menu. If your a business owner who does not offer online content to consumers, then you should take some time to think about your poor choices. Maybe borrow that other guys large rock, have a good think. Because in today’s world, you ABSOLUTELY NEED an online presence. According to a recently conducted survey,
“A whopping 86 percent regularly check out menus online before they dine out. How often do you update your online menu, where do you update it, and how well does it reflect what your guests might expect when they arrive? Either commit to keeping your menu fresh, or post a sample version that’s timeless.”
As I previously stated, we eat with our eyes before we actual dig into a meal. It starts with what looks good on a menu from the comfort of one’s own living room. Nearly every time I go out to eat, I know what I’m ordering before I get there. New restaurant, familiar place, it doesn’t matter. I pick up my phone or open my laptop, look up a menu, and there I am, converting words from an online menu into a food fantasy. Often times, If I’m not given the option to view what a restaurant has to offer online, or any business for that matter, I am instantly reluctant to take the time to visit that place in person. I speak for the 86% here.
We at Harvest Print and Marketing Solutions can help your business grow not only through print, but through developing and creating your website, designing your menu, your logos, anything you’d need to look good, we’ve got you covered. Check out all the services we offer on our website, or give us a call sometime with any questions you have 850-681-2488
Harvest Print & Marketing Solutions