The Restaurant & Takeaway Innovation Expo

9 & 10 NOV 2021


Getting the Most Out of Menus: 5 Tricks for a Big Impact Menu Design

Picture this: you’ve just arrived at the new restaurant that’s opened in town. There’s beautiful lighting and décor, you’re greeted by enthusiastic staff, the ambience is just right, and then you’re handed a menu on a sheet of standard printer paper that looks like it’s been typed up in the back office 5 minutes before you arrived.

It doesn’t matter how delicious the dishes sound, or how perfect the atmosphere is, that bad menu is enough to put you off and leave you with a bad taste in your mouth. 

To help you avoid any irrecoverable menu mistakes, here are 5 must-know tricks for a menu design that makes the perfect first impression.

(Image credit The Alchemist –

Brand It!

Whether you’re a large chain or a small independent business, maintaining a strong brand presence is essential. Everything from the staff uniform and interior design of your restaurant to your online marketing, and even especially your menu, should scream your brand messaging.

Adding your logo loud and proud on the front page of your menu can add a polished finish and show that the attention to detail care you take with your menu represents the level of care you take preparing your customers’ food.

Place Carefully

Image and text placement is crucial for your design, and can even impact the sale of specific food items. The best way to plan out your dishes it to think about: 1) how you would read a menu and 2) the natural progression of the courses.

This is why starting at the top with starters, followed by mains, then desserts and drinks at the bottom is one of the most common ways of laying out your menu design. Another way is to put specials on the back as this is one of the first places people look when handed something printed.

(Image credit Sagardi, Shoreditch -

Go Big with Headers

We probably don’t need to tell you that headers make things easier to read, and the bigger they are, the more separate the different sections of your menu design will be. 

This is also a great opportunity to get creative with your typography! Novelty and script typefaces can add to your design, but are best used strategically. Where do you want to draw customers’ eyes first? Highlight items your restaurant is known with. 

But before you go and add heavily cursive fonts to your menu, a word of warning – make sure the headings are still easy to read or the impact will be lost.

(Image credit The Royal Catch –

Use Warm Tones

Did you know that there are such things as hungry colours? There’s a reason why restaurants tend to use reds, browns and yellows – these colours actually stimulate the appetite. 

Fast food restaurants tend to stick to red (KFC, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut) because this colour creates a sense of urgency. Turquoise, orange and yellow are relaxing, happy colours that make customers feel comfortable – enough to order dessert or an extra cocktail! Green normally connotes a healthy option.

Pick one or two colours for your menu design to create the effect you want without overpowering the customer.

Follow it Up with a Quality Stock

In our introduction, we spoke about how receiving a menu that looked and felt like it had been printed on a standard office printer in a back room (obviously) doesn’t give the best impression of your restaurant. This is where choosing the right stock comes in.

Stock is fancy printing talk for the material your menus are printed on – normally a smooth card measured in weight. The higher the gsm (grams per square metre), the thicker the card and the more premium the finished result!

Many restaurants also like using Kraft stock for their menus, which is an earthy-brown card that looks rustic. 

Your stock says as much about your restaurant as the design. Takeaway restaurants tend to choose thinner, budget-friendly stocks for folded flyer-style menus, whereas sit-down restaurants go for thicker options. 

Need help choosing the right menu? Or do you want some more menu design tips? Get in touch with instantprint for a personal online printing experience.

Get in touch: instantprint

0191 27 27 327