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How to design a takeaway menu

Menu printing is the life line between takeaway restaurants and their customers, without a good menu design a takeaway business is doomed to fail. Printing takeaway menus is normally a takeaway restaurants most important marketing tool.

It’s so important that you have decided to design your own takeaway menu.

Cheap Takeaway menus understand this, but we strongly recommend that you take some professional advice and read some of our recent articles. Before you begin please read “How best to prepare design and artwork for menu printing”, “What is good menu design” and “10 Steps to a more profitable menu

The first article will reduce the problems and errors commonly made by inexperienced menu designers. It will guide while you set up your vector file, it will assist while designing and when it’s time to convert the design into a print ready artwork. There are many pitfalls that can cause problems and errors at the printing stage which can be avoided if our advice is followed carefully during the design and artwork stages.

The second article will help you to create a great menu design. The rules of design are simple ones and when used to your advantage will improve the overall quality of your takeaway menu design.

How to design a takeaway menu?

  1. Set up your design file see “How best to prepare design and artwork for menu printing
  2. Read “What is good menu design” and “10 Steps to a more profitable menu
  3. Begin the menu design process by importing or recreating the company logo.
  4. Next choose a clear photograph of tasty attractive looking food, as sold in the takeaway i.e. Indian food or a Pizza, to use on the front cover. Avoid using small images all over a menu as it will start to become messy. Do NOT use scanned images from other menus! If more than one image is used keep them big and strong. Any background colours on the photograph can be added to the colour palette of the design. While designing power clip the image in place instead of cropping it in case you want to move it about later.

  1. Import the menu information from a text file or recreate it into your design file. Keep the types of information separate i.e. product names, product descriptions, product numbers and prices as separate objects so that changing the styling is easier to apply.
  2. Roughly order the menu information onto the two pages. Don’t worry about styling or positioning at this time but it is important to get the information in the correct places making sure it all fits in the menu. Keep any offers or meal deals on the back cover to give them maximum impact and so they are seen without having to open the menu. The back cover is also the best place for the company address, call to actions (phone number and website), terms and conditions, payment types, delivery charges or areas and opening times.
  3. Avoid putting information on the front cover. Keep it to a minimum of logo, strap line if used, food image and call to actions (phone number and website). If there is not enough room on the back cover for the address and opening times they can be moved to the front but are best left on the back cover. The front cover is all about the brand and the food image. Keeping it simply on the front cover helps to highlight the food image and brand.
  4. Select an easy to read font for the menu text, avoid fonts with serifs and make sure to use sentence case (small and big letters) and not all capital letters for the main body copy. Sentence case and non-serif text is easier to read.
  5. Create contrast by making the product category titles i.e. “Starters” the biggest size text followed by the product name, product price and lastly product description. The category titles can be made bold and the font can be decorative for extra contrast. Be economical with your choice of colours and use a limited colour palette with no more than 3 colours (based on the company brand or food image) as using more colours will make menu look busy.
  6. Once you have the basic text layout using the final fonts you can be begin to design the menu layout.
  7. Decide which parts of the menu to highlight and promote as well as how to distinguish categories form one another.
  8. Work methodically through the menu working from left to right.
  9. Box the special offers and meal deals to make it easier to see the differences and to compare them.
  10. Remember the importance of space, contrast and direction in a menu, it makes it easier for your customers to find he relevant sections and allows the eyes to rest. Keep your menu as simple as possible, you want your customers to find it easy to read and understand.

If this all seems a little overwhelming remember that our professional designers can do your design for you for free and with our 100% satisfaction guarantee or your full deposit back!


Good menu design makes you money!
Cheap menu printing saves you money!

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About the Author

Kevin Moyse

With over 19 years creative marketing experience Kevin has a wonderful knowledge of takeaway restaurant industry and specialises in creative takeaway menu design and printing.

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Hassle free, effort free and cost effective....sums up Cheap Takeaway Menus. You guys have done a great job on the design for my new takeaway menus and made the whole menu printing process easy and straight forward. I found it very easy to do everything via email and by using the website. I will be back as soon as my menus need to be re-printed as I will definitely use you again and again. Ive also told all my friends about you so hopefully they will order their menu printing with you soon. Thanks for providing such an efficient and easy to use service.

Paul Shamer Director - Balti House Indian Restaurant Leeds


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