Top 10 Small Restaurant Menu Ideas

Most restaurants have the same old and conventional menu, which is 'just fine.' However, if you want to make your restaurant more successful, you need the best restaurant menu ideas for your small business to survive in the industry.

Here are the top 10 small restaurant menu ideas that will help your restaurant business soar.

  1. Include Every Dish or Beverage you Offer
  2. Design a Versatile Menu that Reflects your Brand
  3. Place Higher-Priced Items on Top
  4. List Seasonal-Only Items Separately
  5. Choose a Free Online Ordering System
  6. Keep your Menu Short and Sweet
  7. Add Updated and Accurate Descriptions
  8. Design a Visually Aesthetic Menu
  9. Use Delectable Pictures
  10. Don’t Replicate your Rival’s Menu Design

Now, let’s review these ideas and tips.

Top 10 Small Restaurant Menu Ideas

1. Include Every Dish or Beverage you Offer

List all your dishes so your guests can easily see what you offer. That’s a great idea for any new restaurant business because customers need to find out about the starters, main course items, desserts, and beverages your restaurant is offering.

Unless you are designing a tasting menu, list down all your dishes in different categories so your guests know what they can order, throughout the day.

2. Design a Versatile Menu that Reflects your Brand

Do you own a Chinese restaurant? Are you passionate about Thai food? Whether you are running a burger-joint or an oriental restaurant, make sure your menu reflects your cuisine style. Add your company logo and branding colors in your menu.

3. Place Higher-Priced Items on Top

This tip is not applicable to your tasting menu. However, follow this rule when you have numerous dishes that are roughly of the same price. Ideally, you want people to see the most expensive items early on in your menu so they can choose those first. That’s another great way to let them order something from the main course, instead of going for just an appetizer.

4. List Seasonal-Only Items Separately

Almost every restaurant offers some seasonal items, that are only available during certain times of the year. Make sure your menu has room for these dishes so your customers know that they can’t order something, which is out of season. That will save a lot of precious time and allow your customers to order more conveniently.

For example, don’t have a ‘Seafood’ section on your menu. Choose a few main seafood dishes, that are available all year round, for the main items. Leave the other seafood items for the ‘Seasonal Only’ section.

5. Choose a Free Online Ordering System

When you are trying to promote your small restaurant business, you must integrate it with the best online ordering system. As soon as your business takes off, you will need a comprehensive ordering system that comprises a wide range of features.

If you are looking for such an online system, Book My Order can help you in numerous ways. For example, you can:

  • create your menu with Book My Order for free
  • configure your online menu and start taking orders immediately

6. Keep your Menu Short and Sweet

Remember, your menu should not look like a book. Just make sure that your menu reflects the number of choices you offer. But don’t burden you customers with too much information. For example, if you're doing a tasting menu with ten different dishes, this might be too much to include on one menu.

Instead, categorize your offerings by food types or main courses. Make a seasonal menu of different dishes that you can change according to the weather!

7. Add Updated and Accurate Descriptions

Never list something that your restaurant no longer offers. For instance, if you recently made changes to your soup items, update your menu. Likewise, add any new ingredients or items that you’ve introduced recently.

One of the best small restaurant menu tips is to write inviting descriptions of your dishes. List the ingredients in an appealing manner so they can attract your customers. When adding pictures to the menu, make sure you take original photos of your dishes. There is one more thing to remember. Write accurate descriptions. For instance, don’t promote your items as gluten-free, if they contain flour.

8. Design a Visually Aesthetic Menu

People like looking at menus that are inviting and appealing. In addition to that, your menu must be versatile enough to hold everyone’s attention. When someone explores your restaurant menu for options for his family, he should be able to find something for everyone in the family, easily. Experiment with a few menu designs before you can settle for something that works with your customers.

9. Use Delectable Pictures

Use high-quality pictures of your menu items will impress your potential customers. In fact, the right pictures can make your conventional menu more unique. Again, add original photos and don’t rely on stock images to promote your restaurant.

10. Don’t Replicate your Rival’s Menu Design

Avoid copying a popular restaurant’s menu design and layout. Focus on what makes your restaurant business unique. Pay attention to elements like typography and logo colors. According to an interesting finding, omitting currency signs when creating your menu can encourage customers to order more items. List down all your sauteed dishes, grilled options, soups, baked goods, and salads. Generally, it's just a matter of recognizing what works best for your restaurant business and then using that as your guide.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many items should be on a small restaurant menu?

Gregg Rapp, a renowned consultant in the restaurant industry, reveals that listing more than seven items in a single category is a little too much for the customers. They will default back to what's familiar instead of exploring new options. So, keep your menu items under seven per category.

What is menu optimization?

Menu optimization is the process of improving your menu, consistently. That can mean several things. It could be about ensuring that your food costs are as low as possible. It could also mean recalculating portion sizes and prices to get the best margins on every item.

What are the types of a restaurant menu?

The five most common types of menus are a la carte, static Menu, du jour Menu, cycle menu, and fixed. Here is a brief description of these types.

A la carte

A la carte means that you can order anything off the extensive list without needing to order an entire meal, ahead of time.

Static Menu

Static Menu has set items for specific days. For example, Wednesday's lunch may always be chicken fajitas. Thursdays are for pork chops with lamb shanks in red wine sauce, etc.

Du Jour Menu

A Du Jour menu means that whatever items are in season will be available on the menu. That’s great news for both customers and chefs because it allows them to make use of fresh ingredients.

Cycle Menus

Cycle menus are a combination of static and du jour styles. Cycle menus have set items for lunch & dinner. However, they can change daily or every few days.

For example, you could have a set menu for lunch that offers a choice of soup/salad/sandwich on Monday. Then salad, sandwich and pasta dishes on Tuesday. And so on. That way your menu has something for everyone, every day.

Fixed Menus

Fixed menus have set items that never change. Like Chinese food or a buffet. Fixed menus are good for customers who want to enjoy their favorite meals, regularly.

Contact us for more Small Restaurant Menu Ideas

Follow our list of best small restaurant menu ideas if you want to know more about how you can spice your small restaurant business. But if you want to know about more ideas, don’t hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to help you with our hi-tech and efficient online ordering system.

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