Tips for Building Your Restaurant Menu

Tips to Building Your Restaurant Menu

Looking to create the best menu for your new restaurant? Perfecting your menu is a major part of your market research and business plan. Take a look at our expert tips and guidance to make sure your menu sets the stage for success!

Check Out the Competition

Anyone with experience, including famed restaurant critic Gordon Ramsey, will tell you that one of your first steps in starting a restaurant should be to understand your restaurant’s new neighborhood. What’s already there, and what does the community have a need for? Ignoring these questions will start you off in a chaotic and questionable place when it comes to running your business. Do research in the neighborhood to figure out if something similar to your cuisine is prevalent in the area!

Make Your Menu A Manageable Size And Easy to Read

Tips to Building Your Restaurant Menu

Make sure your printed menu is easy to read, and more importantly, easy to navigate. Multi-page menus with confusing subtitles and descriptions are, so to speak, a recipe for disaster. Make a great menu to go with your inviting restaurant ambiance, and you’re starting off a step ahead.


Introducing versatility into your menu is also a best practice. Think about, for example, what happens if cooks have to 86 a particular ingredient, or diners want vegetarian or vegan options. Think about common food allergens, because if you don’t plan for this on the front end, your cooks and servers are likely to get unpleasant surprises later.

Use Correct Food Costs

You can get super-fancy with your restaurant food, but you might not make money if you’re spending more on food costs than selling your fancy cuisine. So one important approach to the menu is to make sure that food costs are adequately planned for, and that your profit margin is “baked in” (pun intended).

Keep it Simple

Tips to Building Your Restaurant Menu
Single Menu Cover, 8.5″ x 11″

Diners should be able to easily navigate the menu and make their decision. Some diners are indecisive. Help them out by having a simple, clear menu with a limited number of options according to what makes sense for your type of food.

Make Menu Items Easy to Prepare

When you’re putting together your menu – think of the chefs!

Skip the complex dishes with time-intensive sauces and components that will put your kitchen behind and potentially, make every shift a struggle for your team. Introduce some menu items that are easy to serve, so that your kitchen stays humming along quite well during table service.

Updating Your Menu

Even the best menu needs an update now and then. Don’t go too many years without reevaluating everything that you serve, and making changes as necessary.


As in any other kind of business communication, your printed menu needs to be grammatically accurate with good spelling. People don’t want to see “onnions” or “chiken tiks” on the menu. Make it well-written and easy to understand to wow the crowds.

Stay Within the Law

Finally, your menu should be fully legal. That means avoiding serving up delicacies that may involve endangered species, or not neglecting to inform diners about the dangers of shellfish.

With these time-tested tips, you can rest easy that your new restaurant is starting out on solid ground.