What should you include in a takeaway menu?
By Kevin Moyse
Cheap Takeaway menus, we love 'em!
We spend our working days thinking about cheap takeaway menus, takeaway menu design and cheap menu printing. When we're not thinking about cheap menu printing we're talking about cheap takeaway menus with our clients, our takeaway menu design team and our menu printers. We pretty much eat, sleep and breathe takeaway menus and cheap takeaway menu printing.
When you have a passion like that, you tend to become something of an expert. We consider ourselves experts in takeaway menu design and cheap menu printing. We know what works and what doesn’t, what looks good or sounds good and what doesn’t, and we know how to put together a successful takeaway menu. For more information see "how to design a takeaway menu?"
Eagerness to show what you can offer means there is a danger of overcrowding a menu with too much information. This can be off-putting. Our takeaway menu design team and menu printers will always tell you that after the essentials have been added to the menu, quality is always better than quantity.
With that in mind, here is our guide to what should be included in a takeaway menu. This is based on a roll fold 6 panel menu. Some are essentials, some common sense, some you can put your own spin on; but everything below will help your takeaway menu do what it should do for your takeaway business – bring in orders.
The front cover of your takeaway menu is your shop front. It needs to show who you are, what you do, what you offer and how you operate. It should be simple, attractive and clear, and as much as possible it should stand out from all the other menus which drop through a customer’s door.
Chances are you already have a logo (if not then Cheap Takeaway Menus’ in-house takeaway menu design team can help). Establishing a strong brand identity is important. The goal is for the image to become shorthand for everything your takeaway offers. Think of the biggest brands in the world – a single logo can conjure so much information about the company. A little creative effort with your takeaway menu design can yield so much business for your takeaway. A clean, crisp logo, well placed by our takeaway menu printing team on to the front cover of your takeaway menu will make even more difference to your takeaway business than you think.
For a more in depth look into logos then you should read What makes a good takeaway logo design?
A clear and appetising food image on the front of a takeaway menu can never be a bad thing. Some photographers make a career out of taking pictures of food on a plate. The right picture can be as good a way of enticing customers to order as any other trick you might have up your sleeve. Choose the most attractive dish and present it well; place it in a good light and use a quality camera to take the best picture you can. Stock images are also available, but check on copyrights before you put forward an image to be used. Our designers will chose a high quality stock image that they think is the most suitable, we purchase one professional stock image to be used on the front cover. The better quality the image passed to our menu printers, the better overall the takeaway menu printing will be. As far as Cheap Takeaway Menus is concerned cheap takeaway menu printing and high quality takeaway menu printing is the same thing. Great images are a big part of that.
Different people may choose to order from your takeaway menu for different reasons. That’s fine; in fact it should be encouraged. Some customers may order from you simply because of the special discounts you offer. For example, the student market is huge (with a natural yearly turnover of potential customers) so if you operate in a student area and have a rolling discount for students then have our takeaway menu printing team place it prominently on the front cover of your takeaway menu. Similarly if you run a discount for collection or orders above a certain amount you could place it to be seen on the front cover. It might be the difference between an order being placed and your takeaway menu sitting at the bottom of a pile. But be careful NOT to fill the front cover with offers as this will definitely not work in your favour.
Phone number/website address – ‘call to action’
Good news for takeaway business owners! The temptation to push a button can be quite overwhelming.
A ‘call to action’ is marketing speak for a piece of text or a banner or button which prompts a customer to contact you or interact with your business. I’m sure you’ve seen ‘Click Here for More Information’ or ‘Buy Now’ buttons on websites almost daring you to click. As far as your takeaway is concerned the goal is that they order from you. A call to action can be especially effective on your takeaway’s website, by the way...Click here to read more about our online ordering websites but from your printed takeaway menu it can be a simple yet clever encouragement to pick up a phone or visit your website and make an order.
Our menu printers advise a bold type and a reasonably sized font informing customers they can “ORDER ONLINE” and stating the website address, and a similar approach with the number to call for telephone orders.
Any special offers, meal deals, midweek bargains, collection only offers, early birds, happy hours, or 2 for 1 offers can safely be placed on the back cover of your takeaway menu. This way it can catch a customer’s eye without the menu even being opened.
