There are food establishments that do business for the entire day, and there are also those that open only during the evening. For the former, they may choose to use the same menu for the entire day, or they can also use two different menus—one for serving lunch dishes and another for serving dinner dishes.
Some dishes and drinks are actually more fitting to eat during the evening, and these are the focus of dinner food menu design. If you are planning to make one yourself, we have an entire collection of dinner menu templates below that you can use and download, check them out now.
Elements of a Good Dinner Menu
1. Cover page:
A menu may or may not have a cover page, but if you want your menu to look formal, then it would be best to put a cover page since most dinner events have a formal theme. Other than that, a cover page can also help in setting the dinner mood and will provide the customers with an abstract idea of the business’ branding identity.
2. Branding identity:
Since the cover page simply provides small snippets of information regarding the restaurant, this element will inform customers who they are dealing with. In terms of branding identity, this element includes both the name of the business and their logo, if ever they have one. Additionally, the color scheme and typography are components of a brand’s identity and should be consistently used across all business marketing tools and materials.
3. List of items:
This list refers to all the dishes and beverages that are being offered by the restaurant to their customers. Whether you’re planning to include a lot of items on the menu or just a small number, it would be best to arrange them in categories in order for customers to easily find what they need.
4. Price list:
Since menus consist of a list of foods and drinks that are available in a food establishment, it should also reflect how much each item costs. This is mainly to inform customers of how much they will need to spend for that dish or beverage. But when writing this element, it is recommended not to include a currency sign since it tends to draw unwanted attention towards it.
5. Photos of products:
If you want your dinner menu to look less boring and more inviting to customers, then the best and easiest thing to do is to add images to it. But this doesn’t mean you can just use any image on your menu, it should be photos of the products being served in your restaurant. When adding images, you don’t have to add a photo for each of the menu item, and we will explain that further in the tips section.
6. Contact details:
In general, businesses should always be reachable by making their contact details visible to their customers. The same thing can be said with food establishments, their contact details should be found not only on business cards but also on all advertisement tools and menus. People can refer to this element if they need to reach out to the business to ask questions, make reservations, or order food.
7. Branch locations:
It is a common practice for food establishments to expand to different locations in order to reach more people, and in order to inform customers of the existence of these branches, you should indicate it on the menu. This element doesn’t need to be big, you may even place it at the back page of the menu, just make sure that it is visible enough.
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How to Create a Dinner Menu (9 Steps)
Step 1: Prepare a list of all the possible menu items.
The very first thing that you will need to do before you can actually start working on your menu design is working on the content. In food menus, its content is usually the food items that the business is selling.
Step 2: Create a sketch of your planned menu layout.
After planning the content on the menu, the next thing that you will need to plan is the design itself. To do this, you will need to make a sketch of the menu layout that you have in mind, be sure to keep this at hand during the whole process.
Step 3: Choose a menu size that’s manageable.
If you think the menu size is simply a preference, then you’re wrong. When creating a food menu, choose a size that you think is able to contain all the products without making it look cramped.
Step 4: Download a dinner menu template.
After all the necessary pre-planning stuff, you can finally work on the more technical steps, starting with downloading a menu template. By using a template, you can save yourself a lot of time because it already comes with an editable design.
Step 5: Edit the design on the menu template.
As mentioned earlier, templates are fully editable and will allow you to make as many modifications as you want without ruining the quality. During the editing phase, just make sure to use the appropriate editing tool.
Step 6: Add the menu items and its corresponding price.
Once the design on the template has been edited, you will then need to add its most important features, which is the list of menu items. And of course, after adding the product list, you should then add the price list as well.
Step 7: Rearrange the menu items according to sections.
After setting up the different lists on your dinner menu, you should try to make it as readable as you can for your customers. The best way that you can make your menu easy to read is by arranging the menu items into different sections.
Step 8: Proofread for any errors.
Before you can start printing out your menu, you will need to check the content for any misspelled words or grammatical errors. This task is called proofreading, and this should be done more than just once for the whole process.
Step 9: Print out copies of your dinner menu.
After proofreading and clearing the content from any errors, the only thing left for you to do is to have your menu design printed out. To ensure that your dinner menus turn out perfectly, you should use high-quality ink toners and paper or card stock.
Simple Tips for an Excellent Dinner Menu Layout
- Keep the menu clean and organized in such a way that it doesn’t divert the customer’s attention away from the more important elements.
- Don’t place currency symbols, it tends to make the customers more wary of their expenses.
- Organize your menu items into categories, and arrange the categories logically.
Types of Menus
1. À la carte menu:
The term à la carte is French for “according to the menu”, and this is the practice of ordering individual or separate items off a food menu. For this type of menu, the side dishes may or may not be included on the main dish.
2. Du jour menu:
The term du jour translates to “on the day”, which means that the product list for this type of food menu may change frequently. This type of menu is commonly seen on materials that allow users to erase and change its contents easily, e.g. chalkboard surface.
3. Prix fixe menu:
The French term prix fixe actually means “fixed price”, and while the menu offers multiple options, the customer will still be paying a fixed amount. People often confuse this with the table d’ hote, although there are actually a few differences between the two.
4. Table d’ hôte menu:
While the prix fixe menu type offers all their options at a single price, the table d’ hôte (translated to English as “the host’s table”) combines the main course with other courses such as the appetizer, desserts, etc. For this type of menu, additional charges may also be applied for the more expensive options.
5. Cycle menu:
The cycle menu is a type of menu that reuses or recycles their food items over a given time period. This type of menu is commonly used in school or office cafeterias, resort hotels, and some small food establishments.
6. Dessert menu:
The dessert menu is often seen as an optional type since some food establishments incorporate their list of sweets and treats on the main food menu itself. This is best for those who wish to have their list of desserts distinguishable from the other lists on the menu.
7. Beverage menu:
The beverage menu is simply a menu that consists mainly of the list of drinks that are being offered to customers. Just like the dessert menu, this one is also optional since you are always allowed to put your list of cocktails or other beverages on the main food menu.
Sizes of Menus
- 4.25″ x 11″
- 5.5″ x 15″
- 8.5″ x 11″
- 8.5″ x 14″
- 11″ x 17″
- 11″ x 25.5″
FAQs about Dinner Menus
How important are food menus?
They are important because aside from just providing a list of options, food menus also express the restaurant’s personality, while also promoting their profitability and keeps your restaurant’s image fresh.
What does it mean to plan a menu?
It means setting aside some time to figure out what needs or can be put on your dinner menu, and this is always the first step in the process of making your own food menu.
If you’re at this part of the article, it means that you have seen all templates and read through at least most of the guidelines that we have provided. Now, are you ready to start working on your dinner menus? You should be, we have already provided you with everything that you need to know.