After a long day of teaching food safe training classes and helping food service professionals obtain their food safety certification, we like to visit the local restaurants that many of our students represent. We often notice is that many of the restaurants we eat at seem to have incredible menu designs while others could use an adjustment or two to make them more presentable to their guests.
Food Safe Training and Menu Design
Menus not only let your guests know what dishes you offer, they have the potential to tell the story of your restaurant. We feel that a well-designed menu is like a well written novel. Your menu can display your personality, intrigue your diners and help you build a reputation. Here are some tips that we hope you find helpful when designing your next menu:
• Be clear but concise
• Be true to your theme
• Avoid clutter
• Have defined dish types
We have seen some menus that take meandering steps to describe each dish. That can confuse diners and cause them to scan over items with long descriptions. If you own a book store café or some other themed restaurant, you may take liberties here to fit your restaurant’s theme, but in many cases you will be best served to utilize simple descriptions. Many fine dining restaurants even skip the descriptions and simply list key components.
You also need to remember that it is important to be true to what you envision your theme to be. Use fonts, layouts and backgrounds that identify with your décor or the style of cuisine that you serve.
Finally, we’ve stepped into restaurants after a food safe training class and have been handed a convoluted menu with very little rhyme or reason. The fonts were elegant, the menu looked classy, but it took a while to find the type of dish that we were looking for. To avoid a cluttered menu, make sure that you group like items together. Have a section of burgers, maybe organize by food types, or even separate your dishes by the type of proteins involved. However you organize your menu, make sure that you take the time to assess whether or not it is organized in a logical and readable manner.
On a final note, with so many guests suffering from allergies and having special dietary needs, we suggest you consider finding a way to alert your guests if any item contains common allergens. We find it also helpful to see menus that identify vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options, and remember, if you serve any dishes that contain undercooked proteins or eggs, you must include a disclaimer somewhere on your menu.