How to Open a Restaurant | Menu Design Pt.2

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October 2, 2022
Letter cubes portraying menu word

Welcome back to part two of our two part feature on menu design for your restaurant.
If you've ever wondered how to open a restaurant, you’ll find that menu design is a crucial element that cannot be overlooked. If you’re not sure where to start, we’re here to lend you a helping hand. The art of crafting the perfect restaurant menu design should not be taken lightly.

If you haven't already, be sure togo back and read part one in our series. Without further adieu, here is part two! 

How much does it cost to create a restaurant menu?

When it comes to breaking down the costs of restaurant menu creation, it varies greatly. Factors such as the style of your restaurant, the size, and the location will impact your prices greatly. While some of the work can be outsourced to freelancers at lower rates, there are other costs that you should not  cheap out on, such as menu design and printing, not to mention the advice of your head chef.

Head Chefs

You can’t design a menu without the help of a head chef.  As you can imagine, finding a quality chef will come at a cost. The average salary of a head chef can range anywhere from $57,000 to $110,000. Certain factors will impact their pay, including their previous experience, the size of your restaurant, and its style of dining. 

Menu Design

While you can try to tackle the menu design on your own, it’s not best recommended. Since your menu needs to be an outlet of your restaurant’s overall message, it’s worth bringing in the professionals. Restaurant menu design can cost you anywhere from $500 to $600 per design.

Printing Menus

Depending on the intricacy, printed menus can cost anywhere from $5 to $300 each from your local print shop. As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to order 1.5x the number of seats in your restaurants. So in a 200-seat restaurant, your costs are looking at around $90,000 for printing. And you’ll need periodic replacement printing as well.

What is a menu concept?

The menu concept of a restaurant is essentially the main product line on the menu. For example, hamburgers, sushi, or Italian food are all examples of menu concepts. It’s crucial to develop a menu concept early on in the restaurant menu design process to help define your style, ambience, and decor within your restaurant.

If you’re feeling stuck or unsure about where your focus should be, ask yourself what you want to be known for. Then, try to figure out highlights of what will make your restaurant stand out from the others. After all, the goal is to gain the attention of local diners and pull them away from their trusted favorites?

food alert

How should I choose ingredients for my restaurant menu?

The ingredients your menu showcases should exhibit as many essential features as possible to maximize business, profits, and the dining experience. Aside from being aesthetically pleasing to look at, here are a few other factors you should consider for your ingredients.


Undoubtedly, the pricing of ingredients will be a big factor in what you use for your dishes. Even more so, though, will be the consistency of pricing of particular components. Especially with locally sourced ingredients, you might find that some prices skyrocket during certain times of the year. Fluctuating prices can make it incredibly difficult for you to budget for the year.


Whether your restaurant will be fine dining or fast food, guests will always expect high-quality ingredients in their meals. To ensure safety and satisfaction, always make sure that you use the highest quality ingredients available to you.


You want to be able to provide your guests with a timeless dining experience which means having your core ingredients available all year round. While it’s great to work with local vendors and seasonal items, the staple items will need to be available consistently.


Not only do you want to have ingredients that are in high demand, but also unique. Remember that having originality in your menu will help differentiate you from your competitors. Don’t be afraid to stand out! It’s what will get you noticed. And it all starts with the ingredients you source.


You don’t want to forget about the shelf life of your core ingredients. While you want them to be as fresh as possible, you ideally want to find products that can be easily stored without any special requirements.

Consistent Prep and Cook Times

In order to provide your guests with quality they can rely on each time they dine with you, you’ll want to ensure that your core ingredients offer consistent prep and cook times.

How do I decide what should go on the restaurant menu?

If you’re still having a hard time narrowing down your options, here are a few things you should know about restaurant menus that should help you decide:

  • Take a look at your competitors’ menus
  • Keep your menu at a manageable size
  • Make sure your menu is an easy read
  • Analyze the psychology behind menu design
  • Consider creative writing
  • Provide versatility in your menu
  • Double-check your food costs
  • Keep things simple
  • Preparation should be quick and easy
  • Stay legal
  • Proofread before you print
  • Know when to update
  • Have an idea of when to offer special menus

What (in a nutshell) is menu design?

Menu design should help to portray your restaurant’s personality while promoting its profitability, focusing your operation, and establishing your budget. Ultimately, the menu design needs to create an impression with your diners that will stay with them long after they leave your restaurant.

What are different types of menu design?

While there are countless types of menu design, there are five that are most commonly found in restaurants: 

  • Fixed menus
  • Cycle menus
  • Du jour menus
  • Static menus
  • A la carte menus

How do I create a menu design?

It’s important to note that menu design begins with the menu itself but, beyond the items listed, there are a few tips you can follow:

  • Be mindful of natural eye movement
  • Utilize your spacing aesthetically
  • Use visual direction via color and boxes
  • Consider dropping the dollar sign $
  • Minimize the amount of choice by limiting menu offerings
  • Use highly descriptive language
  • Add high-quality photos
  • Keep all of the senses in mind

restaurant chef

How can menu design increase customer spending?

Menu design is a powerful sales tool for restaurants that can help increase customer spending. Here are a few of the most frequently used tactics:

  • Placing expensive menu items at the top 
  • Less is more in terms of menu offerings
  • Visual descriptions of food help it sell better
  • Monetize off your second cheapest menu item


As you can see, for anyone wondering how to open a restaurant, the restaurant menu design is a crucial element. Whether you’re looking for a quick refresh or starting from scratch, follow these tips and tricks to set yourself up for success!

While your here, if you are opening a new restaurant, you are going to need to hire some new staff! Be sure to check out our hiring guide below to help get you on the right track!

how to open a restaurant

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August 2021


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