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By Dana Krook
Your menu is more than a simple list of the items your restaurant has to offer. Using a menu management system to carefully plan your restaurant menu design can improve everything from your brand identity to your customer’s experience and your profits. In fact, good restaurant menu design can increase your profits by 10–15%.
In this article, we cover everything you need to know about menu design, including:
Creative restaurant menu design is a recipe for success and, just like the menu itself, should always be changing. So, we’ve put together a list of ingredients to make sure you achieve the best possible results whenever you’re ready for a refresh. As you sit down to plan out your menu design, consider each of the following:
For a more in-depth dive into each of these ingredients, check out:
If paying a professional designer to refresh your food menu isn’t in your budget at the moment, there are a number of online services you can turn to for easy-to-customize restaurant menu design templates. Many of these programs can also help with logo design as well.
Creating an eye-catching restaurant menu has never been easier thanks to these free restaurant menu templates.
We’ve put together a list of 51 menu card examples to serve as a bit of restaurant menu design inspiration, including the original image source and what exactly is so good about each one.
By the time you reach the end, you should be fully equipped to design a menu that elevates your brand, increases your profits, and ties into your brand identity in a way that stands out and gives your guests something to talk about in-person and on social media.
The individual square boxes on this menu allow for highlighting high margin items and make the choices easy to navigate. Simple yet effective.
Simple illustrations on this menu make the dishes pop off the page.
Concept-based menu design can help bring your backstory to life for customers.
An image isn’t always required. Sometimes it’s all about being clean, elegant, and easy to navigate.
This one gets people talking. The cocktail menu reads like a graphic novel and tells the story behind each drink item listed.
You know the types who fidget with their beer labels or tear up their coasters? They’ll love these menus designed to be folded up into little origami cranes.
Here we’ve got minimal design, placed in a grid. When it comes to less is more, this menu design takes the cake.
This menu was printed using wooden blocks made to resemble the branding of cows, which speaks to the restaurant’s Japanese style of “Wabi Sabi” beef.
This cocktail menu is meant to feel like you’re reading the cocktail mixer’s personal little black book of ideas.
This food menu is simple, fits on one page, and uses an easy to read, black on white typeface.
Made to look like a newspaper, this menu offers simple text and black and white images of the seasonally-changing food items on offer.
When your focus is on wine, your taco list can be short and to the point. This food menu, designed by Grabo Laser, was etched into a wood block which can easily be left on tables.
Fresh herbs are part of Ninebark’s brand, so they decided to feature them front and center on their menus.
With all the minimalism and black and white type in the world these days, it’s refreshing that this Dubai-based Japanese restaurant brand went colorful with its unique marbled menu design.
The tactile feeling of holding this solid wood plank menu in your hands immediately elevates the quality of the restaurant brand in your mind.
Not only is this vintage cellar inspired menu beautiful to look at, it serves as a bit of a bingo game for beer tastings.
When your menu is inspired by all things Hawaii, it makes sense to design it with that in mind. There may even be some strategic color theory work happening behind the scenes.
Yellow is the happiest color. No really. It’s been shown to trigger the release of serotonin in our brains, which in turn stimulates our appetites.
This craft brewery got a little crafty with their two-ring rolodex-style menu, which allows them to add and remove items as their taps change and rotate.
Make your pop art really pop by contrasting it against neat and tidy columns.
This California brewery’s menu doubles as a chart that lists the flavour profiles and ingredients of their beers.
Themed around the idea of ephemera and the transient nature of old Americana road trips, this restaurant designed their menu to fit their vibe.
Keeping the actual menu clean and simple is good for your bottom line. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun and get a little loud with your cover design.
This restaurant menu was designed to be part of the decor when it’s not in use.
The designers behind this menu know the value of a strong first impression.
This single page, black and white design is so classy it hurts.
Has all that red and yellow made you hungry for some fried chicken yet?
This deli serves up breakfast staples, so they’ve kept their menu as simple and straightforward as the contents.
Limited choices, simple design, doubles as a placemat. This Toronto-based, Cuban-inspired joint is covering all their menu design bases.
These food menus come rolled just like your maki!
This Orlando-based Cuban joint keeps it easy to read on their behind-the-counter menu board.
This Spanish tapas joint is known for its extensive wine list, so they’ve designed a menu that highlights this focus.
This menu is as fun and quirky as the cocktails within it, an individual image for each of The Golden Girl’s signature cocktails.
When stashed on a bookshelf, this menu really lives up to the restaurant’s name.
When it comes to noble experiments, these San Diegans got it right with a gold embossed textured menu.
Clean and clear design allows this restaurant to get away with a more complicated layout.
Clean, clear, and classic menu design.
By breaking items down into different categories, you have the opportunity to suggest pairings with items in different boxes, which will boost your sales.
This grid makes the golden triangle easy to execute.
Simple illustrations that fit your restaurant’s theme can go a long way toward tying your brand identity together – especially when you carry that theme across your social media profiles as well.
If you have the resources, make like a tree and leave a lasting impression on your guests with menus printed directly onto a slice of a tree trunk.
The Catch and Release menu highlights their specialty, with a fish index card to help guide guests.
The golden triangle is being used to perfection here.
Some menus tell a story. This one illustrates the adventures of a clever fox, the namesake of the restaurant.
Burritos are fun and so are this restaurant brand’s logo design and menu.
For menus that change regularly, include a permanent piece like this wood board with binder clips, and print off new menus when needed.
At first glance, it may seem like there are too many choices on this menu, but the strategically placed categories and carefully selected fonts and bolding make it easy for guests to navigate and pleasing to the eye.
This menu design ticks off a lot of boxes: color theory, strategic categories, limited choices, and eye-popping design.
Food photography done right.
This list wouldn’t be complete without at least one example of a food truck menu. The simple design of this menu board uses the right mix of colour and eye-catching fonts.
Another example of golden triangle perfection paired with excellent logo design.
Whether you’re just starting out or considering a rebrand, a well-thought-out restaurant menu design can go a long way to improving your bottom line. Working within the parameters listed at the top of this page will ensure your success – whether you’re jumping on a new design trend, or sticking with a tried and true classic look.
For more tips and tricks to achieving the ultimate restaurant menu design, check out:
Strategic menu design has been proven to grow profits by 15%.
Dana is the former Content Marketing Manager at TouchBistro, sharing tips for and stories of restaurateurs turning their passion into success. She loves homemade hot sauce, deep fried pickles and finding excuses to consume real maple syrup.
By Katherine Pendrill
By Tiffany Regaudie
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