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How restaurant lighting affects diners

How restaurant lighting affects diners

Article: How restaurant lighting affects diners

Boelter – read the original article

Our senses are continually working together to create experiences. This is especially evident when it comes to the food we eat and the places we choose to eat in. Research shows the way a plate of food looks has a direct correlation with how a diner perceives its taste. Similarly, a recent study conducted by Cornell University suggests a restaurant’s lighting effects customers’ moods and dining choices.

LED Menu Light - www.ledmenulight.comHere’s where it gets complicated. According to that study, diners are 16 – 24% more likely to order healthy food in well-lit restaurants. That’s because bright light increases a person’s senses and heightens emotions. This same bright light that causes diners to make healthier choices also causes them to perceive stronger flavors.

These benefits both sound great, so why should a restaurant even consider using lower light levels? Because bright light leaves customers feeling alert, dim light conversely allows customers to relax. People dining at dimly lit tables tend to eat at a slower pace and feel more content with their dining experience. While their food choices are statistically less healthy than they might have been having the lighting been brighter, their meal is generally more intimate.

So, how do restaurants find a middle ground? Here are some possible solutions:

  • Use natural light to your advantage. A restaurant with a lot of windows becomes very bright during the day. This style of lighting helps customers stay alert, while also boosting their serotonin levels to help maintain a relaxed, happy mood.
  • Alter your lighting for the time of day. Lunch and dinner crowds can be very different entities. By keeping your atmosphere brightly lit during lunch hours, you will help customers not only make healthier mid-day choices but will also help make sure they aren’t accidentally over-extending their lunch periods. On the other hand, because dinner is meant to be a more leisurely experience, bring the ambient room lighting down around 6 pm and lean on other forms of light like lamps and candles.
  • Create the illusion of a dimly lit room. When it comes to creating experiences, psychology is a constant factor. To create a dining environment that plays off the benefits of both brightly and dimly lit atmospheres, create the illusion of both. Try to keep brightness levels from natural and overhead light consistent throughout the day. Instead of setting fixtures brighter after sundown, add candles to tables that give off enough light to brighten a person’s face. This will add ambiance and give the illusion that the table needed extra light, despite the room being bright already.
  • Just like how the way a plate of food looks changes the way it tastes, the way a restaurant feels changes a diner’s mood. By paying attention to your lighting and adding visually comforting tools like flameless candles from Hollowick, your restaurant could become a go-to for patrons who want an overall fantastic experience.

Who is Hollowick?

Hollowick is an industry-leading producer of commercial lighting solutions that can help enhance the atmosphere of your restaurant and boost the experience of your diners. Their innovative flameless candles deliver a lifelike ambiance, complete with a natural flame flicker. The company’s flame technology, battery life, and warranties illustrate its firm commitment to improving customer service, product satisfaction, and the overall guest experience.

Why restaurants dim the lights

Why restaurants dim the lights

The reason why restaurants dim the lights.

The Franklin News Post – read the original article


The goal here is always to shine the light of knowledge for our readers.

It is a mission not to be taken lightly.

Allow us to illuminate:

Q: Why are expensive restaurants often dimly lit?

Zach Davis, Rocky Mount

A: There has been extensive study and thought spent on this tasty topic.

Start with thoughts offered at the website of the National Restaurant Association, which bills itself as “the largest foodservice trade association in the world.”

“Lighting can set the mood in your restaurant, creating a soothing ambiance that encourages customers to linger or a vibrant atmosphere that helps turn tables,” the advice reads.

Bright and subdued lighting serve different functions.

For instance, at fast-food restaurants, the goal is volume sales. The more customers served in the shortest amount of time, the better.

At so-called “fine dining” establishments, the idea is to keep the customers in their seats, presumably to continue ordering more high-dollar food and drink.

Low lights are also believed to encourage romance.

LED Menu Light - www.ledmenulight.comThis brings us to another bright idea.

Consider the wafting aroma of sour cream-cappuccino brownies just emerging from the oven at the neighborhood bakery or the heavenly scents of Chanel No. 5 at the beauty counter in the mall.

Call it “sensory marketing,” a term employed by University of South Florida associate professor of marketing Dipayan Biswas.

“Anything that appeals to our senses is more impactful in sort of influencing our behavior, our choices, and often, it happens at a very subconscious level, so we are not even aware of that,” he said in Mark Schreiner’s 2012 piece at the USF Public Media site.

