Shipping Point
6615 Grand Ave
Gurnee, IL 60031
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7 Design Essentials for Restaurant Menus in Gurnee


Are you a restaurant owner? If so, you understand the importance of keeping up with menu design trends.

That said, the latest in menu design may surprise you. Believe it or not, many restaurants no longer include dollar signs on their menus, while others now use terra-slate paper instead of the usual laminate. Terra-slate paper is 100% waterproof, which makes it a popular option. Don't get us wrong: there's a place for laminate, especially for protecting against spills, grease, and other contaminants. At The Shipping Point, we can work with both laminate and terra-slate.

After you decide how you'll differentiate from what your competitors are offering, it's time to discuss menu design essentials.

Essential #1: Set Your Menu's Goals


Your menu must deliver results. By extension, its design must:

  • Highlight your restaurant's brand
  • Maximize your profit potential
  • Encourage your diners to recommend your restaurant to their friends.


Essential #2: Your Menu Should Highlight Your Brand Clearly


Your menu (and food) must deliver the promise in your specialty, be it fine dining, ethnic cuisine, family-style meals, or gastropub fare. Essentially, your menu is part of your restaurant's ambiance and it's crucial that it meets your diner's expectations in every way.

If you own a family-style restaurant, use clear laminate for your menus. A vinegar-and-water solution is all it takes to keep the streaks away. In return, your customers get sturdy, clean menus that can withstand coffee, food, and juice spills. 

Your menu can also emphasize special courses or signature offerings your customers won't find anywhere else. Be sure to include inserts that feature weekly or seasonal LTOs. Bonus points for giving creative, flamboyant, or whimsical names to your LTOs.


Essential #3: Get Your Menu Design Right


What your diners hold in their hands matters. A simple card tells your diners one thing; a three-fold card says something else. Similarly, attractive binding enclosing several pages of perfectly chosen course selections spells "elegance" and "class." Your menu design communicates your restaurant's brand and tells your diners what to expect when their meal arrives.

                               Schedule a free design session here


Essential #4 Get Your Menu Design Details Right


Your menu should be easy to read and navigate. The last thing you want is for customers to be confused about what your most popular offerings are. If you have dishes with foreign names, be sure to provide translations of the text. You'll be surprised how few restaurants actually do this. 

The number of options you offer determines your menu's layout. It may be best to separate the courses by putting them in boxes or columns. You may choose to separate alternatives within each section, as well, so fish, meat, and vegetarian options are easy to find.

As well as making alternatives easy to see, you also want to draw attention to some of those options. We can help you set out the options in such a way that your "preferred orders" are where diners' eyes automatically go. Want to tie specific dishes to a holiday, change of season, or downtown event? We can help you leverage the right print elements to do so.

Essential #5: Use Colors, Fonts, and Images Creatively


Your restaurant's brand image is emphasized by color, font choice, and the images you use. Colors, tones, and shades convey mood; font style and size do the same. Together, they also make for easy reading and subliminal emphasis – what scientists call "menu engineering."

Make sure that the writing is easy to read: too small, and you'll turn off your older customers. Too large, and you'll insult most of your customers.

Want to inspire customers to order certain dishes on the menu? Use language that utilizes visual, olfactory (smell), tactile (touch), and gustatory (taste) imagery. 

Images matter, too. High-quality images lend credibility to your restaurant brand and tantalizes the senses. Don't skimp on your menus! Alternatively, unique illustrations, rather than images, can appeal directly to your ideal market segment, depending on your niche.


Essential #6: Use Menu Inserts and Handouts


What if you want to:

  • Introduce or test new entrees?
  • Fill your restaurant to celebrate Thanksgiving or any other national holiday?
  • Encourage your regular diners to share their experience with friends and colleagues?

You don't have to redesign and reprint your entire menu to achieve these goals. Instead, place an attractive insert into your current menus. A beautifully designed insert with slick images can inspire guests to try new dishes.

Alternatively, your wait staff can offer flyers that advertise your specials to each table. If the purpose of the flyer is to encourage people to return or bring in new diners, then it needs to be one that's attention-grabbing. Include special offers or discounts on the flyer for customers who return within a month, attend a special event you've advertised, or bring a party of X people.


Essential #7: Work with an Experienced Printing Expert


When choosing a printing service, it's important to consider one who understands your challenges as a business owner. At The Shipping & Printing Point in Gurnee, Illinois, we aren't just printing experts, we're also menu design and visual artists who can help you create the best menu for your needs. 

Ready for Amazing Design? Schedule a Free Design Session Here.


Have A Question About Our Graphic Design?

If you have a project you’d like us to quote for design and/or print, call us at 847-336-6000 or click the button below to send us a message.

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