How To Write a Creative Restaurant Menu: 5 Inspirations
Customer satisfaction for restaurateurs is more than just serving visitors with good food; you should polish the entire experience from their entry to exit. And one way you can make them feel fabulous is by having a creative restaurant menu.
Gone are the days when restaurant menus only listed meals and their prices; today, we find more interactive menus. So don’t wait for some hotshot food critic (Ratatouille’s Anton Ego) to visit your eatery before shaking things up a little. Instead, start now.
A Little on Restaurants and Writing
You may second-guess the importance of copywriting and narrative technique in a creative restaurant menu. Try to remember that your menu isn’t a simple “list” at all. If you’re not a national chain, your menu might be the first interaction a customer truly has with your brand and story, and as any marketer will tell you: modern marketing is about storytelling.
If you’re not confident in your writing skills, you needn’t worry. Freelance copy editors can ensure you’ve crossed your t’s and dotted your i’s. Another solution is a college essay writing service to help you infuse creativity into your menus. Sure, you might not be writing a 1500-word missive on sliced bread’s history, but you can still get some third-party creative stimulation and a guide for the grammar rules.
Before You Start a Creative Restaurant Menu
First off, you’ll need to have a general restaurant menu idea to decide the basics. Then, you can check online to see what others in your industry are using before proceeding. Also, consider the kind of restaurant you run — a simple cafe would need simple cafe menus, while a fancy restaurant menu will work best if you’re running a high-end establishment.
How to Write a Creative Restaurant Menu
Everyone in the hospitality business wants to provide the best services to their customers. Despite his steely exterior towards his staff, even Gordon Ramsey is sweet and gentle when addressing his diners. Nowadays, restaurant owners download apps, tweak menus, and go “off the book” to grow their eateries. So if you’ve been trying to rewrite your menu unsuccessfully, today’s your lucky day! This article will teach you how to dazzle your diners with the most creative menus they’ve seen.
1. Take Cues from Storybooks
You must have heard that “normal is boring,” so consider creating a playful menu. Design your menu as if it fell out of a Walt Disney’s pocket and into Neverland; when writing your menu, every section should have a line that leads the reader into an adventure. Use words that will make them feel like ordering more food to relive their childhood experiences. Using this approach will create a nostalgic feeling in your adult customers and keep little kids engaged.
You might consider storybook tropes and themes, like those in fairytales and themes, and corresponding those with the different sections of your menu. A traditional story consists of three parts: a beginning, middle, and end. You can construct your menu in the same way, guiding the menu’s narrative from the drinks and appetizers to the main course, ending with dessert. From Jack’s magic beans to Rapunzel’s glorious mane, you’ve got lots to work with when you mine the world of narrative fiction!
2. Show, Don’t Tell
People are less inclined to read than looking at images and videos, so compelling imagery is essential for your menu! A simple list of ingredients is one thing, but it hardly sets one’s imagination aflutter. Use designs, photos, and illustrations to create visually stunning, interactive menus that engage your customers. Combine modern graphics with unique ad copy and catchy food names, and proper food photography techniques for the best result.
If you can, invest in digital platforms, AR, or mobile apps that customers can download and use anywhere. Then, take a cue from Pizza Hut’s menu and create an engaging experience for your diners.
3. Strike the Funny Bone!
Humor and wordplay can make you stand out. Some menus rely on a unique voice or snarky tone to sell you on their dishes. It’s a fun one, but always use a pinch of salt — pun intended.
Using humor on a restaurant menu is refreshing. It cuts through the noise of traditional menu verbiage and sells your meals from a different angle. In some cases, menus might employ regionally specific tones and terms to further entice your customers with a dish. Try making your customers chuckle while ordering, and you may buy their loyalty.
4. Make Visitors Feel at Home
Write your restaurant menu with terms that your customers regularly use around their homes. Sometimes, you may ditch the sophisticated language for simple, everyday words. Depending on the origins of the meals you serve, you can even use ethnic terms to which locals can relate. Remember to do your research here.
Another approach to this idea is using words like “Nana,” “Mum,” “Ma’s,” “Mama’s,” etc., in your restaurant menu. Those names are associated with warm feelings and homemade food. Also, consider the vocabulary that southern-style eateries use in their menus and branding. So writing “Nana’s sweet apple pie” instead of “Apple pie” will certainly pluck at your customer’s tastebuds. Finally, though customers know that you’re making the food onsite, the subtle hearkening back to a relative’s home cooking can move the proverbial needle from “considering” to “check, please!”
5. Call on the Power of Exotic Locations
Some people may never travel to Italy, but you can take their imaginations and taste buds abroad by infusing exotic destinations into your creative restaurant menu.
If your dish features an exclusive ingredient or preparation, be specific in how you describe it. Try using terms like “Rice and shredded beef in Italian gravy” to appeal to tourists and locals with Italian heritage. When using locations, make every dish sound exotic so that diners might momentarily forget your chefs prepared it in the kitchen, onsite, for them!
Creative Restaurant Menus Final thoughts
When starting a restaurant, many don’t give enough thought to their menus or the design. Instead, most would quickly use a template online because they feel that the food and ambiance are all they need to worry about. But this guide reminds us that customers interact with menus before foods. And if you are to give them an unforgettable experience in a restaurant, you should get creative with your menu using the five techniques discussed above.
Want to get the scoop on everything restaurant tech, marketing, industry news, and more? We got you covered. Subscribe to our award-winning blog to get weekly updates on the most buzzworthy restaurant industry topics.
About the Author
Amanda Dudley is a lecturer and a writer with a Ph.D. from Stanford University. She loves teaching, studying and helping children with disabilities learn. When she isn’t doing any of that, she works at EssayUSA providing stellar essay writing services for clients.