The professor went on to explain the differences in goals between fast food and a gourmet eatery.

“Usually, more expensive restaurants have more dimly lit environments than, let’s say, a fast food, low-priced restaurant,” Biswas said. “So we would often associate a dim light with something being more expensive, fancier.”

No wonder that entree is priced in such frightful fashion. High-end restaurants can spend a bundle just trying to strike the proper mood.

“Fine-dining restaurants often have more ‘layers’ of light, which include downlights, accent lights, sconces, chandeliers, and cove lights,” the restaurant association article said.

“The more layers within a space, the more dramatic,” the article quoted Anne Kustner Haser of Anne Kustner Lighting Design in Evanston, Illinois, as saying.

To develop the proper ambiance, music (or lack of), artwork, and lighting work in concert.

Studies have shown that different types of lighting can have an impact on the way people perceive their food, according to the marketing professor.

For instance, common sense tells us food that looks good usually tastes better than more pedestrian-appearing fare.

There’s more to it than that, according to one study by the USF professor. Asked to guess the number of calories in a dish, customers in better-lit rooms typically suppose a lower number of calories for the food served.

“So that again provides sort of evidence that our brain is wired in a way where the taste thing is not just formed from the tongue, it plays just a small role, the visual and the smell cues play a big, big role,” he said.

To bolster that point, the scholar found in one of his examinations that most subjects blindfolded with noses plugged could not tell the difference between cola and lemon-lime soda in taste tests.

It’s not just the appearance of food that depends on the right luminosity. Restauranteurs are urged to provide warm, eye-level lighting near bathroom mirrors.

“You want people to look their best, so they’ll stay longer and buy more,” the Illinois lighting expert said.

A 2016 Cornell University study for which Biswas was the lead author found that customers in dimly lit establishments tended to order dishes that were 39 percent more calorie-filled.

On the other hand, in well-lit eateries, diners are 16 percent to 24 percent more likely to make healthier eating choices.

“Process evidence suggests that this phenomenon occurs because ambient light luminance influences mental alertness, which in turn influences food choices,” the paper said.

Inadequate lighting does have certain merits, one being that diners do take their time and eat more slowly.

On the whole, though, most customers are irritated by dingy viewing, especially when it comes to menu reading and restroom finding.

Specialists recommend indirect light fixtures along the perimeters of rooms and small table lamps or candles to help alleviate the issue.

They better hope those measures work. That fine dining crowd can be ruthless.

According to a June 2015 Washington Post food blog post, Tom Sietsema wrote about a lunchtime episode at district steakhouse Mastro’s during which he requested more light to examine writings about the day’s fare.

Wait staff delivered an apparently lame lamp to the table.

The loathing for which this service was greeted could not be kept in the dark.

“The supposed fix glowed with the force of a single birthday candle.”

Bring Back Menus! I am sick of the QR codes

Bring Back Menus! I am sick of the QR codes

I am sick of the QR codes for Menus

Slate – Read original article


Before the pandemic, I’d shudder at the sight of a restaurant table full of people all staring at their phones. I was always happy not to be them or be sitting with them. I always kept the lively conversation flowing at my table. I had good boundaries between my on- and offline lives. But now, restaurants around the world have nonconsensually turned us all into the people I used to judge. I hate it. And it’s time for us to go back.

It all started when outdoor dining resumed after initial waves of mandated closures last spring. Wary of wayward coronaviruses lingering on physical menus, restaurants taped QR codes to their tables and outsourced the act of menu delivery to the diner and her smartphone. This might have made sense when it still seemed possible that the coronavirus was largely spreading through surface transmission.

LED Menu Light - www.ledmenulight.comBut we now know that the risk of infection via a contaminated surface is low. In tons of communities across the U.S., vaccination rates are high, and COVID-19 case rates are low. People are attending indoor concerts, grinding at dance clubs, and heading back to the office. And yet, even as we eat and slobber and sneeze in restaurants seated at full capacity, in many of those establishments, we’re still obliged to use our own smartphones to figure out what we want to eat.

Why? Why should we be scared to go back to touching a communal piece of paper when we’re already breathing one another’s theoretically more dangerous air?

The obvious pitfalls of the QR code menu were well worth the aggravation as a temporary public health measure, and I truly feel for restaurant owners and workers who’ve been forced to redesign their businesses every few months in response to changing municipal regulations and public health findings.