We don’t know about you, but when we want to order a takeaway and we grab a menu, the first thing we look at is the opening times of the takeaway. We want to know if we can order now or if we’ll have to wait. We’ll often be dialling as the clock ticks down the seconds to opening time.
If you deliver free within a certain radius, this can be an incentive to order from you. Delivery information should be straightforward and clear.
A simple line illustrating the credit/debit card logos to show which payments you accept is sufficient.
Won any awards? Been shortlisted? Commended? Congratulated? Official praise is always worth adding to your takeaway menu.
Address and full postcode
If you provide your full address and postcode it can help with maps and satnavs for people walking or driving to collect orders. It may also influence orders for delivery – customers closer to you will believe proximity means faster delivery (which it should, to be fair).
T’s and C’s/Disclaimers
To avoid any confusion over deals, delivery or prices, our takeaway menu design team advise that you think about anything you want to include as a disclaimer. Better for our menu printers to have put it down there in black and white (full colour actually) than for something to come back to haunt you later. We can put some standard ones on for you if needed.
Re-call to action
On the back of your menu it is a good idea to repeat your contact details. Repetition of your phone number and website address on both sides of your menu keeps it visible. It does not have to be as prominent as it is on the front but it should still stand out against everything else on the back.
Headings, products, descriptions, prices
Divide your products into clear headings and prices. See How to Design a takeaway menu for more detail into the subject.
Space is at a premium on a takeaway menu and you certainly don’t want it to be cluttered and confusing, but we at Cheap Takeaway Menus assure you there is a happy medium to be found between listing every dish and its ingredients in full or just showing a cold and clinical list of dish titles (although this second option can work fine for some takeaways, it is by no means guaranteed to). With all aspects of your takeaway menu design you want to stand out as much as possible. So try to create some tantalising descriptions of your food, even if it’s just of your signature dishes or the dishes you want to particularly promote. It’s best not to copy other takeaway’s descriptions, create your own based on your food and its taste. Do not to simply list the ingredients, make it sound appetising.
Superlatives add to the appeal – there’s nothing wrong with blowing your own trumpet about your delicious food. Tasty, juicy, yummy, succulent, scrumptious, mouth-watering, appetizing, and luscious are all great ways to describe your food. The meat can be tender. The breads can be freshly baked. The rice can be fluffy. The sauces can be rich and creamy. All of this is designed to attract an order and to show a confidence in your products and an awareness of what works in a dish. When cleverly done, the food descriptions on your takeaway menu can be tiny pieces of poetry.
Products, flavours and sizes
For additional products such as drinks, sweets or desserts try to include sizes where you can. Letting your customers know it is a 1 litre bottle of Coke or a 330ml can of Fanta they could buy is actually more likely to develop into a sale than if you don’t provide any detail other than ‘bottle’ or ‘can’.
Any extra discounts
If you have any voucher schemes or codes for extra discounts off order totals or specific individual dishes you can include them here.
Food images (if needed)
As has been noted, space on a takeaway menu is precious. If you have room and want to add a couple of images by all means do, but don’t add them just to fill space. Make sure the images you choose are worthy of being on your takeaway menu and that they serve a purpose and add to the whole experience for the customer. Yes, we said ‘experience’. Your customers go on a journey when they decide to order from you, and your menu is the ticket.
Allergy information is related to terms and conditions and also part of any disclaimers you might add. These days people are generally quite well clued-up on allergies and how to manage them, so having our menu printers include simple information about any dishes or ingredients which may set off any of the major allergies (nuts, gluten, egg, dairy) is both wise and responsible.
A note on spelling and grammar
Correct spelling and grammar should be a given on any piece of marketing or information sent out into the world. This article is checked and proofread by a professional before it goes up on Cheap Takeaway Menus.com. Luckily if something is missed it can be taken down and corrected. Not so with your menus. Once our menu printers produce the printing plates any changes can only be made by creating a new set. Check all spelling and grammar, or if it’s not your strength we have professional proofreaders and copy editors who can do it for you for a small extra fee.
A well thought-out takeaway menu – expertly designed and produced through high quality menu printing techniques – can be a thing of beauty. It’s your hardest working member of staff, out there day after day trying to get orders for your takeaway. We like to think of takeaway menu printing as an art form. We think it deserves the best from you and from us. Pay attention to it, nurture it, spend time with it. It will make you proud and it will make you money!