If properly designed and presented, the lowly menu covers can be an important part of the overall merchandising scheme of a restaurant. They are effective “silent talkers” together with the other merchandising tools like food displays, pictures and posters, menus, menu boards, menu clip-ons, special menus, menu holders, wine lists, table tents, waitress name badges, check presenters, and place mats. In some restaurants, the merchandising scheme also includes a transparent view of the chef working in the food preparation area.
The overall design and appearance of restaurant menu covers should blend and support the theme or brand of the restaurant. Based on the way menus are used, certain criteria should be considered in properly designing restaurant menu covers.
The aesthetics, appearance and feel of the menu covers must create a good first impression. The quality and nature of the material used should be carefully chosen so that it reinforces the image of the restaurant. Cheap looking materials in a high-end Spanish specialty steakhouse for example tend to project a confused image and will therefore weaken instead of upholding the desired image. On the other hand, it may not be advisable for a mass oriented restaurant to use expensive looking leather menu covers with gold plated edgings for the same reason.
The color scheme or color combination has to be consistent with the overall color scheme of the restaurant. Generally, black and other dark colors are used. Menu cover designs should not be so overloaded as to appear busy.
The graphics and artwork which include the lettering, text fonts, restaurant logo, emblem and other identification signs contribute much to the development of a unique image for the restaurant. A carefully executed script type of font for example can be effective in projecting a classy image for a restaurant. Black font is generally acceptable, but depending upon the general color scheme of the restaurant theme, other dark colors can be used. Texts style can be of the printed, engraved or embossed type.
Due to constant usage by customers, menu covers tend to get easily soiled. To ensure that the covers always look clean and fresh, it is important to consider a design that allows for easy replacement of the cover. Maybe a properly designed clear plastic pocket or clear plastic jacket is useful.
Menu holders when used should also be designed to support the desired image as well. For classy restaurants, gold plated metals as well as a well finished hard wood are common materials. For these kinds of restaurants, cheap looking plastic holders are avoided.