But the QR code’s continued ubiquity well into the era of the low surface transmission consensus and the full reopening of public spaces has me worried that digital-only menus will be one pandemic modification that becomes a permanent element of public life. Maybe restaurant owners will welcome the demise of physical menus as a way to eliminate one small but constant expense.

Maybe their employees will relish their newfound freedom from the hassle of reprinting menus every time there’s a new seasonal entree on offer. Maybe it will free servers from patrons who always seem to want to order the one dish that’s out of stock. (It can be easily deleted from a digital menu as soon as it runs out.)

Maybe diners who already love scrolling on their phones at restaurants will be more than happy to check out the menu there, too. Other customers may be content to touch one less surface that might be stained with food or invisibly smeared with another person’s snot.

Not I! I’m tired of having to navigate a new digital platform every time I eat out. I despise spending the first 10 minutes of a social engagement on my phone. I never again want to encounter, as I did last week, a QR code that leads to a website where each of the seven menu pages is a separate PDF that must be clicked, zoomed in on, and closed before moving on to the next.

If you think I’m being overdramatic, let me ask you this: Have you gone to a restaurant with your boomer parents during the pandemic? If not, have you ever had to teach your boomer parents how to set up a Roku or connect their printer to Bluetooth? Same tedious, excruciating, relationship-straining thing.

One of my family members is in his late 70s, loves dining out, and only owns a flip phone with no internet connectivity. He’s already excluded from much of our increasingly digital society; before the pandemic, the American restaurant was one of the few places left where he was entirely comfortable with the mores and knew exactly what was expected of him when he walked through the door. Now, he never knows what to anticipate or what he’ll be asked to do when he goes out for lunch.

Default-digital menus are alienating for other kinds of customers, too. Critics have rightly noted that the cashless trend in food and retail is prohibitive for customers who don’t have bank accounts.

Likewise, for a customer who doesn’t have a smartphone or robust data plan—including about one-quarter of adults with household incomes below $30,000 per year—a QR code menu means having to ask for special accommodations she never used to need. Ditto foreign travelers, whose smartphones may not work on U.S. soil. QR codes also open the door for easily executed scams, malware, and digital surveillance.

There is no good reason to add an exclusionary, risky, socially deadening digital step to an analog system that was working just fine before the pandemic hit.

Some restaurants have taken it even further, digitizing not just the menu but the entire dining experience. Two months ago, I ate outdoors at a Basque restaurant that used to have fantastic service on its outdoor patio. This time, it required diners to page through an extensive website that held its menu options.

We had to place food and drink orders on an online platform and punch in our credit card information on our tiny phone keyboards with our big, dumb fingers. Then, we had to wait for a notification on our phones to tell us our drinks were ready to pick up indoors. When we decided to order a second bottle of cider midway through the meal, we had to place a whole new order online. It felt more like ordering takeout or shopping on Amazon than dining out.

It is possible that I socialize in some kind of Luddite bubble, but I’ve only ever heard from one person who loves the new QR code restaurant experience. My colleague, a single woman in her 30s in D.C., said she likes the restaurants that now require customers to view the menu, order, and pay via QR code, fully eliminating most of a server’s responsibilities.

(This mode of operation may make sense for restaurants that have faced staffing shortages since reopening. I will happily pay higher prices at an adequately staffed restaurant that pays a living wage.) Since each diner orders and pays on her own, my colleague said, it’s made it easier to dine with groups of friends who might have otherwise struggled with splitting a check, and it’s preempted awkward conversations with guys on dates about who’s getting the bill.

I suppose I can see where she’s coming from. During a bad date or a social interaction that’s reached its natural end, the wait to receive and pay the check can feel interminable. But people don’t visit sit-down restaurants because they want a meal marked by extreme convenience and speed. As several restaurant workers have told me during the pandemic, diners come to restaurants for hospitality.

For me, the pleasure of poring over a physical menu is so integral to the experience of dining out that I made my friends mimic it during an early-pandemic dinner over Zoom. We’ve all just had the most isolated, screen-mediated year of our lives. If there’s an opportunity for us to make a familiar social interaction more tangible and human, and less coldly transactional, let’s take it.

