July 20, 2023
Devn Ratz

How to Make a Menu: 8 Steps to Improve On-Premise and Online Ordering

How to make a menu is an excellent concern for maximizing restaurant profits. Menus aren't merely lists of ingredients or dishes.

Instead, each menu design decision steers customers and stimulates revenue—for better or worse, on-site and online. The effort you expend to create an effective menu template will often decide your business’ sales. 

As restaurants try to invest more into understanding customer profiles, shaping a menu format to match is not always simple. There’s great advantage in positioning high-profit dishes, directing attention, and showing unique value. Restaurants also sell more with cloud POS data to clarify menu design needs. It will encourage ease while nudging guests to explore the full range on offer. 

Competitive, tech-savvy restaurants lean into integrated POS data and business intelligence dashboards for more detailed insights into your custom menu. So, grab the extra edge through strong restaurant analytics before making consumer psychology and human behavior work for your business.

Keep menus fresh, responsive, and highly favored with our data on the best restaurant menu design strategies below.

Key Takeaway: Knowing clearly how to make a menu demands data, POS integration, and careful reporting on consumer behavior, the very backbone of your restaurant's success. 
Revolution Ordering's software demos show how POS data can fuel menu design at the enterprise level.

8 Steps for Enterprise: How to Make a Menu for Restaurants

Crafting an effective menu for large-scale restaurant operations requires strategy. For most players in the food service industry, it is also a sensitive art. 

Balance customer preferences, profitability, and branding demands through our customer data. Get online ordering intelligence, and add these eight best techniques to increase order volumes and averages.

1. Gather all menu items.

Creating a restaurant menu for enterprises begins with listing all the dishes proposed for sale. Harness ordering software that integrates POS data, enabling informed decision-making to rely on data about which items are most strategic to sell. 

In this phase, you can use standard tools like Excel or Sheets. You’ll find more advanced menu features in online ordering tech for restaurants that offer business intelligence, including one-stop dashboards. Both are critical for the future of restaurants with multiple locations. They each aid your consistency with changing markets through easily updated online menu designs.

2. Arrange items into groups.

Categorize your menu in the second step. Break every area down into segments such as breakfast, starters, main dishes, and beverages—or vegan, gluten-free, etc. 

These divisions help you pick which mainstay items or seasonal food selections to improve, omit, or add. As an enterprise location or business, prioritize the items you know will perform based on sales data and customer preferences. You’ll get this intel from restaurant point-of-sale (POS) systems, firing across all locations into a seamless integration.

Overall, attempt a balance between your customers’ favorites and those high-profit dishes stakeholders adore. Increase restaurant sales and improve customer satisfaction through real-time data better for menu management.

3. Set pricing with care.

After sorting and sifting menu items, consider your pricing. For multi-location food brands, this means optimizing to balance profits with satisfaction rates. You’ll definitely want to look at food service KPIs like customer acquisition, restaurant retention, and food cost reduction.

  • Research your market. Understand competitors, and their most attractive pricing, recipes, and customer demographics. This can assist you in seeing what customers will pay across locations, customer dining experiences, and restaurant types.
  • Calculate every cost. Review ingredients, labor costs, overhead expenses, and overall food costs to ensure profitability is more than a short percentage.
  • Test unusual pricing. Trying odd or unexpected pricing for your food can influence how customers see the brand’s value. Lose the dollar signs to attract more customers to your restaurant items.
  • Adjust menus regularly. Hold an event, soft opening, or mine your restaurant sales data and customer feedback surveys to make pricing decisions. Revise and adjust your design, descriptions, or pricing based on trends, demand, and profitability needs.
  • Stay competitively informed. Business intelligence shows the highest and lowest-performing foods for you to modify as needed. Menu engineering through such integrated delivery software captures and channels useful sales data from every location.

4. Enrich menu item descriptions.

Describing dishes challenges even the greatest, largest restaurant chains. Collaborate with chefs and technology to get the right words for every item. 

When writing a menu, keep it concise: use action verbs, story-driven descriptions, and customer-centric details. As you revise and rewrite, always aim to intrigue customers by spotlighting special qualities, treasured ingredients, and flavor profiles. 

Storytelling in your descriptions will share your recipe's origin or its preparation technique. You’ll foster a quick connection with customers this way. In chain restaurants or hotels, narrative helps build brand identity and makes dining more appealing, consistent, and lucrative.

Discover the science of restaurant menu design in a free guide for managers, owners, and even servers.

