Your menu is your restaurant’s self-marketing tool and the center piece of communication. It confirms the items a consumer was craving or inspires curiosity using new items. More than your restaurant concept and photographs, consumers want to know the type of culinary experience they can expect. They view menus and instantaneously begin their process of consideration. Consumers spend a slim 8 seconds on a restaurant website. It’s a slender timeline in which you must immediately leave a powerful impression that lures from the beginning.

The digital age has revolutionized the online industry with free tools that provide customizable templates and methods to create and update menus with ease. There are an unlimited variety of styles to modify as you see fit without hiring an overpriced designer. After all, AIS Media confirms 89% of customers look at menus online before they try a new restaurant, yet 40% of restaurants do not list updated menus due to what they believe is a challenge.

Here are the tools to create a visually powerful and alluring menu:

Canva

A supersized collection of 1 million stock images allows you to bolster your menu with premium design. Add in hundreds of background menu textures or icons. If utilizing your own imagery, you may apply a variety of specialized food filters to showcase your dishes in the best light. When designing is complete, you can publish the menu directly to your website or social media channels.

Locu Platform

Upload your own assets for an extremely customized look. Creative strategists will also work with you and your personal graphic design artist to set up a custom design template. Since menus are often refreshed, Locu will let all platforms know when you upload an exciting change by publishing notifications to your social platforms and across the web to partners like Yelp, Foursquare and Trip Advisor. They ensure that the latest and greatest is always front and center to those who matter most.

iMenuPro

Already used by over 20,000 restaurants, iMenuPro has activated unique features such as culinary spellcheck. It’s a system that utilizes a dictionary used by restaurants worldwide ensuring grammatically correct food descriptions. The tool is especially useful for restaurants employing international food concepts whose words may vary from the typical English language. You may also easily highlight items to draw attention to specialties.

Online Menu Design Co.

This company limits the menu designing process down to four steps: choosing your online menu size, selecting a background, typing out items and posting online. It’s a tool best used for eliminating complication producing simple and modest looking menus that get the job done.

Now that you have your menu tools, following the easy and proven tips below will create a menu that’s easy to digest. Consider limiting food options due to the psychological theory known as the paradox of choice. Choices create anxiety and overwhelm the customer. They want to feel confident in their decision and can easily do this when they have fewer options to weigh against. Studies show 7 food options per category are ideal. The menu should alleviate the consumer allowing them to feel they made the right choice.

Great menus also manipulate prices by encouraging you to spend more. They avoid dollar signs because they automatically trigger the idea of purchasing. You’ll want to list 12.00 instead of $12. Spelling out the number twelve is also an elegant statement. Also remember to position expensive items near the top so the rest of the items seem reasonably priced. For example, spending $70 on a steak will suddenly look appealing if a $150 lobster is listed before it.

Spend time on elevating your descriptions with detailed language. Dress up simple items with adjectives. Instead of a chocolate cake, you may list Satin Chocolate Cake. Customers rate the well described food as more appealing to the palette because they equate eloquent descriptions with richer food production. You may also strategically use words that concentrate on uplifting the quality of your food such as, “locally sourced or gluten free” Though laws ensure that your descriptions are honest, the more detail, the more the customer believes they are receiving for their money.