Las Vegas Nightclub Bottle Service

Las Vegas Nightclub Bottle Service

Read original article –  Las Vegas Nightclub Bottle Service

What Is Bottle Service?

Las Vegas nightclub bottle service usually includes a private table for guests which includes mixers of the guest’s choice such as orange juice, cranberry juice, pineapple juice, and soda water. Bottle service is reserved through a VIP host who will make sure that guests have a good night. Your reservation will also include a model cocktail waitress who will serve you all night, a security guard that oversees your section, and a busser who will keep your table clean and replace ice and used glassware. Learn more by reading our planning guide.

How Do I Reserve Las Vegas Nightclub Bottle Service?

Reserving Las Vegas nightclub bottle service is as simple as contacting a direct club host and letting them know what you need and when you need it. In as little as one or two e-mails (or a phone call), you’ll have made a reservation directly with a lead host who works at your desired nightclub(s). Feel free to ask them about bottle service pricing, bottle service menu, and table location availability.

How Much Does Las Vegas Nightclub Bottle Service Cost?

Las Vegas bottle service and table minimums are established one of three ways, or through a combination of all:

  • By Number Of People. “You must spend $__ per number of people at your table.” Which typically means one bottle per 3 people. On average bottles cost between $350 and $575 per bottle.
  • Supply and demand. If a club is very busy because of a holiday weekend, special performer, or….. because it’s just busy, they will obviously want to sell table space to those who are willing to pay the most for it. In these cases, and especially for more in-demand locations within the club (dancefloor tables, etc), pricing will fluctuate separately from the size of your group. “Dancefloor table starts at $5,000 tonight.”
  • Location. This goes for both what club you decide to visit and where your table is located within the venue. At “mega-clubs” such as XS, Omnia, and Hakkasan, table minimums will be higher than smaller clubs like Marquee, Tao, and Jewel. Also note that the closer your table is to the dance floor, the higher your table minimum will be.
  • Additional Costs. Minimums are in addition to tax and gratuity, which typically is 8.1% and 20%, plus a Live Entertainment Tax of 10% (if applicable, depending on the club, or special event).

Groups looking to share Las Vegas nightclub bottle service can connect with others on our split a table page in our forums.  If table service isn’t in your trip’s budget, we’ve got you covered, sign up for our FREE guest list at many of the top Las Vegas nightclubs.

Costs of Bottle Service vs Just Going To The Bar

Costs of Bottle Service vs Just Going To The Bar.

For those of us who like to meticulously break down everything by the numbers (you know who you are), the average 750 ml bottle of alcohol will pour (roughly) 17 1.5 ounces (standard pour) shots. Whether you or your waitress pours standard pour drinks is another story, but that’s the basic math.

If you average $17 per drink at the bar (with tip), multiplied by the 17 in a bottle, that means each bottle would (theoretically) cost about $300 for an equivalent number of similar drinks.

What Is Bottle Service?On top of that, factor in savings on cover charges, which would have been $30 – 45 per person. So in an example case where three people opted for a table with a *one bottle minimum, that means they would have spent about $400 on cover charges and drinks at the bar vs $450 + tax and gratuity for a table, waitress, and convenience.

Thinking of it in terms of this can help the analytical amongst us attach a cost for the convenience and experience that comes with bottle service. *Don’t forget what we said about supply and demand. One bottle minimums do happen, but not if the demand outweighs the supply of tables.

How Do You Get A Special Bottle Presentation?

If you’ve ever seen one of the very conspicuous bottle service presentations where waitresses are riding on bussers’ backs, drums are being played, the DJ is mic’ing the crowd, sparklers, names are on the big screen, etc, that’s considered a “special” bottle presentation. While you’ll usually see this with more expensive champagne purchases, in terms of who (or what minimum spend) gets this, that’s completely dependent on the club, your relationship with the host, and what you actually ordered. If you would like a special bottle service presentation, simply ask your host as you’re making the reservation.

When Do I Want Bottle Service and At What Las Vegas Clubs?

Most all Las Vegas nightclubs have a noticeably superior level of customer service — especially when compared to other cities (hey…service is kind of our thing), so they’re all somewhat equal in that respect. Since they’re all mostly the same, it’s better to focus more on: when and why do you want bottle service.

It goes without saying that having a place to sit if you want to is better than being forced to stand, and having an area all to your friends is better than not. Add in your own waitress, busser, security, and the feeling of superiority over the poor wretched sore-footed masses, and the advantages are clear. That’s the why.

