The Menu Narrative: Why This Edible Story is so Important.

I’m not sure exactly when I learned to read, but I know it was important to me because when we went out to dinner as a family, I was expected to order for myself in a clear voice.  It was a very empowering experience to have the server ask me what I wanted to order, and be able to answer them around the age of four or five.

Since the early 80’s, I’ve reading menus and ordering for myself. Other diners would remark to my parents how well-mannered myself and my brother were.  Let’s be clear, we were not always on our best behavior. We were fun and silly and reckless most of the time, but when we were out to dinner, we were almost always on our very best behavior. (Almost). It was a good parenting technique for mom and dad to lead us through the menu and ask us what we wanted instead of ordering for us.  As my culinary repertoire expanded, so did my vocabulary.  I never realized that what I was embarking on was what some people would now call early childhood foodie-ism. 

I still love a good menu.  I love to read it just as much as I love to order what I’ve determined to be my favorite selection.  And, no matter where I am, I can quickly surmise a good and not so good restaurant from the menu alone.  Even before I taste a dish, smell a scent wafting from the kitchen or meet the chef.  Why?  Because words matter, and while I won’t put them in your mouth, I’d love to give you a taste of our Menu Redesign offering.  Of course, I won’t give you the entire recipe, but I will say that if you want your menu to stand out, here are a few things that you might consider:

Eat with your Eyes:  The menu is the only written document as a part of the restaurant experience, other than the bill.  Ensuring that it is welcoming, enjoyable to read, mouthwatering and really speaks to your restaurant concept are the first key ingredients to bring to the table, along with a clean design.

Consistency is Key:  Just as important as the ingredient and preparation that go into building an actual menu item in the kitchen, deciding on the appropriate style to present the wording is just as important.  From font to format, you want to think about everything visually represented in relationship to concept and brand.

Dishes are Your Title:  Make sure that you are creating an intriguing page turner, by mouth watering phraseology and easily digested wording. 

Get it Right with Grammar:  Capitalize anything with a proper noun, and nothing without (mimosa, mojito, taco, soup).  Capitalize items from specific locations and top-notch local vendors, as well as any named after people – Swiss Brie Muenster, etc.  Lowercase descriptions as much as possible.

A few areas we focus on specifically:

·      Choosing language that is in line your menu and restaurant concept.

·      Formatting with clean lines and smart item placement.

·      Ensuring punctuation is clear throughout in both items and pricing.

·      Highlighting additional sourcing information when relevant and interesting.

·      Ensuring wording is authentic both in language and in formality to concept.

Hope that whets your appetite!  If you know a restaurant in need of our services, we’ll be more than happy to connect. Please email lauren.eastman@gmail.com for more information.