5. Select colors for stimulation.

Whatever you do—guarantee that every hue and color choice aligns with your restaurant's brand identity as well as its flavor of interior design and on-site dining. Color massively changes customer perspectives, and every restaurant owner should know the usual effects of each color scheme. Mind these shades when analyzing your menu for higher sales and satisfaction:

  • Red stimulates appetite and boosts brand recognition.
  • Yellow, so common in fruit, signifies freshness and warmth.
  • Green suggests health and vitality, perfect for the plant-based.
  • Blue adds calm, relaxed vibes for upscale eating establishments.
  • Orange connects us with nutrition and strength, adding to appetites.
  • Brown creates a warm overall atmosphere, suitable for traditional fare.
  • Black shows us the air of elegance, adding exclusivity to high-end places.

6. Try template menu designs.

Speed through drafting your menu and selecting colors through digital menu ordering and menu management software. Through templates, or specific development, online ordering tools enable almost-instant creation, change, and coordination of your mobile menus across all platforms possible. 

To simplify the process of how to make a menu (and maintain it), schedule a custom software demo.

7. Balance graphics, fonts, etc.

When picking fonts for their best sales tool, highly strategic brands will critically review their design against well-known principles for how to make a menu:

  • Prefer easy scripts like Times, Bodoni, or Helvetica.
  • Limit font changes on pages to two clean-and-clear typefaces.
  • Match the style with your restaurant branding and personality.
  • Adjust your size on titles and text to highlight items and manage length.
  • Use rich styles like bold to spotlight sustainable recipes or signature specials. 

Clear communication through conscious design decisions will push your menu's appeal when you finally place it in your customers’ hands (or phones).

8. Choose a customer-centric layout.

A customer-centric menu isn't only about aesthetics and appearances. It should guide customer choices and propel improved dining experiences. These rules of thumb offer efficient help for how to make a menu to sell more orders for restaurants:

  • Watch the eyes. Customers look to the top right and then the top-most left side first when usually receiving a menu. High-profit, signature dishes look best in these high-heat areas.
  • Target different needs. Categories like appetizers, mains, desserts, and beverages ease navigation to support specific customers, especially in vegan menus or gluten-free lists.
  • Keep marketing alive. Boxed, bright, or bold spotlights make cost-saving foods stand out, supporting profit management. It’s also a quick restaurant sustainability solution.
  • Match your mood. Fast-casual chains emphasize quick-prep eats. Meanwhile, fine dining shows up for delicacy. Every restaurant serves a menu: make yours add to the moment.
  •  Include few images. Opt for rare, high-quality images when necessary. Avoid clutter. Many brands prefer graphics or icons to mark vegetarian, gluten-free, and distinct dishes.
  • Respond to results. Use real sales data or actual customer survey feedback for more profitable recipe selection and positioning.

Customer-centric menu layouts hit somewhere between customer psychology, brand objectives, business goals, and menu design principles. You’ll succeed in how to make a menu and motivating more sales when business intelligence is a key restaurant strategy. 

Find out how to leverage POS data in our proprietary tech for custom restaurant menus based on customer order histories.

Frequently Asked Questions About How to Make a Menu

Do you want to master the art of menu creation? Our FAQ explores how to make a menu effectively in the fewest possible words. Dive into careful planning and insightful design with these tips for a sales-ready menu. 

Get insight about helpful restaurant technology for menus like Revolution Ordering, BlueCart, and BinWise to streamline the menu-making process.

What is the first step to planning a menu?

The primary step in planning a menu is looking at what's already in your pantries, fridges, overstock, and freezers. List all the staples you have and identify those items that should be used quickly. Based on these peak needs in inventory, create your item list.

Menu planning based on available and time-sensitive resources saves your restaurant’s revenue when fewer foods are lost by cutting food waste. You can also reduce restaurant carbon impacts across locations through sustainable practices such as an “online-only menu.”

What makes the perfect menu for restaurants?

The secret to a high-performing menu is conscious menu design and management. Overall, an organized, clean menu makes the most lasting impact. The key to focus on easy, legible fonts and sections. Avoid using many styles, and always emphasize readability over appearance. The ideal menu balances appeal and effortlessness.

How do you make a menu step-by-step?

In deciding how to make a menu, restaurant owners begin with a list of every dish for offer. They base these initial decisions on ordering trends and sustainability values in the market. Then, they categorize according to their appeal with distinct customer desires. 

As you list, design, and organize, set prices for each item in a polite, small font. Spruce up compelling, mouth-watering descriptions with enticing adjectives and ingredient lists. Once you’ve chosen a color scheme, you’ll lay out the menu with logos, photos, graphics, and spacing as needed.

Is there an app to make a restaurant menu?

To streamline the task of how to make a menu, aim for food tech that updates simply across platforms and steals customers through optimized menus. Revolution Ordering, for example, uses seamless POS integration to enable professional appeal on instantly updated, custom menus. 

Use restaurant POS and ordering integration with user-friendly features to bring maximum sales through more strategic menus. Connecting with third-party delivery services and POS systems can help you build, update, and publish in few clicks.

Get all the resources you need to create an award-winning menu from Revolution.