As far as the when, the best advice is to keep in mind that having a table really does kind of commit you to the one club for at least a couple of hours, so it’s best to reserve at a place you know you’ll want to be (you like the club, the crowd, the performer, or just because you want to be there).

What If The Bottle Minimum Is Ridiculous For My Sized Group?

“Wait. So two people are supposed to drink three bottles?!” This goes back to our original statement on supply and demand, whereas the supply of tables and demand for them, unfortunately, doesn’t much care if you’re just visiting town with your friend or significant other. If you guys want bottle service, you’ll have to suck it up and pay the going rate. Fortunately, LasVegasNightclubs.com has a great new feature in our forums that allows people to post when they are visiting and find other good people to split the tables with. Check that out here.

Why Is Las Vegas Nightclub Bottle Service More Fun?

You get your own private table why you watch your favorite DJ perform. You have your own space for the entire night. As a guy, it makes it easier to pick up girls, and as a girl, a table helps keep the guys away. Plus you have the ability to sit down. Table service is more upscale and makes it easier for everyone to notice you.

Your table will have its own very attractive model cocktail server, along with a busser who will keep your area clean and a security guard for you in your section that works just for you. With a table, there is no reason for you to have to go to the bar and order drinks.

Last Minute Las Vegas Nightclub Bottle Service Tips:

The more you can spend, the better the table location.
Plan on spending more than expected. You will probably spend about 1.5x more than planned due to meeting new friends.

If you are the person paying and in charge of your table, make sure to let your server know that you are the only person allowed to order anything.
Make sure to ask your host about any bottle specials.

Don’t forget to tip your busser!

For guys: If you want girls at your table, ask your security guard for girls and slip him a $20. Once the girls arrive make sure to offer them a drink. If you don’t, they will most likely leave the table.

Restaurants are so dark these days it’s impossible to even read the menu.

Restaurants are so dark these days it’s impossible to even read the menu.

By Tom Sietsema

Reprint from Washington Post

Get a group of frequent restaurant-goers together, and soon enough their note-sharing will reveal the small things that can diminish an otherwise nice experience. Are we talking #FirstWorldproblems here? Absolutely. Does that stop us from venting? Absolutely not.

The upside to being canceled on at lunch? The chance to catch up on my reading. So off I went to Mastro’s — yet another new D.C. steakhouse in a city stocked with them — carrying several pounds of newspapers that I hoped to shed by the time I asked for the check.

I never made it past a headline.

While Mastro’s has much to recommend it — prime beef, top-shelf drinks, live music seven nights a week — proper illumination is not on the menu. A dark room with darker draperies blocking all but a sliver of natural light, the posh steakhouse is by turns Las Vegas, where the casinos are lighted to make you forget what time it is, and Luray Caverns, hold the electricity.

When I expressed concern to my waiter, a relative beacon thanks to his white jacket, he brought me a table lamp, typically an evening amenity. The supposed fix glowed with the force of a single birthday candle.

Let there be light! (Please?) No matter where my reservations take me of late, I’m reminded that dim lighting is the new noisy dining room: the kvetch du jour as far as ambiance goes. The first thing I did when I sat down at the modern Japanese Momotaro in Chicago this past spring was to pull out my iPhone to read the menu.

Descending the stairs of the bunkerlike Pepe le Moko, one of my favorite bars in Portland, Ore., I was tempted to ask for a flashlight.

Don’t get me wrong. Soft lighting shaves years off faces and adds a dash of romance and even mystery to a setting. Subdued illumination might even be better for our health: A 2012 study by Cornell University found that people took in 18 percent fewer calories with the lights down low.

But zero-level lighting is a disservice to the artists whose food and drink diners can’t fully absorb. As more than a few good cooks have told me over the years, “people eat first with their eyes.” Yet this diner has left the table of too many restaurants and bars with only a faint picture of what they deliver.

The fine print used on some menus only exacerbates the problem. Waiters can’t be expected to run through the entire list by memory, and diners don’t want a word-for-word recitation.

Proper radiance can help restaurantgoers eat within theirmeans. At Mastro’s, only with the aid of my glasses, some squinting and a tilted lamp was I able to verify that a single glass of the 2012 Frank Family cabernet sauvignon cost $35.

I settled for something . . . lighter.

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.