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Menu design: 20 things you should know

Menu design: 20 things you should know

20 Things You Should Know about Menu Design

By Forketers Restaurant Marketing Blog

In this article, you will learn twenty of the most important points you should consider before making up your restaurant menu. The menu is more than a list of dishes. It should be an effective marketing tool that sells.

Many restaurant operators give their menu little attention. It may look okay to them. It has all the dishes listed with their prices. But what the customer sees is just a list. BOR-Ring!

From the aspect of marketing, your menu is probably the most important salesperson for your restaurant. Are you aware of the impact your menu has on your sales? Here below, I’ve listed twenty of the most important considerations you should remember when it comes to menu design.

Even disregarding as little as one of these twenty points, the negative impact on sales can be much more serious than most people realize.

Your menu is your major sales and communication tool. Through the menu, you can talk to your guests and recommend dishes. This can be especially important when you can’t have top quality waiters.

Your menu should:

  1. Orient the sale of products in a way that will entice customers
  2. Intrigue the mind’s eye
  3. Stimulate curiosity and more likelihood of making a sale
  4. It should properly and explain dishes in a clean and appetizing way
  5. It should reassure guests that they’re making a good choice
  6. And of course, it should sell

20 Things to Consider when Designing your Menu

Before I list the 20 necessities, I want to recommend you not try to design your own menu. Unless you’re an experienced designer or have had a lot of experience with menu design software, you should really seek the services of a professional graphic designer. The cost of this service will be easily offset by increased interest and sales.

Many people start off saving money by using Microsoft Word, Paint or some free internet software. A choice that’s even worse is to assign the job to a teenage nephew, a neighbor or cousin who is “good with computers”.

While the internet offers menu templates you can download, these may suffice, but that’s all they do. These are stock designs that are probably dated as well as uninteresting.

Your choice should be a professional menu designed for a reasonable amount of money. This isn’t a job for amateurs or for stock menu templates. It’s most important not to lose sight of the importance of your menu.

nicola barcellona indicates

You can go to 99designs.com and professional graphic design service will design your menu not only to your

liking but to the liking of your guests.

Okay, finally we get to the 20 characteristics you must take into consideration when it comes to having your menu designed in such a way that your guests will order, spend more money and make everyone happy.

1. Color

colors paletteColor can make a significant impact on our perception and it can influence our actions. Many studies have been done to associate color with human perception.

Blue, for instance, is associated with trust. Blue’s a relaxing color. Green, Mother Nature’s favorite color, indicates freshness and renewal. Red, on the other hand, indicates exuberance and action, while yellow promotes happiness and optimism.

It’s necessary to bear in mind that your guests will be as influenced by color as you are. For example, in China, red has a different meaning than it does in Italy. In Russia red is extremely popular and many words such as beautiful seem to have been derived from red. Orange can stimulate the appetite and therefore the purchase of certain products.

Each color has a meaning and speaks to us. Therefore, it’s important to take color into consideration when designing a menu. This applies to the design and color of your logo as well. With the use of the psychology of color, you can take advantage of this knowledge to increase your bottom line.

2. Pictures

cameraMany restaurant menus don’t contain pictures, yet lacking those, they still represent one of your best-merchandising techniques. But pictures always add an important extra sales tool to your menu. The inclusion of photographs or illustrations requires a high level of sophistication and good taste.

Many low-cost but adequate cameras are available today. With one of these you should be able to get some good photos without the help of a professional photographer — although when possible, the pro is recommended.

There are many books that can help you make better photos very quickly.

When you have photos to insert into your menu, be sure to use those that convey emotion and whet the appetite. Empty tables, clean plates and dining rooms with no customers add little to your menu. You want to use photos that show a dining room with contented customers, attractive dishes or busy servers.

❌ However, please don’t show photos of customers and dishes you can’t really offer. That sort of thing can create a negative effect that will cost you dearly.

3. Don’t use currency signs

moneyWe know that every item on most menus shows a price.

But signs such as “€” “£” and “$” or “Dhs” etc., should be avoided. These symbols tend to subconsciously cause the customer to focus more on the prices and the idea that the restaurant is only interested in making money.

More and more restaurants today have learned this lesson and no longer put currency signs on their prices.

4. Language

commentHow would you feel when you’re abroad and to a restaurant where you don’t understand a word of what’s on the menu? If you’re in a location where you expect a great many foreign guests, you should have the same menu printed up in different languages to make it easy and comfortable for your guests.



Even if you only expect the occasional foreigner, it’s wise to have a menu to offer that will make your customer feel comfortable.

Tony, a Sicilian entrepreneur, opened a small trattoria several kilometers distant from the capital, Palermo. He only saw a couple of foreigners a year, but nevertheless, he kept menus in English, Spanish and French.

