6 Embarrassing Menu Design Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Menu Mistakes

6 Embarrassing Menu Design Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Your menu design should highlight all the fabulous things about your food, making your guests drool at the thought of what they will order! It’s a lovely idea, isn’t it?

A poorly designed menu can leave diners underwhelmed by what’s on offer, or overwhelmed by its layout. A beautifully designed menu, however, can add to the overall restaurant experience.

It’s time to foolproof your menu by avoiding these 6 embarrassing mistakes – or fix it if you’ve made any of them.

The worst menu mistakes:

  1. Overcomplicating the names and descriptions of dishes

    While it’s true people want to know what they’re ordering, they don’t want to be asking the wait staff what each item actually is. Be creative, make your dishes sound tantalizing and exotic; but don’t list every ingredient within the name of the item. And never use words in language foreign to the origins of your restaurant! Don’t describe your Italian pasta with French wording.
  2. Lazily naming menu items

    On the other hand, you don’t want to name your items in a style so bland guests think they could have your dish just anywhere. Your goal when writing your menu should be to entice people into trying your food.
    Consider highlighting the main parts of a dish; like how it’s prepared, where the produce comes from, and what the main flavors are. Updating ‘Steak with Salad’, to ‘Grilled Sirloin Steak with a Wild Rocket and Heirloom Tomato Salad’ tells your diners what to expect, without overwhelming them in details. A great tip is to look up what the best restaurants in your niche are doing. You can check Yelp or even Google their menus for some inspiration on how to really nail the phrasing on your menu.
  3. Having too many options

    While it’s great to have your guests boasting, ‘it all looks so good, I don’t know what to order’, you still want them to make a selection without stress. Try to have no more than eight options in each section of your menu. You want to offer a variety, without having what seems like variations of the same dishes over and over.
  4. Your menu is too large

    Much like having too many options, large menus complicate things. They can be overwhelming to look through, and can even detract from the enjoyment of dining out if guests are elbowing each other at the table trying to order a meal. Stick to a smaller scale design that each guest can handle comfortably and won’t clutter the table.
  5. Not labelling which items are ‘allergy friendly’

    How many times are your wait staff asked if a dish contains nuts, gluten, or dairy? People want to know what they’re eating, and what they’re not eating. Utilize the trend of abbreviations to indicate which items are nut free (nf), gluten free (gf), dairy free (df), vegan (veg).
  6. Poor categorization

    Much like separating entrees, mains, and desserts, you should always categorize similar dishes together. If you offer an assortment of a similar dish, like salads, for example, listing all your salads in the one place is vital to designing a reader-friendly menu.

There you have it! Now you can ensure your menu is top notch by making sure you avoid these 6 sins and delight your patrons!