At Billy Tannery, our relationship with the food industry allows us to experience some of the very best and most innovative restaurant designs around. We love to be inspired by restaurants where the physical space sets the tone – long before the first bite is taken. Before booking a table your customers may look through the window, check out your socials, online reviews… but most importantly, they are going to read your menu.
Your menu is arguably the most important selling tool you have to market your restaurant. How you present it to your customers will determine whether they place a booking, or pass you by. So you need it to convey the tone, the atmosphere, the decor, and the type of food you’re serving.
So, if you are creating innovative dishes in a carefully curated menu, complete with paired wines – a laminated place mat menu just won’t do. If you’re taking your guests on a culinary world tour, then excite your diners with a far-away feel before they order. If you’re reworking family favourites with a fresh twist, you want your menu to feel fresh too.
As a sales tool, and as an integral part of your brand, the menu you present should reflect the personality and flair that creates your menu in the kitchen.
Designing your menu
Start by thinking about which words you would want people to use when summing up your restaurant. Classic, elegant, contemporary? Fun, funky, family-friendly? Then you can start to put together some design ideas that reflect the values that you want your restaurant to embody. Even as your potential customers look at the menu online, they are already getting a flavour of what you’re all about.
5 unique restaurant menu designs
There’s many beautiful menu templates and examples out there to get you inspired. But, if you want to get something truly unique, the best way is custom-made. Whether it’s your logo, your brand colours, photos of your team, your inspiration, your ethos… putting your own stamp onto your menu ensures that it can never truly be replicated. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Let your food do the talking with a gorgeous, image-heavy photobook menu. This gives a high-end, editorial feel to your menu. Keep text to a minimum – such as captions for each image – to give a glossy finish and ultimate wow-factor.
This is a quirky option for an artsy, bohemian menu. Illustrate your menu with beautiful hand-drawn graphics. You could illustrate the food, with drawings of the dishes. You could draw the drinks, and decorative elements for a decadent ‘speakeasy’ venue. Or, how about drawing the ingredients? Use lush botanical drawings complete with annotations, for a ‘field guide’ feel that suits a venue with a vintage vibe.
Classic leather menu covers are timeless and elegant. Bespoke leather accessories are versatile enough to work in a variety of venues to complement the decor and can be customised with your logo or unique embossing. Our premium vegetable-tanned leather is a stylish statement in a farm-to-fork style restaurant as it emphasises the circular nature of the produce, and adds another element of sustainability to your restaurant’s story.
Keep it clean
No, not talking about the laminated placemat menu… instead the clean, crisp, pared-back menu design. It will remain enduringly popular because its use of negative space makes it easy to read, and is bold in its brevity. To make this unique, look for something beyond a plain white sheet of A4. Recycled and/or textured paper works well, as does a papyrus or woven texture. An artisanally crafted sheet of handmade paper gives an understated luxury feel. This option also pairs well with the leather menu covers mentioned above.
A fan menu takes up very little space on the table, and the action of opening it out appeals to the inner child in almost all of us! It is a fun talking point, but also a surprisingly versatile option. In a vintage setting, style the menu to look like a traditional ladies’ fan, and it will capture those Bridgerton vibes, and become the star of all your social media pictures. Or for a modern feel, style it like a pantone paint swatch fan. This makes light work of a menu with a lot of dishes, and would work wonderfully in an industrial-chic restaurant.
Your menu is at the heart of all that you do. So ensure it gives the right flavour – doing justice to your ethos, your chef, your produce and your kitchen. At Billy Tannery, we pride ourselves on the work we do with restaurants and venues within the hospitality industry. Our bespoke range of leather goods can be customised to suit your business, or get in touch to create a truly unique leather item with us.