By the spring of 2014 tourists began flooding his little trattoria in larger and larger groups daily. At first, Tony couldn’t understand this sudden popularity, but one day, although Tony’s English was poor, he managed to ask an American customer how he had found the restaurant. The American tourist showed Tony an article that had appeared about Tony’s trattoria.

It turned out that one customer who had found the trattoria a few months earlier had written about it in his popular travel blog. In his blog, he not only praised the restaurant but the English menu that was offered to him in the restaurant as well.

5. The use of graphic space

research iconManagers and owners sometimes believe that the more offerings you put on your menu, the more customers will see it as quality and become more attached to the restaurant. However, this is simply not true!

When we look at a menu or any other document, we look for white spaces to indicate starting points. When we look at a list of products, all written in a dense text you risk losing the interest of the reader. It is quite unnecessary and even harmful to insert too many offerings on your menu.

You can make use of strategically empty spaces to drive customers’ orders and increase the sale of certain dishes rather than others.

6. Icons

vegeterianWherever there is a lot of tourism, icons have come into wide use. A typical example is the use of stars to define the category of hotels. Facebook had the now-famous raised thumb to express the viewer’s liking.



In the restaurant business, icons are greatly used and can have a positive impact on customers’ eyes.

For instance, some restaurants may have a small chili pepper next to a dish that immediately tells the guest that this is a spicy dish. On the other hand, it’s wise not to overdo your icons.

*Then there is the famous asterisk with a footnote. This has been used effectively, for instance, to indicate that a certain dish is frozen. However, today, overuse of the asterisk, customers have developed something we might call an “asterisk prejudice” that only leaves the guest with a negative impression despite the product’s actual quality.

7. Where the eye falls

mind iconEvery centimeter on your menu is important and worthy of your attention. When we look at a menu, our eyes follow a natural path. The arrangement of dishes should consider this track to increase the sale of certain dishes and through this method, forecast revenue.



If your menu is a trifold card, the eye will typically move from the center to the top right.

This path follows what is known as a pair of “golden triangles“. Therefore, the place to put the more profitable dishes you’d like to sell at the top right of your menu. Of course, over time any menu format will produce a predictable sales mix.

Through careful study of the way people order from your menu, you should soon be able to forecast the preferences of your guests. This point is fundamental. With an effective menu, you should be able not only to create good communication with your guests but increase sales but have better control over costs as well.

8. Short and long descriptions

textThe human being has a natural inclination to observe and notice what is different. If you write a list of short sentences followed by a long one, the reader will be more attracted to the latter. On the other hand, if you write many long involved descriptions, the eye will stray toward the shorter sentences.



In putting your menu together, you should always bear the length of your descriptions in mind.

It’s probably a good idea to play around with short and long sentences to find just the right combination to help you give prominence to the items you’d like to feature.

9. Post the menu outside

menu blackboardThink about how many times that, in the supermarket, we buy a lot more than we intended to buy? This has a lot to do with the way products are displayed on the shelves. What do you think your reaction would be if all these items were just packed on the shelves with no indication of the price?

As you undoubtedly know, many people go out to dine, but in a strange country, they have no idea where to go. They may drive around and see restaurants here and there, but if there’s no indication of the price range, some are hesitant to stop, they don’t want to get into a situation where they have to spend a lot more than the intended.

It’s not only wise but in some countries mandatory, to post a menu outside where a potential guest can look it over before deciding to enter. Some restaurants also offer at least one complete dinner for example for a fixed price.

It’s also a good idea to post the phone number and mention home delivery. In some places, rather than post the entire menu, one or two large signs will feature specialties with the price included.

10. The value of words

wordsWords are very important. The words you use in your menu should not only describe your dishes but make them desirable. They should make customers not only want them, but they can create customer loyalty.

For example, rather than use the word “fried” you might refer to the dish as “crispy” and “golden”.

Often this can cause a guest to order the dish without stopping to think about the consequences of fattening foods. Another ploy is to use “light” adjectives. Many have found that mentioning a brief description of the origin and type of agriculture can be helpful.

For instance, mentioning that you use only free-range chickens fed natural products may be a good selling point. But don’t lie about it! That could be your ruin.

11. Readability

checklistIt’s crucial that your menu be easily read. The ease of reading depends not only on the media in which the menu is placed (i.e. reading print on paper is not the same as reading on a computer monitor). The font is important as is the size of the color, even the location in which it is read. The age and education of the reader are important as well.

All these aspects should be taken into consideration when you’re designing your menu. Naturally, you want to design a menu that sells but before going further, it’s a good idea to consider your restaurant’s target customers and adapt the menu’s style to them. If a lot of your guests are older people, larger fonts may help.

