How do you design a breakfast menu?
Designing menus and graphics in-house is a great way to save, but hiring a designer streamlines the process. If you decide to do do-it-yourself, use design software like Adobe Creative Suite, Canva, or Powerpoint to create designs with a professional finish.
Whether doing it yourself or working with a designer, keep these design best practices in mind. Our breakfast menu templates can help you to get started.
How to Create a Breakfast Menu
Having breakfast at a restaurant always feels like an occasion, and the menu is part of the experience. Menus streamline the customer service process and are powerful sales tools for service staff.
Design your breakfast menus using our 10-step process. And, you can utilize our free, customizable breakfast menu templates for an even bigger head start.
The Power of Good Menu Design
Breakfast menus really have to speak to customers – especially if they are making decisions before they’ve had coffee. Menu design missteps can hurt your restaurant’s sales and profitability.
The breakfast menu will guide your guests through their dining experience and help them decide what best suits their tastes. It also acts as a sales tool for service staff.
Keep your brand’s unique look at the center of each page of the menu. For inspiration, use our templates, worksheets, and guides to create menus that drive a cohesive, memorable guest experience.
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.
How to Make a Breakfast Menu
Create a breakfast menu that captures the spirit of your restaurant. This requires a little skill and a lot of careful decision-making. Our 10-step guide will help you to build a breakfast menu from the ground up and give you some insight into working with a designer.
For an even bigger head start, you can apply these steps to our customizable breakfast menu templates.
1. Write Out All Menu Items
Spreadsheets are great organizational tools – your breakfast menu journey starts with a spreadsheet that organizes information about your breakfast menu items. Use Excel, Google Sheets, or your favorite program to list out all the dishes, sides, and drinks that you offer for breakfast.
Create columns in the spreadsheet for the names, costs, and descriptions of each menu item, along with any other information you want to keep handy. Google Sheets autosaves your work, and you can copy/paste the text into your menu designs. Use our template to get started, and don’t forget to download a copy of your work for your records.
2. Categorize Menu items
While you fill out your spreadsheet, categorize the menu items that you will list together. Categories help guests navigate the menu and easily find their favorites.
Platters, omelets, pancakes, sandwiches, sides, etc. should all get a category.
Sometimes, it’s best not to overwhelm customers with options. When deciding on the final menu, consider limiting the items in each category to three to seven items.
As a basic rule, you can draw guests’ attention to a menu item by listing it first in a category. Reserve that first spot for items that you want to sell – those with the largest profit margin. Our menu engineering worksheet can help in this process.
3. Set Menu Prices
Setting menu prices is complex and warrants a deep dive into the world of food costs. As a restauranteur or stakeholder, take the time to understand how to price breakfast menu items. Here are a few general things to consider when setting menu prices:
To set prices for the first time, balance the price of labor, ingredients, and supplies to determine the selling cost of each dish. Do market research and compare prices to get an idea of what local customers are used to paying for similar items.
Sometimes, you have to raise menu prices to provide staff with better pay or benefits. Use some of your menu space to let guests know that the small price increase supports their favorite workers.
Finally, use your restaurant’s sales data, history, inventory, labor costs, and the local economy to make pricing decisions. Our menu engineering course can help new and veteran chefs and restauranteurs alike to use data when pricing menu items. Learn more about creating a menu pricing strategy here.
4. Create Menu Descriptions
Breakfast is a time to get creative with ingredients and flavors. Entice your customers to try your chef’s creations with detailed menu descriptions. Use precise, clear language and choose adjectives to describe flavor and texture that appeal to the senses – sweet, soft, light, fresh, and fluffy are good options.
Consider how first-time customers will interact with your breakfast menu. It’s necessary to include some information to make your menu friendly to all customers. Label items with major ingredients and allergens.
5. Decide on a Menu Color Scheme
Here comes the fun stuff–making design decisions. The next steps involve choosing colors, designs, and layouts for your breakfast menus.
Once your spreadsheet is all filled in, start to think about how colors, photos, and fonts will appeal to your guests. Choose a color scheme that is memorable without being overwhelming or hard to read.
