Pricing

Solutions

Restaurant Types

Learn

Learn

Visit our hub to explore all types of videos, articles and resources.

Start Learning

How to Make a Holiday Menu Design With Examples (Free Template)

Debbie MillerAuthor

A well-designed holiday menu is an asset for any restaurant. It represents your brand and helps entice diners during one of the most festive times of the year. A standout holiday menu should appeal to a broad audience, mesh well with the restaurant’s cuisine, and maximize profits wherever possible.

Let’s explore the essential components of crafting a captivating holiday menu, both in the physical space of your restaurant and online. From menu design to pricing and descriptions, we’ll provide actionable insights to create a menu that appeals to both holiday diners and your bottom line.

TL;DR: This is everything you need to know to develop, engineer, and design your perfect holiday menu.

icon RESOURCE

Restaurant Menu Templates

Use these menu templates as a starting point for your menu design or to give your menus a refresh.

Toast

The Power of Good Restaurant Menu Design

Your menu is not merely a list of dishes; it’s an extension of your brand. Your restaurant brand is an essential part of how your guests perceive your business and feel during their dining experience. Plus, when you’re an establishment that offers varied holiday, lunch, and dinner options, you can really have fun and get creative with your branding.

Your holiday menu is a powerful tool that influences customer decisions and helps drive sales. Start with menu engineering – the art of strategically designing menus to increase sales and maximize profits. The goal? Harmonize costing and pricing information with your restaurant vibes and brand.

By understanding the psychology behind menu design, you can leverage the following categories to enhance your holiday menu:

  • Layout and Organization: Arrange your menu items in a logical and visually appealing manner, considering the flow of information and highlighting popular choices or specials.

  • Visual Cues: Utilize images and symbols to provide visual representation of menu items, making it easier for everyone to understand and choose their meals.

  • Descriptive Language: Craft compelling menu descriptions that highlight the unique features and benefits of each dish.

How to Make a Holiday Menu for Your Restaurant

Creating an engaging holiday menu requires attention to several key elements. Let's explore each step in the process:

Write Out All Menu Items

Start by taking note of every single item that will go on your menu. Then, home in on popular dishes that cater to more casual tastes. Think roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, glazed ham, yams, latkes, green beans, etc. 

Beyond your standard list of holiday-favorite food and drinks, are there any specials or deals you can include? Certain drinks or food items that are only available during the holidays? Be sure to also include a variety of options, like vegetarian or allergy-friendly choices. 

Categorize Menu Options

After you’ve narrowed down what you’ll offer, it’s time to assess how to best organize everything in your menu template. Group menu items into clear categories. "Main Courses," "Sides," "Beverages," and "Desserts" are basic examples to facilitate navigation.  

How will you make high-price items stand out to drive revenue? Will sides like bacon and sausage be included with waffles, or will they be separate? Will the most expensive dishes go first? A menu engineering worksheet can be super helpful in outlining categories.  

Set Menu Prices

A whopping 45% of diners go out to eat multiple times a week, with another 20% going out to eat once a week. How can you stay competitive and keep your loyal customers coming back? The key is to determine pricing that strikes a balance between affordability and profitability. Consider offering meal deals or combo options to incentivize ordering. 

A restaurant menu pricing strategy is critical for operators looking to be intentional about their profitability. You must keep tabs on consumer habits and wage trends, to name a few. Craft a menu strategy that ties into navigating inflation and protecting profitability

Create Menu Descriptions

When deciding how to position your offerings, put yourself in your customer’s shoes and imagine what would make dishes stand out to. Figure out how to present menu items in a way that feels aligned with your overall vibe. 

The best place to start? Craft concise and appealing descriptions for each item. Use language that evokes imagination and appetite. Highlight any unique features or ingredients that set your menu apart. 

For example, rather than just listing “mashed potatoes,” say “fluffy mashed potatoes seasoned with flavorful garlic herb seasoning.” Use descriptors that are vibrant and that diners can “taste.” You can also be quirky with your holiday to show personality and avoid generic verbiage.

Decide on a Menu Color Scheme 

Visuals also play a major role in menu design. Choose colors that resonate with children and reflect your brand identity. Consider brand colors as a starting point, then get creative from there. Chron’s The Psychology of Colors for Restaurant Designs is a great resource for exploring design options. 