For kids, large colorful fonts make for a winner with special graphics for the external menu. In a more upscale, restrained restaurant with Mozart playing softly in the background, you would want an appropriate menu, one that puts your establishment on the same level as your guests.

12. Simplicity

puzzletruly effective menu should be simple. A menu that is too cluttered and even confusing will do little to whet the appetites of your guests. Simplicity, aside from the graphic aspects, depends on the number of dishes you list.



Too many dishes won’t generate value for the restaurant. They may even stress the customer.

Usually, four or five proposals for the first or second dish, along with some “off the menu” dishes may be quite enough for your menu.

13. Superlatives

wrong iconBe careful with superlatives. Including phrases such as “The best pizza in the country” or “Our quality restaurant”, “the best steak in the world”, “The best spaghetti on the planet”, etc., will not add value to your restaurant or do anything to increase sales.

In fact, singing your praises with such superlatives only makes you appear ridiculous. It’s fine to give yourself a compliment, but you should do with credible and moderate adjectives.

14. Show the brand personality

attract peopleThe world is in constant change, and marketing has changed along with it. Today, whether you like it or not, a brand must have what they call “meaning”. And today, brands not only represent products.




Consumers today actually interact with brands.

brand has to have its own personality. That is to say that it has to have human characteristics that will be closely associated with it. A brand personality describes a brand in terms of a human characteristic such as serious, refined, playful, feminine, intelligent, or traditional, etc.

Here are some examples of famous brands:

  • Marlboro, once a feminine cigarette with red tips, etc. one day changed to a man’s cigarette showing a real man with a tattoo on his hand. It shows cowboys riding the range and overnight it became the choice of many men. (Without the red tip of course!)
  • IBM is an old but trusted logo while Apple is young but just as well-known today.
  • McDonald’s is clean, fast, fun and conveniently family-oriented.
  • Coca-Cola is more conformist while Pepsi is nonconformist.

To put this in a nutshell, your restaurant menu template, font, writing style, pictures and everything else related to the design, much personalize your particular brand. The better you can do this, the more successful your operation is likely to be.

15. A menu that lasts

calendarYou have to have a menu that is adapted to your particular operation.

For example, if you have a restaurant poolside bar, then you need a menu that is water-resistant as well as easy to read in bright sunlight. In a luxury upscale venue, more delicate materials may be used.

Every menu, however, must always be kept in good condition. Any menu that has been scribbled on, stained or damaged in any way should immediately be discarded and replaced with a new one. And customers are definitely turned off by your offering those dreadful “immortal” menus encases in those depressing plastic covers.

16. Menu holders

menuIf you plan to use menu holders, remember that they also communicate feelings and emotions to the diner. They can also contribute value to the restaurant and consequently, your brand. The choice of design, material, and color is very important for the overall dining experience.

And remember that when plastic holders of any kind become overused, they say to the customer that you’re paying more attention to saving money than offering the best dining experience you can.

As an example, the famous restaurant of Burj Al Arab in Dubai presents its menu with exclusive covers made of eel skin. Of course, this is a higher-end facility, but you can pay attention to finding the best and most attractive menu possible for the money you have to invest.

17. Personalizing your menu

dessertOne of the gravest and most common errors made in menu planning is to have only one menu available. When you try to plan ahead and have menus to serve to expected guests you not only promulgate good customer-restaurateur relationships but increase revenue as well.

Here below are a few examples you may use depending on your particular situation.

  • Dessert menu
  • Children’s menu
  • Adults menu
  • Vegetarian menu
  • Gluten-free menu
  • Beverage menu
  • Seasonal menus

18. Origin of products

foodIn the past, most consumers had no interest in the origin of products. No one even thought about those things. No one ever considered where a restaurant did its shopping or who its suppliers were.

Today things have changed dramatically. These days consumers pay significant attention to local products. Many restaurants build their concept around “only local products”. Adding this information to your menu is not a problem but rather an opportunity to attract more customers.

19. The menu as an investment

job promotionWith everything taken into consideration, your menu is your best salesman and must work. That’s why it’s so important to plan it carefully rather than just listing your offerings. Another way to put it is, as they say in the United States, “If you invest money in peanuts, you can expect to get monkeys”.

Today, the internet is all-important. It’s a good idea to set up a website where you not only describe your restaurant. And be sure to make your restaurant menu as social as possible. Use the menu to bring customers to your social pages such as Facebook to engage them online. Invite them to like your Facebook page or to review your restaurant on TripAdvisor or Yelp.

20. Check

praiseLast, but certainly not least is the price factor. Most customers are price conscious, whether they are working people or millionaires. No one likes to overspend and even the wealthiest usually like to know where their money is going. Therefore the items the customer has received should appear in the final bill as what they were.

