Who am I?
If you had no more than eight or ten words to describe your restaurant, to give your guests a reason to patronize your restaurant, what would those words be?
Dining for special occasions?
A restaurant that the whole family can enjoy?
A friendly place to meet your friends?
Honest food and honest prices?
Whatever your message, your menu should help get that message across and the first thing that they’ll notice is the menu that will be put into their hands as soon as they’re seated.
Like a flysheet of a book, your menu cover should give a hint of what’s inside and make the reader want to open the book and read what’s inside.
You’ve got a wide selection of styles of menus and covers from which to choose.
Start with the cover. What’s the first thing you want your patrons to see? The two most popular choices are a picture or message about your restaurant, printed in multi colors with the name of your restaurant in big letters on the front page of your restaurant menu covers . . . or a more formal look of leather or imitation leather with your name or logo printed or foil stamped in gold on the front panel of your menu covers.
Formal covers generally tend to lead the reader to think that the items inside are more carefully prepared than the average chain ‘family style’ restaurants, like Chili’s or Olive Garden, and these styles of covers may tend to cost more than a simple printed and laminated menu . . . but maybe that’s the demographic you’re looking for.
Whatever image you’ve selected for your restaurant, follow through on the menu and tableware.
Dining for special occasions . . . mood lighting, relatively few items on the menu, but each well prepared, maybe a few specials that your serving staff can describe with enough restrained panache to make your diners feel that whatever is being described was made especially for them.
Restaurant for the whole family? Your menu may need to display a greater variety of simpler dishes, you’re probably going to get parties of four or more . . . with and without children. Make sure the lighting in your dining room is bright enough and the type face you select for the menu is big enough for senior citizens to read easily and that there’s room between tables for the occasional booster seat.
#5 in a series of comments and suggestions by Mark R. Strange