5 Tips for Designing Menus That Lead to More Orders

Your menu is the marketing cornerstone of your restaurant. It significantly influences customers’ ordering decisions.

By implementing a few design and item placement basics, you can navigate customers purposefully through your menu to influence their ordering choices.

Here are six quick tips to help you structure and design a menu leading to more orders and maximized profits.

#1: Analyze Your Menu Items

First, look at your existing menu. Ensure all items on it are performing well and are profitable. Make any necessary cuts or adjustments before moving on to the redesign phase.

  • Trim the fat: According to RestaurantBusinessOnline, streamlined menus mean happier customers. Create a lean and mean menu that offers your customers a variety of dishes while removing unnecessary or unprofitable items.
  • Stick with your brand: Remove items that no longer appeal to your demographic or are mismatched with your overall concept.

#2: Place Items Strategically

According to Gallup, the average diner takes only 109 seconds to scan a menu (rather than reading front-to-back).

You can strategically place items on your menu that will make an impact and quickly influence customer selection:

  • Hit the “sweet spot”: The top/top right-hand portion is the prime location for your best performing items.
  • Position items purposefully: When scanning, people notice the top two items in a section, and then the last. Place your highest-margin items in these spots. Menu Engineers  suggest no more than seven items per section.

#3: Highlight Items You Want to Sell

Use the below “eye magnets” sparingly to call attention to targeted menu items of your choice, which subconsciously encourages customers to order them:

  • Borders
  • Shaded or colored boxes
  • Bold or specialty fonts
  • Graphics, illustrations, and photographs
  • Asterisks
  • Negative or “white” space around a section

#4: Write Imaginative Descriptions

Well-written descriptions can increase sales up to 30%. Grubhub offers these suggestions to inspire customers to order, and paint an accurate picture so they know what to expect:

  • Keep it Brief
  • Appeal to Customers’ Senses
  • Speak to your Demographic

#5: Practice Subtlety in Pricing

By softening prices on your menu, you can guide your customers to make choices based on ingredients, quality and technique—and not on price alone.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Eighty-six the $$: Use a little psychology and remove dollar signs from prices.
  • Be discreet: Put prices after the descriptions, and don’t ever use leader dots—they reduce items to mere price tags.
  • Choose “charm” prices: Ending a price with .99 or .95 makes it seem more affordable and friendly to customers.

These few tips will help you increase your profitability, while actually making your menu easier for customers to digest.

Learn how to take great food pictures that can increase a menu item’s sales up to 30%.

Photo: Pexels