I hope these hints have helped you in understanding the most important features of creating a menu that sells. Once you have these concepts clear in your mind, you can proceed with the menu design.

Restaurant menu psychology: tricks to make us order more

Restaurant menu psychology: tricks to make us order more

Restaurant menu psychology and the tricks they do to make us order more.

Article By The Guardian

From wine-appropriate music to authentic-sounding foreign names, restaurateurs have many ways to persuade diners into ordering high-profit meals

It’s not always easy trying to read a menu while hungry like the wolf, woozy from aperitif and exchanging pleasantries with a dining partner. The eyes flit about like a pinball, pinging between set meal options, side dishes, and today’s specials. Do I want comforting treats or something healthy? What’s cheap? Will I end up bitterly coveting my companion’s dinner? Is it immoral to fuss over such petty, first-world dilemmas? Oh God, the waiter’s coming over.

Why is it so hard to decide what to have? New research from Bournemouth University shows that most menus crowbar in far more dishes than people want to choose from. And when it comes to choosing food and drink, as an influential psychophysicist by the name of Howard Moskowitz once said: “The mind knows not what the tongue wants.”

Malcolm Gladwell cites an interesting nugget from his work for Nescafé. When asked what kind of coffee they like, most Americans will say: “a dark, rich, hearty roast”. But actually, only 25-27% want that. Most prefer weak, milky coffee. Judgment is clouded by aspiration, peer pressure, and marketing messages.

The burden of choice

Perhaps this is part of the joy of a tasting or set menu – the removal of responsibility. And maybe the recent trend for tapas-style sharing plates has been so popular because it relieves the decision-making pressure if all your eggs are not in one basket. Is there a perfect amount of choice?

Nightmare menu layouts

Bournemouth University’s new study has sought to answer this very question. “We were trying to establish the ideal number of starters, mains, and puddings on a menu,” says Professor John Edwards. The study’s findings show that restaurant customers, across all ages and genders, do have an optimum number of menu items, below which they feel there’s too little choice and above which it all becomes disconcerting. In fast-food joints, people wanted six items per category (starters, chicken dishes, fish, vegetarian and pasta dishes, grills and classic meat dishes, steaks and burgers, desserts), while in fine dining establishments, they preferred seven starters and desserts, and 10 main courses, thank you very much.

Befuddling menu design doesn’t help. A few years back, the author William Poundstone rather brilliantly annotated the menu from Balthazar in New York to reveal the marketing bells and whistles it uses to herd customers into parting with the maximum amount of cash. Professor Brian Wansink, author of Slim by Design, Mindless Eating Solutions to Everyday Life, has extensively researched menu psychology, or as he puts it, menu engineering. “What ends up initially catching the eye,” he says, “has an unfair advantage over anything a person sees later on.” There’s some debate about how people’s eyes naturally travel around menus, but Wansink reckons “we generally scan the menu in a z-shaped fashion starting at the top-left hand corner.” Whatever the pattern, though, we’re easily interrupted by items being placed in boxes, next to pictures or icons, bolded or in a different color.

The language of food

The Oxford experimental psychologist Charles Spence has an upcoming review paper on the effect the name of a dish has on diners. “Give it an ethnic label,” he says, “such as an Italian name, and people will rate the food as more authentic.” Add an evocative description, and people will make far more positive comments about a dish’s appeal and taste. “A label directs a person’s attention towards a feature in a dish, and hence helps bring out certain flavors and textures,” he says.

But we are seeing a backlash against the menu cliches (drizzled, homemade, infused) that have arisen from this thinking. For some time now, at Fergus Henderson’s acclaimed restaurant, St John, they have let the ingredients speak for themselves, in simple lists. And if you eat at one of Russell Norman’s Polpo group of restaurants in London, you will see almost no adjectives (or boxes and other “flim-flam”, as he calls it), and he’s doing a roaring trade. “I’m particularly unsympathetic to florid descriptions,” he says.

However, Norman’s menus employ their own, subtle techniques to reel diners in. Take his flagship restaurant Polpo’s menu. Venetian dishes are printed on Italian butchers’ paper, which goes with the distressed, rough-hewn feel of the place. I don’t use a huge amount of Italian,” he says, “but I occasionally use it so that customers say ‘what is that?'” He picks an easy-to-pronounce word like suppli (rice balls), to start a conversation between diner and waiter.

Sound and atmosphere

Research has shown that classical music increases sales of expensive wines and overall spending in posh eateries, while French and German music increases sales of French and German wines, respectively (the diners are unaware of these influences). Slow music and the scent of lavender make people spend longer in restaurants and pop music at 70-90dB will up the consumption of soft drinks. And, less surprisingly perhaps, in 1997 Edwards found that diners ate more at a breakfast buffet if the room smelled of grilled bacon, and less with the odor of boiled cabbage wafting around.

