Is your Menu Designed to Boost Sales?

Is your menu designed to drive sales of your high profit items? Pick up your current menu and consider the psychology of the design and what items you are drawn towards – Are these the items that you want your customers to buy or are you missing a trick? Menu design ensures the items are carefully constructed to persuade customers into making certain decisions that will drive profitability across your business. This blog explores some of the main techniques to implement in the psychology of menu design such as positioning, colours, buzz words to capture the attention, controlled costing and much more.

Colours Across Your Menu

Do you use colours within your menu design? For example, the use of the colour Green implies the food is fresh whereas Orange stimulates our appetite. The use of Yellow in your menu makes us happy and draws our attention towards these items whereas the colour Red encourages action and is used to persuade customers to select these items – putting your “big ticket” items in red should see an increase in these dishes being selected.

Menu Eye Flow

Understanding how customers read your menu is important so you can ensure your high profit items are in the right place. When a customer first picks up your menu their eyes typically move to the middle first before moving to the top right and then across to the top left. This is also known as the Golden Triangle and in menu designed using this technique is where you will find dishes with the highest Gross Profit. Take a look at your menu and are the items you want in these positions?

Dish Descriptions

Look at a menu and in most cases you will find the dish descriptions all of a similar size and they fit with the layout of the page. In a menu that has been designed to boost sales there will be some items with a longer description standing out from the others – Guess where your attention is drawn to and what the profitability of these are? You’ve guessed it these are the high profit items that the restaurant wants you to buy.

Feeding the Imagination

Continuing with the theme of descriptions think of what these tell your customers? Do your descriptions use enticing adjectives such as “locally sourced”, “homemade” or “line-caught” or are you using superlative claims such as “the world’s greatest steak”? A superlative claim is usually hard to believe especially when used within the food and beverage industry so consider using enticing adjectives that will resonate with your customers.

Subconscious Scheming

Restaurant owners have carried out a lot of research to understand how customers order items which has shown a tendency to order either the top two items or the bottom item of a section. As a result, consider putting the items with highest profit margins in this order and test the results.


Where is the price on your menu and how have your displayed this? Tucking the price into a paragraph will make your customers read the menu and think less about the price. Some menus use a dotted line from the description to the price but think what this does? It draws attention to the price and if you use the £ sign it resonates more heavily in the minds of your customers. Not using the £ sign means they are less likely to focus on the price and more likely to focus on your menu. Taking it to the next level menus that have prices written out in letters encourage customers to spend more money.

Limited Choices

How big is your menu and do you use sections to split out items? Large menus with a lot of choices can stress out customers and lead them to make panicked choices. Consider splitting your menu into sections with no more than seven items in each allowing out customer to feel relaxed about ordering.

Negative Space

Is your menu filled with text? If so, take a look at it and think where are you drawn to – your eyes will generally draw towards the open spaces on the menu with savvy restaurants filling these spaces with their high profit menu items.

Brand Image

The material used for your menu tells the customer about your brand, for example a leather folder with thick paper suggests the food is of a high quality used in high-end restaurants whereas a locally sourced organic café may use recycled paper. Consider what the quality of your menu materials tell your customer.

Defining Your “Big Ticket” Items

Putting the above into practice only works if you understand what your high profit items are. This is where Menu Engineering enters the conversation as this will allow you to model each dish on the menu and understand the cost versus the retail price. Depending on the system in place this can be further broken down to allow an understanding on the ingredient cost, labour cost and ancillary costs giving you a modelling tool to update rising wage and ingredient costs and what this means to your menu profitability.

Comtrex Systems provide an integrated stock management, menu engineering and allergen solution meaning you can:

  • Define ‘Big Ticket’ Items
  • Understand how rising costs impact your bottom line
  • Choose the right pricing structure for your menu
  • Increase Restaurant Profitability

To find out more click here to register your details and one of our team will be in touch.

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About Us

We are an ePOS systems company specialising in the casual and fine dining sectors, and have been designing, developing and supplying ePOS to restaurants for over 30 years.

Whether you are a single restaurant or a national chain, we can help.