Sure, you still need top-notch food, atmosphere, and service, in a great location, but if your menu sucks? Well, you’re one step behind the pack already.
A perfectly designed menu is integral to today’s dining experience and it shouldn’t be overlooked. Whether you realise it or not, the way your restaurant’s menu is designed says so much about who you are as a business and what your customers can expect when they visit. It’s one of the first impressions they’ll have about you, so it’s important that you really nail it and make it part of your brand story.
There are lots of different factors that go into creating excellent menus, and there are plenty of stellar examples out there (we’ve provided eight goodies below), but the most important thing is to choose a design for your menu that reflects your brand. It’s all well and good to follow the latest trend or choose the most cutting-edge menu template around, but if it clashes with who you are as a business, it’s not going to work and those savvy customers of yours will see right through it.
That said, there are some common factors that are evident in the best menus going ‘round today. So, if in doubt, pay attention to:
Think about where the eye is drawn to and construct your menu accordingly. The general rule of thumb is that people will look to the middle of the page first, but then read your menu like a book, so factoring this into your design is a smart move.
Smart use of colour can take your menu to the next level, but you need to be careful to ensure the colour you choose works with your branding. Your menu should be an extension of your brand, so if using colour, try to pull from your existing palette. If in doubt, neutral never fails.
If you have a master font for your brand that’s really dominant, this should flow through to your menu. If not, choose wisely and go with something clean and modern. Tricky typography can end up looking messy and be hard to read.
There’s no doubt about it, simplicity is the name of the game in menu designs at the moment. Keeping your design minimal and straightforward (and on one page!) is a really safe bet.
To help you cut through the menu noise, we’ve rounded up eight of the best-looking menu templates out there right now, which will make designing an impressive menu quick and easy.
Minimalism done right
This is a perfect example of a simple design that’s not boring. The modern font, combined with the left-aligned text placement on the black background make this fresh and compelling. And while images can often look a bit twee on modern menus, this one works due to its illustrated nature – it’s not your standard stock photo of a wine glass.
In case you missed the memo, colours are having a bit of a moment. Colour popularity goes through phases, like everything, and capitalising on trendy colours can be a particularly effective strategy when it comes to getting your audience’s attention. In the case of the above, this menu has combined a modern layout with the decidedly ‘now’ hue, officially dubbed millennial pink. This sleek design/colour combo really packs a punch – it’s fun, timely and still functional – it’s really clear what the menu items are and options are grouped in a way that makes sense.
Gotta love a chalkboard
The ‘gee, this menu looks like it’s written on a chalkboard’ trend isn’t going anywhere. And for good reason. The contrast of white on a black background, and the casual, friendly feel that the chalkboard look provides, make this an appealing option if you want something simple but still striking and versatile enough to work in with different brand styles.
Are you sensing a trend for structural menus, in columns? Yup, it’s a thing. This one demonstrates how to take a popular design and give it a unique twist. The colours are fresh (and totally customisable, so you do you) and the design is super modern and thoughtful. Little features, such as the highlight colours being slightly off centre, can take your menu from basic to brilliant.
Columns for days
Again, you’ve got your popular column layout here, but the use of colour to give a more textural, earthy feel is really impactful, and subtle, tasteful additions in the form of the knife and fork icons really give it a lift. Perfect if you’re looking for a step up from minimal.
Sometimes you just need to take your theme and run with it, and this is a great example of having a bit of fun, while still creating a menu that’s clean and simple. The cow pattern really shows the brand’s personality and because this is a really succinct menu, the smaller size and minimal text feels fresh and new.
Give it a lift
More columns! It’s official, this is a trend. This one is a great example of how a pretty standard layout can be lifted by using colour in an unexpected way. The simple, modern font and the clever use of boxing of text, makes this stand out.
If you’re keen on a more traditional menu style, you can’t go wrong with this template. Simple text, one column, and an image up the top to give it some life. Change up the image to make it work for your brand, or you can even sub in a block colour or something more abstract if you want to pare it back even more, the choice is yours. Perfect for when you want the food to do the talking.