It’s all relative, right? In his menu-deconstruction exercise, Poundstone refers to the £70 Le Balthazar seafood plate as a price anchor. “By putting high-profit items next to the extremely expensive anchor, they seem cheap by comparison.” So, what the restaurant wants you to get is the £43 Le Grand plate to the left of it. It’s a similar story with wine. We’ll invariably go for the second cheapest. Set menus, or “bundles”, meanwhile, seem like good value and therefore give us an excuse to eat and spend more. Everyone’s a winner.

Vast menus make me particularly nervous in, say, gastropubs, where they scream: “FRESH FROM THE DEEP FREEZE”. And Norman finds any mention of “chef’s special sauce” offputting (don’t ask). What dampens your appetite on menus? And how do you decide what to order? Gut instinct, methodically weighed up the pros and cons, eliminating items with unwanted ingredients? Or do you always just get the burger?

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Dim Lighting Makes You Eat More at Restaurants

Dim Lighting Makes You Eat More at Restaurants

Dim Lighting – A study found that diners seated in darker rooms ordered dishes with 39 percent more calories on average.


It turns out the dim lighting on your dinner date can affect more than the mood. New data published in the Journal of Marketing Research shows that patrons dining in well-lit spaces are 16-24 percent more likely to order healthy dishes than those in dimly lit rooms, due to a higher level of alertness.

According to the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, researchers at the University of South Florida surveyed 160 patrons at four chain restaurants. Some diners were seated in brighter rooms, while the others ate in more dimly-lit spaces. Those who were seated in the darker rooms ordered dishes with 39 percent more calories on average and leaned towards less-healthy items, like fried food and dessert. On the other hand, those in the well-lit room skewed towards the healthier menu items like vegetables, white meat poultry, baked and grilled fish, and vegetables. A replication of the study with 700 college-aged students found the same results.

“We feel more alert in brighter rooms and therefore tend to make more healthful forward-thinking decisions,” explains lead author Dipayan Biswas. The team’s follow-up studies on diner alertness showed that when consumers in the dimly-lit rooms were given a caffeine placebo or prompted to be more alert, they made comparably healthy choices to those in the well-lit rooms, concluding that alertness is the main factor in the whether or not diners make more righteous decisions while eating out.

Before you decide to avoid low light altogether, know that Brian Wansink, study co-author and Director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, says “dim lighting isn’t all bad… despite ordering less-healthy foods, you actually end up eating slower, eating less, and enjoying the food more.”

So, the next time you’re faced with a case of “dining-in-the-dark,” as Wansink calls it, your best defense against overindulgence could be taking a moment to be conscious and alert about what you’re putting into your body. No mood-killing bright lights required.

Excellent reasons to keep your restaurant dimly lit…however, make it easy to read your menu.

No more annoying cell phone searchlights killing your ambiance.
LED-backlit menus are your answer!

Keep your lights low and romantic, but make it easy to read your menu.



LED Menu Light manufactures and sells LED illuminated Menu Covers, Boards and Check Presenters
All of our LED menus are made with soft white LED light for easy reading just like the Kindle and E-Readers. This is perfect for customers who have a hard time reading tiny type on menus in dimly lit restaurants.

WEBSITE:  https://ledmenulight.com

Contact: Marvin Barenbaum, 201-741-8292

LED MENU 2-Panel Backlit
LED Backlit Menu Board
LED Check Presenter

8 Psychological Tricks of Restaurant Menus

8 Psychological Tricks of Restaurant Menus

Restaurant Menus – more than meets the eye.


A restaurant’s menu is more than just a random list of dishes. It has likely been strategically tailored at the hands of a menu engineer or consultant to ensure it’s on-brand, easy to read, and most importantly, profitable. Here are a few ways restaurants use their menus to influence what you’re having for dinner.


The best menus account for the psychological theory known as the “paradox of choice,” which says that the more options we have, the more anxiety we feel. The golden number? Seven options per food category, tops (seven appetizers, seven entrees, etc.). “When we include over seven items, a guest will be overwhelmed and confused, and when they get confused they’ll typically default to an item they’ve had before,” says menu engineer Gregg Rapp. No shame in sticking with what you know, but a well-designed menu might entice you to try something a bit different (and a bit more expensive).

Some restaurants have lost sight of this rule. For example, McDonald’s initially served just a few items but now offers more than 140. Yet the chain’s revenue fell by11 percent in the first quarter of 2015. “As we complicate menus, what we’re actually doing is tormenting the guest,” says restaurant consultant Aaron Allen. “When the guest leaves they feel less satiated, and part of it comes down to a perception that they might have made the wrong choice.” If you leave with a bad taste in your mouth, you’re less likely to come back. And in an industry where repeat customers account for about 70 percent of sales, getting diners to return is the ultimate goal.


