When you’re thinking about menu design for your restaurant, there are many considerations you must keep in mind. Menu design is not only about getting diners into your restaurant. It’s also about upselling or selling them as much as possible once they’ve been seated. Because of this, your menu design is incredibly important to your marketing plan. It is also an important aspect of building brand recognition for you.

A well-designed menu doesn’t just sell; it’s easy to ready and navigate. When looking through the sample menu templates, keep in mind that your menu should be well organized and tantalizing. This is true for new restaurants as well as existing ones. We have several free menu templates for you to download and adapt for your own purposes

Restaurant Menu Templates

Choose your menu template wisely by taking the time to consider the following aspects of your design before you send it to the printer:

  • Is the Menu Design Relevant to Your Restaurant Concept? Restaurant menus should be designed around your brand and be an extension of your décor or restaurant theme. Just like your restaurant relies on unique artwork to create a setting, so should your menu. There are many ways to make your menu stand out. Consider including artwork, sophisticated fonts, and using color to make things stand out.
  • Where Will Your Menus Be Available? Some restaurants will print out small versions of menus that are handed directly to diners or sent via the mail. More upscale restaurants will have their menu framed and available for viewing for passerbies to view. Make sure that the restaurant menu templates that you use can be made to fulfill all of their purposes.
  • Does the Layout Fit Your Purposes? Lay out the menu in section that is most convenient for customers. List things in order of course – for example, start with drinks and appetizers, and end the menu with desserts.
  • Will Your Description Be Given Justice? Will there be enough space to describe the dishes in a way that tempts the readers. Information on how it is prepped and served, as well as inspiration behind the dish, will often be needed.
  • Have You Included Background Information, Too? A restaurant menu should not only include details of your food, it should also help describe the setting and background of your restaurant. You might do this by profiling the chef or the owner, giving history on the location, or other information on the background of your restaurant.
  • Don’t Forget the Basic Information! When writing up a restaurant menu, don’t forget to include your business hours, address, website and phone number. Many people who come to your restaurant will save the menu as a memento of the occasion. So make sure that there is a prominent place for this information


When you write up the descriptions of your various dishes, you’ll describe each dish on your menu in a few sentences. Try to make these descriptions short, descriptive and enticing while outlining all of the main ingredients at the same time. You could also let the diner know how the dish is prepared or how it is presented. Often, it is a good idea to hire a professional copywriter or food writer to describe your menu item. They will know how to present your dishes in a sensory manner and explain the way your dishes are prepared in a thorough, yet brief, manner.

Using Your Free Menu Templates to Update a Menu

If you don’t have a menu that is newly printed each week, then you should still make room for changes to your menu every six months or so. A restaurant owner can track sales to identify which dishes do best and those that don’t sell often. You may want to replace poorly selling dishes with something new or seasonal. Feature your bestseller prominently and try rotating new dishes to see how they sell before they’re written in stone.

Make Sure Your Restaurant Menu is Accurate and Representative of Your Brand

When putting your menu together, you should make sure that it represents the best of your restaurant, and take special care not to misrepresent any dishes on your menu. If you provide photos of your dishes, they should look as close to the real life dish as possible. Makes sure that all your claims about portion sizes, ingredients, style of cooking or ingredients are accurate. Make sure you list any common allergens such as shellfish and nuts.

Take the time to proofread and edit for clarity. Ask a coworker to take a look at it for any errors. Not only do you want to look out for spelling mistakes, pricing errors should also be watched for. Make sure that you take your time in getting the final draft to the printer and


Menu Designs

There are plenty of free menu templates on this page to help you get started. Any of our menu design templates may be the right one for you, so please feel free to download them all. But what is a template without its content? The templates can give you some great examples and ideas for your menu. When it comes down to design, don’t skimp on the final product. Your menu should be cleanly organized and professional. It should be something that you’re proud to show every food critic or Yelp reviewer that walks through your front door.


You may want to hire professionals for portions of your menu design. For example, if you plan to have photos of each dish, hiring a photographer can help get the lighting just right to be printed on your menu. If you can’t take photos that accurately represent your dish, it is better to just leave spaces white or blank. Don’t ruin your menu with poor images.  If you want your menus to last more than a few days, you may want to laminate them. This is ideal for a restaurant that doesn’t change their menu often, or serves a lot of families with children. Lamination will make your menus durable. If you offer a kids meal that is separate from the adult menu, it will save you a lot of money to laminate it.

How Should a Takeout Menu Design Be Formatted?

