How to design a cafe menu

Written by carl hose
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How to design a cafe menu
A well designed menu can help promote the personality of your restaurant (wine glass and menu image by Warren Millar from

One of the most important features of a cafe or restaurant is the menu. This is the way you communicate to your customers what your establishment has to offer. While you can have a menu custom designed for your cafe, no one knows better than you do the image you want to convey for your cafe when customers read the menu. If you find the menu for your cafe needs improvement, you can use available desktop publishing software to design and create a custom menu that will represent your cafe to its full potential.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Desktop design software

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  1. 1

    Sketch ideas first. Decide whether you will want a border or not. Decide on the ideal type of menu. You might prefer a casual menu, a small-town farm menu, an artsy menu, or a classy menu. This depends on the type of restaurant you have and the image you want to project. The initial design phase should also take into account the categories you'll have on your menu, which may include appetizers, entrées, desserts, and beverages. Sketch these ideas down on paper to work from as you design. Consider adding images of your food, but balance the number of images you use with menu choices and text descriptions.

  2. 2

    Open a desktop publishing program. If you don't have one available, you can download a free word processing program from the Internet. Go to the "File" menu, create a new document, and set the page margins with the "Page Setup" option on the "File" menu. Set your border to about 1 inch on all sides except for the sides that will be facing. Make those margins 1-1/2 inches to account for putting a menu together. If your menu pages will be in a slip cover and not bound together, you can set those facing margins at 1 inch as well.

  3. 3

    Go to the "Insert" menu and select the text box tool. Click your left mouse button and hold it down as you draw a text block that takes up most of your page. Leave a larger margin at the top if you want to include a heading, such as the name of your cafe, or if you have a logo or image to include.

  4. 4

    Add the food elements to your menu. Create a heading for each section you have decided to include. Work from the list you created in the initial design process. Make the headings bold. Select each heading and click the drop-down font menu to select the font type. Choose a colour for your font from this menu, as well as the size. For headings, consider between a 14- or 20-point font size, depending upon how many menu choices you have. Select the bold option from the font menu for your headings.

  5. 5

    Type in the names of your dishes and a two or three word description that makes the dish sound appealing. Focus on the key elements that give the dish its flavour personality, such as chicken with fire-roasted pepper sauce. The description here should focus on the fire-roasted pepper sauce. Text for the names of your dishes and descriptions should be between 2 and 3 point sizes smaller than your category headings.

  6. 6

    Insert images of your food. These can be images you've taken with a digital camera. Go to the "Insert" menu and select the "Picture" option, browse to where your pictures are located, and click on an image to place it in your menu. Place the image near the food item it goes with to make it easier for customers to compare the food description with the picture they see.

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