Including a nice-looking picture alongside a food, item increases sales by 30 percent, according to Rapp.

In one Iowa State University study, researchers tested a digital display of a salad on kids at a YMCA camp. Campers who saw the salad photo were up to 70 percent more likely to order a salad for lunch. “You respond to the image on the display like you would respond to a plate in front of you,” said Brian Mennecke, an associate professor of information systems. “If you’re hungry you respond by saying, ‘I’ll have what’s in that picture.’” This effect is even more powerful when it comes to digital signs that move or rotate, which fast-food restaurants are beginning to implement. “The more vivid the image, in terms of movement, color, and accuracy of representation, the more realistic, the more it’s going to stimulate your response to it,” Mennecke said.

Of course, you can have too much of a good thing. “If you crowd too many photos, it starts to cheapen the perception of the food,” Allen says. “The more items that are photographed on the menu, the guest’s perception is of lower quality.” Most high-end restaurants avoid photos to maintain a perceived level of fanciness.


One way to encourage you to spend more money is by making price tags as inconspicuous as possible. “We get rid of dollar signs because that’s a pain point,” says Allen. “They remind people they’re spending money.” Instead of $12.00 for that club sandwich, you’re likely to see it listed as 12.00, or even just 12. One Cornell University study found that written-out prices (“twelve dollars”) also encourage guests to spend more. “Your pricing format will set the tone of the restaurant,” says Rapp. “So $9.95 I’ve found is a friendlier price than a $10, which has an attitude to it.”

Dotted lines leading from the menu item to its price are a cardinal sin of menu design. “That menu was introduced before modern typesetting,” says Allen. “It was a way of keeping the page looking properly formatted, but what happens is the guest reads down the right side of the menu and then looks to the left to see what the lower price point can afford them.” The solution? “Nested” pricing, or listing the price discretely after the meal described in the same size font, so your eyes just glide right over it.


On menus, perspective is everything. One trick is to include an incredibly expensive item near the top of the menu, which makes everything else seem reasonably priced. Your server never expects you to actually order that $300 lobster, but it sure makes the $70 steak look positively thrifty, doesn’t it?

Slightly more expensive items (so long as they still fall within the boundaries of what the customer is willing to pay) also suggest the food is of higher quality. This pricing structure can literally make customers feel more satisfied when they leave. For example, one study gave participants an $8 buffet or a $4 buffet. While the food was exactly the same, the $8 buffet was rated as tastier.


Just like supermarkets put profitable items at eye level, restaurants design their menus to make the most of your gaze. The upper right corner is prime real estate, Rapp explains. “The upper right is where a person will go on a blank sheet of paper or in a magazine,” he says. That’s where the most profitable items usually go. “Then we build the appetizers on the upper left and salads underneath that. You want to keep the menu flowing well.”

Another trick is to create space around high-profit items by putting them in boxes or otherwise separating them from the rest of the options. “When you put in a pocket of negative space, you pull the eye there,” writes Allen. “Putting negative space around an item can call attention to it and help you sell it.”


According to Allen, different colors help conjure feelings and “motivate” behavior. Blue is a very soothing color, so often times it is used to create a calming effect,” he says. And have you ever noticed the number of restaurants that utilize red and yellow in their branding? Conclusive evidence on how color affects our mood is hard to find, but one review suggests that red stimulates the appetite, while yellow draw in our attention. “The two combined are the best food coloring pairings,” Allen says.


Longer, more detailed descriptions sell more food. Nearly 30 percent more, according to one Cornell study. “The more copy you write on the menu item, the less it costs in a customer’s mind because you’re giving them more for their money,” explains Rapp. So plain old “chocolate pudding” becomes “satin chocolate pudding.” Customers also rated the more thoroughly described food as tasting better.

“People taste what you tell them they’re tasting,” Rapp says. Consider this: In another study, researchers presented two different groups with the same red wine but with different labels. One label said North Dakota (do they even make wine there?), the other said California. In taste tests, the “California” wine squarely defeated the “North Dakota” wine even though both groups’ glasses were filled with “Two-Buck Chuck”. Also, “those who believed they had been drinking California wine ate 12% more of their meal than those who instead believed they drank North Dakota wine.”

Adjectives like “line-caught,” “farm-raised,” or “locally-sourced” are big turn-ons for customers. “These things all help increase the perception of the quality of the item,” Allen says. This verbiage is so effective that many states have “Truth in Menu” laws designed to prevent restaurants from lying about things like how a piece of meat was raised or where it originated.


