There is no doubt that the way a restaurant menu layout determines where a patron’s eyes go. The places their eyes want to look at should be the spot with your most popular menu items as well as items that have the highest profit margins, such as entrees chicken, pasta or appetizers noting seafood and steaks have the lowest.
Believe it or not, Menu engineers and other professionals in the psychology world have come up with a theory about how a customer views a restaurant menu layout — they call it the ‘Golden Triangle
What is the Golden Triangle?
The Golden Triangle, per restaurant menu layout engineers, is referred to as the three areas on your menu that a lot of people tend to look at first.
1. Top Left – This is where customers look after the middle and top right — It is not as important as the other two, so its best to put lower cost items, like appetizers there.
TIP: The menu should be set up in the order the food will be consumed starting with appetizers, then salads then entrees
2. Middle – Funny enough, most patrons tend to look at the middle of your restaurant menu first. Because of this menu designers tend to recommend restaurants put their specials and/or limited menu items right smack in the center.
3. Top Right – this is the 2nd most looked at place on a restaurant menu. This spot is best to put your main dishes or entrees
Deciding on the Layout of Your Restaurant Menu
Once you have a general understanding of how menu items should be placed, the next step is to figure out what dishes and menu items you want in the 3 areas of the golden triangle. Once you have decided that, you can then start to layout the rest of your restaurant menu sections.
When deciding on how to lay out your menu sections, take into consideration how many menu items you have as well if any of them can be grouped accordingly. A good example of this is looking at all of your main courses. Can they be broken down into smaller groups like salads and entrees? Can it be even more refined by separating it by type of protein (chicken, fish , beef etc.) each menu item is? When designing menu sections its best to be as specific as possible to let your customers find what they want easily.
It is also important to think about how many pages your restaurant menu is. Having too many may overwhelm your customers and make them lose focus – Best rule of thumb here is less is more
Most common restaurant menus usually have 2 pages and if laid out correctly, should provide you ample room to show your menu items without being overwhelming.
Restaurant Menu Layout Tips
1. Separate your desserts into a separate menu – Psychology studies have show that if your desserts are on the main menu, customers are less likely to buy an appetizer. Another benefit of separating the dessert menu is that you can leave it on the table for your guests to browse making them think about the final course of their meal – do the same thing with your Drink menu
2. Cater to your customers – for example if your restaurant offers a lot of vegan/vegetarian options, then create a special menu section for them, Doing this makes it easy for patrons with different diets to find the menu items they can eat.
3. Highlight special menu items – if you have limited time items or specific menu items you want to highlight draw a box or border around them. This will make special menu items stick out even more, making your customers eye look at it. Also, putting it in the middle of the menu helps to draw more attention too.
Following these tips and advice above will help you make the best possible menu for your restaurant. For more advice and tips, check out our sister site for More Restaurant Menu advice, tips and articles!