5 Restaurant Menu Writing Tips That Work

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A restaurant menu defines the concept and theme of your eatery. It compliments your restaurant's ambiance and personality. For many, it is specific to cuisine or catered to satisfy multiple taste buds.

Designing an eye-catching and engaging menu can be tough, especially if you have just set up your own restaurant across the street. If not, you might want to consider replacing the worn-out menus with coffee stains. Think of them as a resume for your restaurant – an important characteristic of restaurant marketing that many people miss out on.

A cleaner, well-written, and designed menu implies a cleaner and pleasant restaurant. So don't just wipe the tables and chairs before closing off for the day, check if your menu needs some attention and boost too.

Here are 5 restaurant menu writing tips to keep your menus simple, aesthetically pleasing and updated always. They're fool proof and they work! Try them out for yourself and see your customers recommend come back for more. 

1. Strike a Balance

Think from the perspective of a customer and be your own critic. Sit down at one of your restaurant tables, pick up your menu and play out the experience firsthand.

Similarly, try recalling different experiences at other restaurants as well. Have you ever sat down at a restaurant table and found yourself browsing through the menu for ages? Only to find 5 different types of steak? Well, you're definitely in the mood to have a big juicy tenderloin but the different options placed in front of you often get your mind tangled up and confused. You probably end up having a smoothie instead.

At other instances, the menu only has cheese pizzas but you're in the mood for a pepperoni one. So, what do you do? You simply get up and walk away - disappointed and crabby.
This usually happens when your menu has too many or too little options for the customer. 

Try This Out:

  • Keep a variety of options – but in a balance. For example, keep an option of two steaks and add more sides with it perhaps. That's what the customer wants more to get that ultimate restaurant experience
  • Put up the daily specials on a separate board to avoid putting customers in a frenzy– P.s. don't forget to place it where its visible to all customers

2. Divide and Conquer

Create divisions in your menu. Gather different categories and cuisines together. You don't want to end up placing Spaghetti Bolognese in the salad section and upset an Italian visiting your restaurant for the first time.

Placing demarcations makes it easier for the customer to flip to the exact section they want. Not only this, but the staff too knows exactly where each type of cuisine is and can guide the customers on what they're in the mood for. 

Try This Out:

  • Make it aesthetically pleasing by drawing in boxes or stripes 
  • Place tags on your menu – each directed to a specific cuisine or category
  • Make use of the empty spaces carefully – don't overcrowd the words

3.Keep the Descriptions Easy to Understand

Descriptions matter. By giving a detailed and easy-to-understand description, the customer knows the value of the meal and is satisfied with the price they're willing to pay for it.

You want to give your customers a run for their money. It helps create demand, and demand reaps you the profits you need to expand and grow. This is one of the most important restaurant menu writing tips you can't afford to forget.

Try this out
Let's take this as an example

  • Don't write this - "Baked Apple Pie, topped with cream." This sounds boring and wouldn't tempt the customer to place an order
  • Try writing something more engaging like this - "Freshly Baked Apple Pie. Made with Honeycrisp apples grown in our organic farm and topped with hand-whipped vanilla bean cream, it's the perfect combination to satisfy your sweet tooth." 

4. Tantalise the Senses

Visuals matter. However, the type of restaurant you run matters too. You probably want to omit having images of a classic beef burger or scoop of ice cream on your menu if you're a high-end restaurant. It would probably be better suited to a fast-food chain or small café. But, you can still ignite the senses with the right choice of words in either case.

Try This Out:

  • Use sensory words such as "crispy," "juicy," "tender," or "spicy"
  • Use images only if they're needed and that too sparingly – post images on your social media platforms instead

5. Pay Attention to Details – Typography Matters

Selecting the right mix of typeface can help make your menu more comprehensible By doing so, the customer stays focused and engaged while reading the menu. It helps distinguish different names and descriptions on the menu. Moreover, it saves your staff from the extra effort of explaining where a certain ingredient they may be struggling to find is written.

Try This Out:

  • Use different fonts styles and sizes – keep it to a minimum of 3 types; you don't want to confuse the reader and make them dizzy
  • Underline, highlight and put in bold special cuisine names or ingredients to emphasize them

The Final Verdict

There you have it, your handbook to Restaurant Menu Writing Tips as well as Restaurant Marketing 101. With these tips in mind, you're sure to craft the perfect menu for your restaurant. Remember to add your restaurant's personality to the design and let it speak for itself. Your menu is a screenshot of who you are as a business; make sure it's a good one.

Developing a Restaurant Menu

To learn more about restaurant management and the industry, visit our website. We offer a dynamic mix of blogs, video guides and consultancy projects for your restaurant needs. For more information, you can call us at 0203-916-5199 or drop an email at [email protected]. We would be happy to assist you.

New eBook Reveals How To Successfully Open A Restaurant… Free E-Book!


About the Author

Massimo’s career has grown up through the restaurant world, starting as a waiter through to high-end restaurant openings within an operational management capacity. This depth of experience has allowed him to understand the business from both a guest’s needs to what a team needs, giving him the benefit of an all-rounded view and approach to problem solving.