Creating a Menu Page for Your Restaurant Website: What to Include

As a restaurant, you must invite locals and passers-by into your kitchen. You not only offer your guests good food, but an experience. The modern restaurant guests wish to gain an experience even before they visit the physical space, that is, through the online menu. So, developing, engineering and designing the menu page for your restaurant website gains great prominence.

Crafting a menu can be difficult for beginners. It is not just about listing the items and ingredients. It must include high quality photos with descriptions of each dish, neatly assembled into an enchanting online menu.

Restaurantify has compiled this blog to guide you about:

  1. How to make a menu for the restaurant website
  2. Why your restaurant website should have a menu
  3. What must form an essential part of the online menu

For bringing the restaurant menu online, the business requires a good platform to host it, that is, a website of its own. After the website is built and launched, bringing the menu online is a pretty simple process.

The 3 most common types of digital menus are:

  1. Online menu that users can scroll through
  2. Linking an external menu to the website
  3. Uploading a PDF menu

Why A Restaurant Website Should Have A Menu

With people visiting a restaurant website immediately after deciding to dine out or book a table, attracting people through the website and an online menu gains prominence. While several elements must come together to make a good restaurant website, including the menu icon right on the homepage is most important.

An online menu helps a restaurant showcase its offerings. The menu can be included as downloadable pages or within the restaurant’s own sections. The menu is the number one selling point. Without an online menu, a customer visiting the website would not know what to expect. People choose a restaurant on the basis of their budget. So, making the menu along with the prices easily visible would let customers know if the restaurant’s food suits their price range.

The menu also gives them a clue about the ambiance of the restaurant and the experience it will offer to them. Including a gallery section on the site with images of dishes is another great way to whet the appetites of customers.

An online menu also lets a customer know if your restaurant can cater to their special dietary requirements, needs and tastes. Using relevant symbols for indicating gluten-free or vegetarian food enables people to know about the offerings in a glance. Include a children’s menu if you wish to cater to youngsters as well.

Restaurant menus are decisive factors in customer decision-making. So, the menu section must be extremely visible and easy to access for customers. Even if you are adding only downloadable PDF menus, they should open fast and be properly configured for suitable viewing even on mobile devices.

An online menu is also the  best way to keep customers updated about the latest offers, discounts and introduction of new dishes. Keeping the online menu current, that is updating the menu items and their prices, is also essential so that people are not disappointed after they walk into the premises. Your online menu also should not highlight your Christmas special offers when it is almost Easter. To rank higher on search engines, always remember to keep the content fresh and updated.

What Must Form an Essential Part of the Online Menu

Start developing the online menu after you precisely define the concept. Whether you have only a vague idea or an elaborate plan, make sure to write them down to be used as a reference when you are deciding on specific menu items or designing the overall menu layout.

How Many Menu Items Should A Restaurant Have?

A key part of the menu concept involves deciding how many menu items to include in the offerings. The answer is “fewer than you might think”. Cognitive psychology expert George A. Miller says that people can retain only seven pieces of information at a time. That does not mean that your restaurant menu should be restricted to seven menu items. It suggests that you should categorize your menu items and offer only three to seven items within each category.

Restaurants must exercise caution and maintain the limit. There must be sufficient items for the menu to appear interesting to customers. At the same time, the menu must not have too many items as it would make the kitchen staff struggle to prepare them well.

A study suggests that the optimum number of menu items for fine dining and sit-down restaurants is seven starters, ten main courses and seven desserts. 

Steps Involved in Creating a Restaurant Menu

1) Develop The Menu Concept

A menu concept must help the restaurateur decide how many and what menu items cater to your niche target audience. Ask yourself questions like:

  • (I) Am I going to target a young crowd, families or older clientele?
  • (II) Am I going to concentrate on attracting office workers during lunch hours or an after-work audience?

Being aware of whom you are trying to appeal to will allow you to keep your menu development on track.

