For many years, practically every customer who walked into a restaurant expected to get a printed menu. Printing and updating the menus was the responsibility of the restaurant owner. Over time, however, some restaurants started experimenting with alternatives to the printed menu. For example, menu boards have become popular in fast food and fast casual restaurants over the past several decades. During the pandemic, many restaurants experimented with digital menus. After all of these experiments, however, restaurant owners keep coming back to printed, handheld menus.
If you’re considering a menu change, keep in mind all of these reasons why you want to keep handheld printed menus in your restaurant.
Branding your Business
Your restaurant’s menu is one of the biggest things customers will remember about your business. It’s often the first thing that customers look for when they come in, and it’s responsible for giving those customers the first impression of your establishment.
Because of this, your menu should convey as much as possible about your restaurant. Make sure your name and logo are prominent. Most importantly, take the time to design your menu to convey your restaurant’s mood. For example, casual restaurants should utilize fun fonts and simple language, while more formal establishments should consider using thicker papers, elegant fonts, and more flowery descriptions of the food.
Of course, restaurant owners or managers should consider the practical aspects of the menu as well. Use a font large enough to be read by people with eyesight issues (or print a separate set of large print menus for this purpose). Include pictures of the food that makes it easy to see what is and isn’t included on a menu item.
Help Customers Choose Higher Profit Items
A handheld menu is an excellent way to motivate your customers to choose items with higher profit margins for your business. Feature dishes with the greatest profit prominently; move them to the top of the page, use bolder, larger fonts, and include pictures. Items that are harder to prepare or have more expensive ingredients can be moved to the bottom of the page.
Highlight Specials and Meal Options
One of the top advantages of printed menus is the ability to customize them to your business needs. For example, many managers create custom menus that show various specials and meal options. It is not uncommon to print a drink menu, lunch menu, and dessert menu in addition to the regular or “main” menu. This allows restaurants to choose the right menus for each customer and time of day without confusing customers and staff with too many menu options.
Similarly, many restaurants choose to print menus for specific seasons or special events. Holiday menus are extremely popular because they allow a restaurant only to offer a limited menu during their busiest times, allowing the business to control costs and maximize profits. These menus can be completely stand-alone or presented inside the “regular” menu as an add-on or way to highlight special drinks, meals, and desserts that line up with the holiday or event being celebrated. Once the event is over, these menus can be stored away until next year or simply discarded.
Printing a separate set of menus to be left on the table is also common. These menus usually show drinks and desserts that can be ordered after the main meal has been ordered.
Caterers and restaurants that offer private events may also consider printing special menus specifically for these events. Hosts often like providing each guest with a keepsake and are willing to pay slightly more for customized event menus. A special menu also helps to prevent confusion among staff and guests who may be more familiar with the establishment’s “regular” menu.
One of the main reasons that many restaurants cited for removing handheld menus from customers during the pandemic were concerns about spreading germs. Fortunately, many things that people feared early on in the pandemic have since been proven untrue. Individual menus do not contribute to the spread of germs around a restaurant.
Nonetheless, it is understandable that restaurant owners want to address this concern. If this is an issue for your business, there are several options. Disposable, one-use menus can be an excellent way to eliminate any concerns about disease spread while allowing customers to take a menu home to order from in the future or share with friends. This is often an excellent option for casual restaurants.
Another option is to have the menus laminated. This makes it relatively easy for servers or bussers to quickly wipe the menus clean of any food residue, and it can extend the life of the menus significantly. Be sure to ask about ways to protect multi-page menus; it is possible to apply a coating to the paper that makes them easy to clean and/or bind them to prevent spills and accidents from ruining the menu and protect the pages inside. Bound menus are also more practical for restaurants that want to change out pages frequently to highlight new specials.
Printing custom menus for your restaurant allows you to design something perfect for your business needs. Doing just about anything you want with a printed menu is possible. Add any color or graphic, include as few or as many pages as you want, or make your menu just about any shape or size.
If you’re looking for a place to print your menus and other items, visit Custom Printing. We have years of experience printing everything from menus to customized receipts, and we would love to help you redesign your menus.