Many restaurateurs have a different menu style for people who order take-out food. Changing design isn’t always necessary, however, you may want to add some space for bells and whistles that come alone with your takeout menu.  In terms of printing costs and turnaround, it will be most cost-effective for your takeout menu to stay as close to the dine-in format as possible. When you take your menu to the printer, it will typically be a digital file. You should have a file for the dine-in version as well as the takeout version of your menu.

Here are some menu design considerations for take-outs:

  • Have you left space to add coupons? If you add coupons, the best area to place them would be on the right hand side of the page as it faces you. Studies show that’s where the eye is draw when surveying a piece of paper. When you add coupons, the length of the paper will be increased to accommodate them
  • Place higher priced dishes and specials strategically on the menu. It doesn’t matter if your menu is bi-fold or tri-fold, you will need to make sure that your specials and your most lavish dishes are given proper consideration. Specials should be placed on the same page as the coupons, while your pricier dishes should be displayed at the top of the entrée list. Consider highlighting them further by labeling them “Chef’s pick” or something similar.
  • When making your takeout menu, keep folds in mind. For many restaurants, a takeout menu is also used for direct mailing to local residences. With this in mind, you should make sure that the free menu template you choose for your takeout or delivery orders can be considered standardized for mail. Usually, a trifold template will be used for takeout and delivery menus.
  • What’s a standard menu format? Usually, when you open up a trifold menu and look inside, you’ll find a neat and tidy arrangement of dining choices. Inside, the three panels function as columns. On the other side, dishes and special that need highlighting will remain on top. When stapled shut, the address will be on the middle outside panel. This should be where you leave room for any coupons or specials.


Restaurant Menu Template Design Aspects to Consider

We have several examples on this page of restaurant menu templates that are yours for the taking. Don’t be afraid to be creative and make several versions of your menu to have your staff look at and voice their opinions. After all, your team knows your brand as well as your customers. Here are some other ideas you may want to consider:

  • Restaurant Menu Flyers: Ideal for takeout, direct mail distribution, and door-to-door handout, a menu flyer should be done as professionally as possible. Your takeout menu can be printed on blank white paper, or colored paper. A flyer menu can be glossy and multicolored. The main thing about this type of menu is to get the attention of the reader, and make them hungry. If you’re giving out menu flyers, make sure that you have adequate descriptions of each menu item. Or, even better, make sure you have illustrations of some of the offerings.
  • Restaurant Menus: Menus used inside the restaurant are usually a larger than takeout menus. They should be easy to read and printed on tough paper that can handle plenty of wear-and-tear.
  • Restaurant Coupons: Your fliers or menus are not the only way to handout coupons to potential customers. Often you can create a whole flier around a set of coupon offerings. If you have coupons printed, it’s a great idea to hand them out wherever you go. Coupons are a great way to tempt customers into trying out your restaurant for the first time.

5 Tips to Make Your Menu More Tempting and User-Friendly

So, you’ve choose the perfect menu out of your selection of free menu templates, and you’re getting ready to sit down and plan your menu. How can you make sure that your menu isn’t overkill? How can you get the most out of your menu?

  • Consider using numbers for each dish. If you are selling a menu full of unfamiliar cuisine, or difficult-to-pronounce dishes, the best way to help your customers place an accurate order is to number each dish. This is especially true if you sell ethnic foods or have a long list of choices. Keep it simple for everyone by referring to each dish by its number instead of just its name.
  • Offer a variety of prices. Some people will go for moderately priced food, while others will go for the cheapest thing on the menu. Make sure you have a lot of variety in the prices. This will help you attract large dine-in parties, too. Varying prices help keep family outings affordable to everyone.
  • Offer sandwiches and soups. These types of items are often inexpensive and quick to make, and can satisfy a variety of palettes.
  • Be sensitive to special diets. There are a lot of people dining out there that have special dietary needs for health reasons. You may not even think about it, but many of your menu items are likely to appeal to food-sensitive eaters. For example, many soups can be offered on the menu as a gluten-free food. The same can technically go for your steak, too, as long as you’re not using a sauce that contains flour. Heart-healthy foods include whole grains, vegetables, and of course, salads. Don’t forget to let your readers know about these types of options.

Designing your menu can be fun, and the end-result can be profitable. We have plenty of free restaurant menu templates on this page that should help get you get started. Pay attention to feedback from coworkers, family and friends. Be open to suggestion. Your menu is the most important first impression; so take your time with it. With a great menu, you’ll open new doors to increased customers and monetary success.

TemplateLab May 3rd, 2019