Colors affect how people feel about your restaurant, as this Chron article on the psychology of restaurant colors shows. Here are a few color resources that designers love:
The Ultimate Guide to Restaurant Branding
Use this guide to get tips on how to create a restaurant brand that stands out, attracts customers, and drives repeat visits.
6. Design your Breakfast Menu
The design of your breakfast menus should keep your brand front and center. Designing menus and graphics in-house is a great way to save, but hiring a designer streamlines the process. If you decide to do do-it-yourself, use design software like Adobe Creative Suite, Canva, or Powerpoint to create designs with a professional finish.
The menus should be easy to read. Customers can get overwhelmed by large menus. Keep your offerings to one or two pages to offer just enough options to have something for every guest.
Keep The Golden Triangle in mind. When reading a menu, our eyes start in the middle of the page and then move to the top right and left. Place the items you want to attract the most attention in those areas.
Use dollar signs strategically. Researchers at Cornell found that diners are likely to order more when dollar signs are not on the menu than when they are present. You might remove dollar signs from your menu, and avoid listing prices in a single column which encourages customers to compare them.
7. Think about Photos
Photos can be a great way to get customers’ mouths watering, but those photos have to be high-quality and showcase what your guests can expect from each menu item. When it comes to photos, hiring a professional photographer or investing in a digital camera is the way to go.
Before publishing photos on menus or on your website, make sure that the photos are representative of your restaurant’s best work. Photos can also boost your business’s performance on social media. In each post, include a link back to your online menu so that customers can begin an order.
8. Choose Menu Fonts, Spacing, and Composition
There are hundreds of options for font, spacing, and embellishments for both digital and printed menus. Many restaurants hire designers to help with sorting through all the possibilities.
Designing takeout menus for your restaurant has its advantages. You can keep all of the design elements true to the story of your brand. But don’t be afraid to get a second set of eyes on your designs. You can use our templates and keep all of the design work in-house. Keep your menu consistent enough through redesigns so guests know what to expect.
9. Select the Final Menu Layout
Once you decide on the color scheme, design, font, and photos, it’s time to put all of the elements together. Consult your staff, business partners, and investors to vote on the best menu design for your brand.
Each stakeholder should review the branding, design, menu descriptions, and prices. The more opinions you get, the better idea you will have of how customers will use the menu. Customers have certain expectations of how to interact with a menu, so consider how you can make printed and online menus more user-friendly.
10. Proofread and Print your Menus
Proofreading is a critical step. Some customers will overlook and forgive spelling and grammar mistakes, but they become distractions to others. Use the built-in spell checker or software like Grammarly to streamline proofreading and catch small mistakes. This can also help you to save by avoiding misprints.
When you’re ready to go to print, consider the paper quality that will give you menus that last for as long as you need them. You can use a local printing shop or an online service like one of the following:
Menu Engineering Worksheet
Use this menu engineering worksheet, complete with intricate menu engineering formulas, to determine areas of strength and weakness in your restaurant's menu.
Examples of Breakfast Menus
Menu Board Style. Menu boards have a charming feel that can even be replicated online. This breakfast menu uses photos and colors consistently to create a bold effect.
Photo Forward. Sometimes, great photos are just what you need to boost sales. This breakfast menu prominently features photos of their delicious-looking sliders.
Contemporary Elegance. There is an elegant simplicity to this breakfast menu, which makes it simple to navigate with bold headlines and straightforward item names.
Bold Color. The bold colors on this breakfast menu are sure to wake up the senses without overwhelming customers with too many options.
Refined Simplicity. This minimal breakfast menu is short, sweet, and easy on the eyes.
Brand-Forward. Keeping the brand front and center is a great strategy to ensure that your customers remember where they had that incredible breakfast experience.
Cozy Chic. This is a perfect cafe breakfast menu that invites guests to enjoy an elevated and accessible breakfast.
Keep Learning about Menu Engineering
Now that your breakfast menu is designed and printed, mailed, and published online, develop a strategy to keep it up to date. Keep your spreadsheet updated with each menu item that your chefs develop. Share a live copy of that spreadsheet with writers and designers that help you with the process.
Sometimes, it's also necessary to update design elements to keep this fresh and consistent with other brand elements. Our menu engineering spreadsheet will help you analyze the sales performance of each bottle and glass and inform every change to the list.
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