We all have that one meal that takes us back to childhood. Restaurants know this tendency, and they use it to their advantage. “Alluding to past time periods can trigger happy memories of family, tradition, and nationalism,” one study says. “Customers sometimes like the feeling of tasting something wholesome and traditional because ‘They sure don’t make ‘em like they used to.’” Keep that in mind the next time you’re tempted to order “Grandma’s Chicken Soup.”


Great ideas for your menus…

So consider LED back lit menu holders and Read your menu Easily in the darkest of venues


LED Menu Light manufactures and sells LED illuminated Menu Covers, Boards and Check Presenters
All of our LED menus are made with soft white LED light for easy reading just like the Kindle and E-Readers. This is perfect for customers who have a hard time reading tiny type on menus in dimly lit restaurants.

WEBSITE:  https://ledmenulight.com

Contact: Marvin Barenbaum, 201-741-8292

LED MENU 2-Panel Backlit
LED Backlit Menu Board
LED Check Presenter

The Difference Between Embossing and Debossing

The Difference Between Embossing and Debossing

The Difference Between Embossing And Debossing


Author: Karin Ingram

To emboss, or deboss – that is the question.

They are both techniques used to imprint impressed or depressed images onto paper which can add that extra something to your print jobs. To decide which approach could be right for your business, let’s take a look at the differences between the two.

Embossing Vs. Debossing

Embossing is when you raise a logo or other image to create a 3D graphic. This raised design is achieved by pushing a metal die into paper, card stock (or other chosen material) from underneath. The raised area can then have ink or foil applied to it for added effect or it can be left unprinted or unfoiled (i.e. known as a blind emboss).

Example of embossing

Debossing is the opposite of embossing as you are creating an indent in the material you are using. A metal die is stamped onto the front of the material you are using causing depressions that leave a (debossed) imprint of the image on your paper, card stock (or other chosen material). You can choose to leave the debossing as it is (i.e. known as a blind deboss) or you can fill the indentation with ink.

Example of deboosing


Both embossing and debossing can be used in combination with offset printing or foil stamping to add depth and impact to a design. Dies can be sculpted as single-level, multilevel, sculptured or with beveled edges to create striking, multi-dimensional designs.

Business cards, stationery and presentation folders are just some of the collateral that can be custom embossed or debossed for your business. Business cards really lend themselves to both techniques, although embossing is far more common than debossing. When you emboss your business card you will most likely have the reverse image on the back of the card and the embossed image on the front. If you choose debossing on a thick card material however, then only one side of your business card will be affected.

If embossing or debossing aren’t for you, there are many other finishing options to choose from.  For advice on the right finishing touches for all your print collateral, speak to the team at your local Kwik Kopy today.

Foiling finishing

Foiling produced by Kwik Kopy Hornsby


LED Menu Light manufactures and sells LED illuminated Menu Covers, Boards and Check Presenters
All of our LED menus are made with soft white LED light for easy reading just like the Kindle and E-Readers. This is perfect for customers who have a hard time reading tiny type on menus in dimly lit restaurants.

WEBSITE:  https://ledmenulight.com

Contact: Marvin Barenbaum, 201-741-8292

LED MENU 2-Panel Backlit
LED Backlit Menu Board
LED Check Presenter

Would You Like to See the Menu? Try Using Your iPhone Flashlight

Would You Like to See the Menu? Try Using Your iPhone Flashlight

Would You Like to See the Menu? Try Using Your iPhone Flashlight

As restaurants grow increasingly dim, even younger diners are reaching for their cellphones.

Sitting at the bar at Pops for Champagne while in Chicago on business, Joseph Davey, 52 years old, couldn’t read the menu to decipher drink options in the near-darkness.

So he did the only reasonable thing he could: He pulled out his phone flashlight and lit up the page.

“I’m no spring chicken, but I don’t consider myself a senior citizen either,” said Mr. Davey, a restaurant beverage director who lives in Indianapolis. Scrutinizing what he described as “a great selection of bubbles,” by the light of an iPhone 7 might have hinted at decrepitude—except, he said, drinkers decades younger than him were doing the same.

The trend in restaurant design isn’t just romantically moody and dim, but downright inky, leaving aspiring menu-readers with little choice but to whip out their cellphone flashlights. They may illuminate the mysteries of the entrees, but can also bust the vibe of any downtown brasserie’s amber glow with the cold lasers of light-emitting diodes.

Pops for Champagne sets the lighting to appeal to a “diverse demographic, young and old,” and hears few grumbles, said co-owner Tom Verhey. The bar did recently increase the font size on the menu, as part of a re-design, and that made it easier to read, he said.