2) List Of Core Ingredients 

While listing the ingredients required for each dish, note down if the ingredients are readily available, whether they will continue to be available throughout the year or are they seasonal. Will there be significant price variations while purchasing the ingredients?

3) Taste, Test and Adjust

After the menu choices have been finalized, the dishes must be prepared. The dishes must definitely be tasted before they are served to the customers and necessary adjustments made. The tasting can be done by chefs, friends or other staff members. Their feedback must be incorporated so that you have a handful of diverse opinions to work on and improve.

4) Draft Menu Titles and Descriptions

Guests typically spend less than 90 seconds in reading a menu. So, grabbing their attention within that short span is crucial to facilitate large orders. Ensure that the descriptions communicate not only the taste, but also the presentation to the guests. Start by mentioning the name of the dish. Follow it up with a succinct description. Do not forget to mention the key ingredients so that people with certain allergies or special dietary requirements are well informed. Adding a small line about what makes the item special will motivate the customers to order it.

5) Menu Prices 

Prices for every item on the menu must be based on profitability. This is tricky than it actually sounds. The price should not be high as customers will refrain from ordering it. But, it should be reasonable enough to make profits. The prices reflect the restaurant’s theme, location and target customers. So, set prices with prudence.

First, determine the food cost percentage. Successful restaurants spend no more than 35% in purchasing ingredients. The menu price can be easily determined by dividing the cost of ingredients by the target food cost percentage. Also check the prices of other restaurants to stay competitive.

6) Categorizing The Menu

Divide the menu into logical sections so that it is well-organized. This makes it easier for guests to easily locate their preferences and decide what they want to order. The menu should flow logically – starting with the entrees or appetizers, moving on to the salads and main course and finally, culminating with the beverages or desserts.

7) Select Typography 

The fonts on the menu must be carefully selected as people should face not even the slightest difficulty in perusing your menu. Stick to just one or two fonts that complement each other. Using too many fonts would make the menu look cluttered. Some good fonts for a restaurant menu include Helvetica, Baskerville and Montserrat.

8) Choosing Color Palette 

Colors play a vital role in influencing guests and evoking emotions that either trigger them to order more or dissuade them from doing so. Avoid bold colors for menu descriptions as it makes reading difficult. However, you can allow your creativity to rule in the case of the cover and page borders of the menu. Red and yellow are good color choices for the menu as they excite the taste buds. Using green shows that you offer healthy and eco-friendly dishes. Use black if you are a high-end restaurant and brown if you wish to present a warm, wholesome look.

9) Menu Design 

With the descriptions, prices, fonts and colors in place, it is now time to assemble all these elements in a design that is attractive. The restaurateur can do the designing on his own or hire a graphic design company to complete the task. Designing your own menu is extremely affordable as you do not have to hire or pay anyone else to use their expertise. But the advantage of hiring a graphic designer to get the menu ready is that you get an extremely professional output. You are able to save your time and focus on more crucial business tasks. A professional firm will also be able to coordinate your restaurant branding activities that include designing the signage, social media pages and mobile apps.

The Power of Good Restaurant Menu Design

If your food is your art, the menu is the canvas. A restaurant menu plays a pivotal role in determining the guest experience. It is one of the core pillars of the business and an important selling tool. A well-designed menu – whether it is printed, online, or just a board above a counter – can contribute a great deal to enhance guest experience.

A restaurant menu design also possesses the power to make or break a restaurant’s profits. If the least profitable item is displayed prominently on the menu, guests are more likely to order it again and again. They might not consider other equally delicious options that are also profitable for the restaurant.

By listing out modifiers to menu items and mentioning your side dishes and add-ons, one can tempt the guests and use the menu to upsell as well. This opens opportunities for larger check averages.

Reflect the restaurant brand on every platform where customers are likely to interact with you – on social media, the website, physical space and the menu. This helps create a cohesive and memorable experience along with a robust brand recall and identity in the long run.