11 Tips for Writing an Effective Menu

The average customer views the menu for 109 seconds so we understand the pressure of making a strong first impression… But what about the second and third impression? We discuss a lot about having the right menu cover to effectively reflect your establishment’s image, but here we focus on the words beyond the cover. Read on for 11 valuable tips for writing an effective menu.

1 Limit the options.

A lot of options is overwhelming, right? Your customer feels the same when it comes to your restaurant. We like the look and feel of about 7-10 appetizers, 7-10 entrees, and 4-6 desserts. Limited menu options will also limit the questions your wait staff receives, leading to faster turnover rates.

If you have more dishes you’d like to offer, don’t forget the option to rotate your menu items out. This is great for returning customers and can be quick and easy to do with the right menu cover.

2 Use keywords and adjectives.

More copy means more clutter and less value. The key is to make it sound intriguing with as few words as possible. Use luxurious adjectives and keep it simple. Your salad isn’t assembled with mixed greens. It’s made with “freshly harvested micro greens.”

Don’t forget keywords either. “Locally-sourced,” “organic,” and “wild-caught” are just a few keywords that increase the value of the menu items in your customers’ minds. Make sure your lemonade is “fresh-squeezed” and your wine is “New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc” versus “Sauvignon Blanc.”

Elegant Wine

3 Placement is key.

Eyes go to the top of the right page first. Then they go to the top of the left page, typically where appetizers are located, then down the left page, back over to the right, and down the right page. Some restaurants may choose to place their most profitable items in these top attention spots. Others will choose to put their customer favorites in these locations.