Business owners in the food service industry have a great reusable marketing tool – a menu. However, many restaurant owners fail to effectively promote their food items by creating menus that are boring or even confusing. Psychologically, if a customer feels that the menu is bland, they will probably think the food will be the same way. Use your menu to spice up your food items and make them attractive to customers. A great menu will have a customer wanting to try one of everything. How can you spice up your menu to get more food items sold? 1. Design an Attractive Cover Most restaurant menus are four pages, either inserted in a laminated covering or simply one large folded cardstock. Make sure your first page, the cover page, is attractive and promotes your restaurant brand. Use a pleasant and coordinated color scheme. Put your logo prominently on the cover. Write your mission if you wish. Keeping your brand in customers’ minds is important for bringing them back. 2. Employ Sound Design Elements Many restaurant menus are too crowded or too small to read. This creates frustration for customers. You want to make sure your customers can easily scan your menu and find the items they are hungry for. Use plenty of white space between menu items. Make the menu item title bold, and use a short but descriptive text to describe the item. Avoid crowding your menu with too many items on one page. If you need to, create more pages so all your items are easily categorized and listed in a fashion that is easily read by the customer. 3. Create Clever Titles and Headings Most menus have headings like “Salads” and “Entrees.” Try something that makes your headings stand out like “From the Garden”, or “Chef Specialties.” Your item titles can be creative as well. A grilled cheese sandwich sounds much more appetizing as a “Cheesy Wisconsin Melt”. 4. Cleverly Place Higher Profit Items Knowing how your customers look at a printed menu can help you sell your higher profit items. If your menu has one fold, customers will likely look at the right side first. They will likely view the middle section first of a tri-folded menu. Keep the high-profit items at the top or bottom of a list. Strategic placement of these items can help increase your profits and sell more higher-priced items. 5. Use Images and Graphics Sparingly Images, photos, and graphics can help spice up your menu. Use photos only if you have a professional photographer create the image. A simple snapshot of a plate of food with too much flash look amateurish and does not stimulate an appetite. Try using icons for house specialty items or low-calorie items. Using images can help increase sales for specific items, but only if done properly and sparingly. Your menu is your last marketing tool to convince customers of your products. Use these design features and create a menu that will stimulate customers’ appetites and help make more sales.