How to create a restaurant menu  

How to create restaurant menu

Every successful restaurant has a great menu which attracts many customers. A well-thought-out and well-designed menu can boost your guests' experience and make your business very profitable. Whilst the actual appearance of your menu is very important, it is even more crucial that its contents are exciting and interesting. We at METRO want to take you through the individual steps of creating the perfect menu.

Defining Menu Items


How to make a menu

First, you need to establish a list of foods and drinks you want to offer at your restaurant. It is crucial to include the chef into this process, as they are the one preparing the food. When thinking about potential menu items, it is easiest to categorize according to the main four categories that can be found in most menus:

  • appetizers,
  • main dishes,
  • desserts,
  • drinks.

Depending on your type of cuisine, you might need to adapt these categories. Try to find a good mix of well-known, and maybe even traditional dishes, and extraordinary and special dishes. It is important to consider dietary restrictions and eating habits, such as lactose-intolerance, gluten-intolerance, a vegan diet, and a vegetarian diet. Nowadays, restaurants that do not offer at least one plant-based option, are losing popularity and are deemed as not being up to date with the modern type of eating. We also recommend offering child-friendly dishes.

Regarding the amount of menu items, we at METRO praise that less is more. Too many items can be overwhelming for customers, which you want to avoid. It also maximizes the profitability of your restaurant if you keep your menu on the slimmer side.

In general, your menu items are highly individual and depend on the cuisine and experience you want to offer.

Organizing the Menu

2. Putting your menu items in an order

Menu items order

The previously mentioned categories of appetizers, main dishes, desserts, and drinks can give guidance on how to order the items on your menu.

Once you have accumulated different foods for each of the categories, you need to order them within the category.

It may be preferable to list the food items with a high profit margin first, to draw the attention of customers to this dish. Very popular dishes should also be listed high in each category.

How to Describe Food on a Menu

3. Creating menu descriptions

Describing your individual menu items in a way that attracts your customers’ interest and that makes their mouths water is very important. The description should bring across the story behind each meal.

Consult your chef for their inspiration for the dish, where its ingredients come from, and what kind of feeling each dish should spark in your customers. However, do not make the description too long. It should be packed with the most important information and should be brought across in an easy-to-read way. We at METRO recommend using delicious sounding descriptive adjectives to describe the ingredients.

Setting Menu Prices

4. Pricing your dishes

Restaurant menu pricing

You can’t leave your customers in the dark about the pricing of the menu items. To appropriately price your dishes whilst not having customers drastically overpay and making a profit at the same time can be challenging. You will need to analyze your costs for individual meals and the predicted sales. This process should never be based on assumptions or estimates, but on set numbers.

When writing down the price of each item on the menu, it can be advantageous to not write the price in a column behind each meal, since it easier to compare the prices like this. This could lead to customers generally choosing the cheapest dishes.

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Working on Your Menu Design

5. Designing the menu

Once you have sorted out the items, the order, the descriptions, and the prices, it is time to design your restaurant’s menu.

Colorful bar outdoor

5.1 Choosing a colour scheme

Using a colour scheme for your menu is an important aspect in creating a polished looking menu. If you already have defined a colour scheme for your restaurant, you should use those colours for your menu.

If you have not chosen such colours yet, it can make sense to research how different colours affect customers. Depending on whether you have a calm ambiance in your restaurant or if you provide more of an upbeat customer experience, different colours can be suitable.

However, if you want to save money on printing costs, it can make sense to stick to black and white.

Menu design scheme

5.2 Choosing a design scheme

After picking out your preferred colours, you will need to think about the look of your menu. This includes the layout and the font. If you already have a font that can be found in other aspects of your restaurant, it can be nice seeing this same font on your menu for a clean and matching look. Most importantly, your menu and especially the font should be easy on the eyes and easy to decipher. Focus the most profitable dishes in the middle and top right and top left of the menu, as this is the area one gives their first look. If it is in your budget, you can hire a professional designer.

Whether to add photos of the menu items or not is an individual choice. While on the one hand, menu photos can visualize the dishes, on the other hand, they can distract customers and give the menu an overcrowded appearance.

Time to Print!

6. Printing the menu

Printing restaurant menu

After proofreading your menu, it is time to print it. Usually, menus are printed on high-quality paper and can then further be worked with in accordance with your restaurant’s concept.

All in all, take the creation of your menu very seriously, as the menu is the gateway to your restaurant experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

7. FAQ - How To Create a Restaurant Menu

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