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Niki Pacheco
August 29, 2017

4 Restaurant Menu Design Myths Debunked

a man holding a note time for facts 

If you own a restaurant, you will already know that there are so many elements involved in running it smoothly and successfully. Restaurant ownership is like no other type of business ownership. You have to be pro at juggling hundreds of tasks all in different managerial categories! Just to name a few of a restaurant owner's task list: hiring & firing, training, HR disputes, marketing, food purchasing, operations, etc! The list goes on and on! Basically, the restaurant business is all consuming. According to 2017 state of the Industry from National Restaurant Associationthere are plenty of people willing to take on the challenge with over 799 billion dollars in sales!

Now, with all of the stress of thinking in every single little detail of your restaurant, we wanted to take some time to go over the most common myths related to menu design. Often times, the menu design is the least of your worries in a long list of to-dos... but without the proper attention it can be a cause of great grief.

Here are the 4 most common restaurant menu design myths:

1. Menu design doesn't matter

This is as false as they come. The design of your menu is essential because it serves as the face of your restaurant. It may be the only visual, besides the actual interior of your restaurant, that the patron will be exposed to on their visit. It must be a direct representation of your company's core values and identity. 

2. More menu items equals higher profits

Have you heard of the saying, "Less is More"?  Many times new restaurant owners focus so much on the menu and they come up with so many fantastic menu ideas, that they cannot seem to eliminate them! This causes higher food expenses due to the neccesity to buy a larger variety of ingredients. The more efficient way to build your menu is to test out a variety of different menu items at the beginning. Analyze them and compare cost with demand and determine which items are your real stars. We have a free menu engineering worksheet that can help with this. It is very important to analyze all of your menu items to really maximize your profits. 


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3. Menu item placement has little to do with profits

Studies have shown that the most profitable section of the menu is the upper right corner so many profitable restaurateurs put their star menu items there to be able capture the highest revenue. If you call out an item, there is a higher probability of grabbing the viewer's attention. White space plays a big role in grabbing the patron's attention. Usually restaurant owners like to fill up every single inch of the menu, but keep spacing in mind to really maximize your profits. Menu item placement is very important and only a handful of restaurants take the time to really dive deep into the profitability and placement of their menu items.


4. Food pictures are not important

Including a nice-looking picture alongside a food item increases sales by 30 percent, according to RappThis one has a lot to do with what type of restaurant you are opening. Usually, fine dining restaurants do not include food images on their menus This is to show class and sophistication. Usually the menu item descriptions are written out in mouth-watering detail that there is no need for a visual. Restaurants that are more fast-casual rely on food imagery to boost sales. Locations such as BJ's, Denny's, California Pizza Kitchen, Shari's all of enticing images of their food items, drawing the viewer's eye to certain menu items that they are pushing for that sales quarter. This is all part of the strategy. Fast food restaurants also include food images on their menu boards to help customers choose quickly. Places like Chick-Fil-A, McDonald's and Carl's Jr. all show enticing images as you walk in.

So, in summary, determine what kind of restaurant you will be running and decide if you will want to include images of your food on the menus.

Now that we have debunked these 4 restaurant menu design myths, get out there and build your restaurant. Hungry patrons are waiting to experience your piece of the food industry!

Contact us today for a custom quote for your menu design! With over 12 years of expereince, we can help make your menu a success!

You can also contact us at 951-479-5411.

Measure your menu's performance with this menu engineering worksheet. Download today!

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