Design your Holiday Menu

Design a visually appealing menu layout that is easy to read and navigate. Consider using playful fonts and graphics that align with your target audience. Colors can make a huge difference and allow you to lean into your restaurant’s brand.  

Not sure where to start? Check out our free menu templates for inspiration. There are lots of other tools and resources like Adobe Suite, Canva, or Pinterest that can help, too.

Think About Photos

Allowing your young customers to put a “face” to their food can be helpful. High-quality, appetizing food photos can entice diners to try new dishes. 

Include images strategically and ensure they accurately represent the menu items. Dive into menu design best practices that can be helpful for any establishment looking to deliver a top-tier menu.

Choose Menu Fonts, Spacing, Composition, and Layout

You have a color scheme, a general idea of how you want your menu items to be laid out on the page, and possibly a few photos you want to include. Now, it's time to put it all together to create a restaurant menu.

Use clear and legible fonts, appropriate spacing, and a balanced composition to enhance readability and create a cohesive visual experience. Test different menu layouts to determine the most effective one. 

For example, do your diners prefer a simpler menu or one with a more vibrant personality? Or a combination of both? Seek feedback from your staff, focus groups, or conduct A/B testing to optimize the design.

Proofread Your Menu

Thoroughly proofread the final menu for any errors or inconsistencies. One misplaced comma or small typo could change your guests' perception of the restaurant. 

Ensure that all menu items, descriptions, and prices are accurate and up to date. According to our Restaurant Success Report, 31% of restaurateurs update their menu on a monthly basis and 24% do it seasonally. Make sure your customers aren’t ordering from outdated menus since that can lead to disappointment and a poor customer experience.

icon RESOURCE

Menu Engineering Course

Take this course to make the most of your menu. Learn about menu psychology and design, managing your menu online, and adapting your menu to increase sales.

Toast

5 Great Holiday Menu Examples

Cohn Restaurant Group

Cohn Restaurant Group offers a variety of Christmas Dinner-to-go options from their various restaurants. Diners can choose a main course, three delicious starters, tree accompaniments, and a tasty pie for dessert. The menu is clean and straightforward, adorned in red and green.

Monell’s – Nashville, TN

Monell’s serves Christmas Day breakfast and lunch featuring numerous holiday favorites. Their menu is concise, a single-page, and very simple. The comical Santa and Rudolph appeal to kids, which makes sense since Christmas is typically a day people spend with their families. A candy-cane design lines the edge, too. In this case, Monell’s opted to steer away from a menu layout that ties into their branding and instead go with something fun and approachable.

Portofino’s Ristorante – Morristown, NJ

 For Portofino’s Ristorante, a more upscale eatery, it made more sense to craft a holiday menu that both spoke to the season as well as to the brand itself. Their Thanksgiving menus incorporate the brand’s signature browns along with blatant Thanksgiving imagery. The layout is clean with the text on one side brown down by category, and a single image on the left. 

O’Toole’s Restaurant & Pub – Albany, NY

While we typically associate the end of the year with the holiday season, there are several other holidays to consider, too. Valentine’s Day is another great holiday for which to craft a custom menu. O’Toole’s did just that – crafting a three-course, themed Valentine’s Day menu to appeal to adventurous couples looking for a romantic evening.­ 

Daily Grill – Multiple Locations

Easter is another holiday in which families often go out to eat. Daily Grill took advantage of this Spring holiday by incorporating floral colors and eggs into the overall design of their Easter menu. The menu is short and concise and offers seasonal favorites. The restaurant also address various dietary restrictions when displaying the food­­­­­ options, allowing them to appeal to a broad demographic.

***

Designing a captivating holiday menu goes beyond just listing food options. By incorporating effective menu engineering techniques and thoughtful design elements, you can create a menu that not only appeals to a wide audience but also represents your brand and drives profitability. 

Remember to regularly evaluate and update your holiday menu based on customer feedback and changing trends. Ensure it remains fresh, exciting, and relevant to diners and their families while they dine out during this exciting season.

icon RESOURCE

Restaurant Menu Templates

Use these menu templates as a starting point for your menu design or to give your menus a refresh.

Toast

Is this article helpful?

DISCLAIMER: This information is provided for general informational purposes only, and publication does not constitute an endorsement. Toast does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of any information, text, graphics, links, or other items contained within this content. Toast does not guarantee you will achieve any specific results if you follow any advice herein. It may be advisable for you to consult with a professional such as a lawyer, accountant, or business advisor for advice specific to your situation.