“I’m not Abe Lincoln that I can read by candlelight,” said Lisa Beach, 54, a freelance writer in Orlando, Fla. “I need more than two watts to read an entire menu.” Alas, Ms. Beach said, she often must provide those watts herself with mood-killing “bright white-bluish light” from her iPhone 7.

Lisa Beach at a restaurant in Florida using her iPhone 7 to read the menu. PHOTO: KEVIN BEACH


Brian Maier, 37, said using his Samsung Galaxy Note 5 to read the menu at a Tex-Mex restaurant in Austin, Texas, made his mind flash to a late-night commercial for a credit-card sized magnifying glass with a light, featuring white-haired actors.

“It made me feel like, ‘have I reached that stage of my life, where I’m that elderly person?’ ” he said.

Dinner has definitely gotten darker, said Andrew Knowlton, the 44-year-old editor at large at Bon Appétit magazine, who has eaten in roughly 400 restaurants annually for nearly 15 years. When he began his career, restaurants were generally split between upscale places and “mom and pops,” he said. Now, more restaurants are competing in the in-between zone, expected to provide good cuisine and a fashionable atmosphere. For those with lower budgets, turning the lights down is a quick fix, he said.


Mr. Knowlton said he finds it embarrassing when other diners—even worse are his own dining companions (“I’m going to give my wife up,” he said)—resort to the cellphone solution. He vowed he will never succumb. “I’d rather give up restaurants.”

Television host and comedian Scott Nevins, 37, once took an equally hard line, mocking friends when they resorted to the cell phone flashlight while dining out in San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles, where he lives. Then he ended up in the hospital after eating some undercooked chicken in a restaurant.

Since then, Mr. Nevins wouldn’t dream of putting a piece of chicken in his mouth before an analysis aided by his iPhone—“on full high beams, like you could land at LAX,” he said. His mortified friends groan and threaten to abandon him at the table. “I always say, ‘Oh be quiet. It’ll be three seconds,’ ” he said.

Granville West Hollywood on Friday night. PHOTO: KEN BARNETT

The ideal way to balance atmosphere and legibility is two-pronged, said David Rockwell, an architect who has designed restaurants including Nobu and Union Square Café in New York. One set of lights along the room’s perimeter or ceiling sets the overall ambience, while each table also gets its own light to enable diners to see close up.

That’s expensive and hard to perfect, which is why some restaurateurs celebrate the cultural shift in which patrons arrive packing their own lanterns.

“It means restaurants don’t have to worry about it,” said Marc Dix, food and beverage manager for Granville Restaurant Group, which has four restaurants in Los Angeles. “They can just go ahead and create the atmosphere they want.”

Though Granville staffers try to help diners who complain by bringing extra candles or even aiming their own cell phone flashlights at menus, one thing they won’t do is turn up the lights.


“We do get a couple of complaints about noise level and darkness,” Mr. Dix said. “But that’s the vibe that keeps everything going.”

In Scottsdale, Ariz., when David Gottlieb and his wife, Miriam, took their seats on the patio of Local Bistro, they quickly turned on their phone flashlights. When he looked up, Mr. Gottlieb said he saw other patrons doing the same. “There was no shame in it,” said the 72-year-old software engineer. “There was no other way to read the menu.”

Mr. Gottlieb said it was so dark that when he put down his phone to eat, he couldn’t tell whether he was stabbing steak or potato with his fork.

Laura Osio, marketing director for Osio Culinary Group, which owns Local Bistro and two other restaurants in Scottsdale, stands by the secret sauce of dusky ambience. “Diners prefer to have a more intimate atmosphere at dinner, which is created by dimming the lights,” she said, adding that lighting complaints are rare.

Stephani Robson, a lecturer at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, said her research has shown changing the lighting doesn’t change what people order. But she said restaurants probably cling to the concept because a “yellow, firelit glow” makes both people and food look better.

Moreover, diners don’t hesitate using their smartphones for just about everything else, said Greg Sage, operating partner and general manager for Ocean Prime steakhouse in Beverly Hills.

“They text, check email, check reviews of the restaurant they are in,” he said. “I walk by and see that they are trying to figure out what to order from Yelp.”

Write to Katy McLaughlin at katy.mclaughlin@wsj.com and Anupreeta Das at anupreeta.das@wsj.com


LED Menu Light manufactures and sells LED illuminated Menu Covers, Boards and Check Presenters
All of our LED menus are made with soft white LED light for easy reading just like the Kindle and E-Readers. This is perfect for customers who have a hard time reading tiny type on menus in dimly lit restaurants.

WEBSITE:  https://ledmenulight.com

Contact: Marvin Barenbaum, 201-741-8292

LED MENU 2-Panel Backlit
LED Backlit Menu Board
LED Check Presenter