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You and me, we all like to dine out. More than good food it’s the whole great experience or good vibe that makes it a memorable one.
While entering a restaurant, there are many elements which draw our attention. It may be the ambience, table arrangement, food presentation and many other things. One of the most important among them is a Menu Card. It is a great advertising tool that gives the guest an instant snapshot of the restaurant and the experience they are about to have. There is a saying that, ‘if you are trying to sell food, nothing is more important than the menu.‘ So, a clean and appealing menu is essential to communicate the restaurant brand.
However, in this digital era, where we use numerous food ordering apps, many of the restaurant table menus have not evolved much. Several times, you could have thought that a better-designed menu could save time and help you order food that fulfils your tastebuds. I had experiences where I was scanning through the menu and ended up asking for clarifications from the waiter about every dish I choose. I am sure this has happened to most of you.
Eventually, I started wondering what kind of changes in a menu card can bring about a better food ordering experience. After giving it some thought, I came up with some ideas which are discussed in detail below.
Keep the menu card ready on the table – Do not make the guest ask or wait for the menu.
Make the menu design match with the restaurant theme and atmosphere – The menu card should speak the restaurant brand. The font and colours should be carefully chosen in such a way that every person could read it. Remember to select bright colours especially if the restaurant theme is dark and dim-lit.
Neatly organised menu with proper titles for each section – It is crucial that the information architecture should be good enough that every dish is easily discoverable. If there are many sections, use icons or pictures to represent the same to avoid confusions.
Keep the essential elements first – The dish name and price are the critical fields which should be given utmost importance. Furthermore, if there are two different rates for a dish, say half or a full portion, make it evident enough.
Explain what the dish is – Describe the dish with its ingredients and cooking method, if possible. It could be helpful for those who are allergic or for those who are on a specific diet.
Pictures of the dishes – Photos of the dishes help create desire, answer most of the doubts, and set expectations for a high-quality experience. Prioritise the dishes as photos of all dishes cannot be kept. Remember, recognition is always better than recall.
Preparation time – Make this clear so that the guest could estimate the waiting time. If they are in a hurry, they could order food accordingly.
Taste of the dish – Knowing the primary flavour of the dish (Sweet, Sour, Spicy, Plain) would make the guests select their choice effortlessly.
Serving Portion – Indicating the serving portion can help reduce food wastage. If the dish suffices 1 or more persons, make it clear in the menu.
Bestsellers – It is crucial to focus on what is best and help the guests choose wisely. The menu must be regularly updated, and if possible, the best sellers have to be changed periodically. It helps to enhance the experience of regular customers.
Combo Options – For a guest who is confused about the best combination of dishes, this option would be a great help. Also, this helps promote signature dishes.
Apart from these ideas, what if we could scan a QR code in the menu which takes us to the restaurant screen in an app (say, Zomato) and we could see the preparation video of that particular dish. Sounds interesting, right?
I believe making these minor changes in the menu could increase the restaurant business and the number of returning guests.
What do you guys think about this? Do you have anything to add to the list? Let me know your thoughts.
About the author
Ambily is a design experience enthusiast who crafts delightful experiences for mobile/web interfaces to engage and empower users. Being a user-centred designer, she believes, empathy for the user and strong analytical skills can help you in providing the best design solutions. As an advocate of user experience, she genuinely considers UX as a sweet spot between business and technology.