10 Profitable Features of a Good Menu

What are the characteristics of a good menu that will help you sell more food?

Turn more visitors into customers and more customers into regulars by designing a restaurant menu that will sell more. How? By implementing these ten essential features of a good menu, from formatting to photos, descriptions, promotions, and more.

10 Features of a Good Menu to Easily Implement ASAP

1. Strategic restaurant menu formatting

Menu items are usually divided into stars, puzzles, plow horses, and dogs. But what do these terms mean?

Stars are dishes that are both popular and profitable. Puzzles are profitable but not popular. Plow horses and popular but not that profitable, while dogs are neither.

Your goal when designing the menu is to draw the customers’ attention to your star dishes by placing them in The Golden Triangle.

The Golden Triangle is a menu psychology concept according to which, when customers scan a menu, they first look to the middle, then the top right corner, followed by the top left corner. Place your high-profitability items there to increase sales.

You can also draw attention to specific menu items by bolding them or adding colors or icons that will make them stand out.

2. Appealing food menu descriptions

One of the most profitable menu features is appetizing menu descriptions that use sensory language to evoke strong emotions.

You want customers to crave your dishes the moment they read the description. Adjectives that emphasize appearance, flavor, and texture can help you achieve that.

What are the elements of a good menu: appetizing menu descriptions

You can also use locations in the dishes’ descriptions to signal authenticity and traditional recipes spanning generations. Rename classic menu items such as “Pepperoni Pizza” to “Nonna Giovanna’s Special Pepperoni Pizza” to create a backstory that will intrigue customers.

Consider using humor to draw attention to your menu by adding puns to dish names or a funny description for your most popular menu item.

3. Mouth-watering food menu photography

Did you know that you can convert 25% more customers with a photo-based menu than a simple text-based one?

Customers want to see what they’re about to order, so invest in real, quality photos of your dishes to avoid false advertising. What they see is what they should get.

the best menu designs contain mouth-watering photos of food

If the menu item looks one way in the photos and a completely different way in real life, customers won’t return and might also leave you negative reviews online.

Invest in a photoshoot or learn how to take professional-looking photos yourself if you’re on a budget. Before shooting, think about your branding and what you want your menu to evoke. This will inform photo composition, colors, and even background elements.

4. Menu customization options

Instead of overwhelming customers with too many choices and keeping menu items that might not sell that well (remember the dogs?), have a limited menu with many customization options.

From different dish sizes to the ability to add extra toppings to a menu item, or a side that goes well with a main dish, these options will help you sell more by increasing the average check value.

features of a good menu: dish customization

Here is a handy video tutorial that shows you how to easily customize your menu with choices and add-ons using the GloriaFood online menu builder:

Increase the average check value by adding toppings, sides & add-ons to your menu.

5. Allergens and nutritional information

Customers might be deterred from purchasing a menu item if they don’t know exactly what’s in it, including allergens and nutritional values.

You should aim to make your restaurant menu as informative as possible to answer any potential questions customers might have. Do they want to know how many calories are in their pizza? All they have to do is scroll down to find out:

components of a menu for restaurant: allergens and nutritional information

If you use our menu builder, you can easily add this information to all menu items in just a few clicks, as well as make changes to the info on the spot.

6. Easy readability on all devices

One of the most profitable features of a good menu is its ability to be accessed anywhere, anytime. Otherwise, you’re just alienating a huge part of your audience.

Stay away from restaurant menu PDF files that are extremely difficult to read on mobile devices and often require users to download them locally.

Customers won’t have the patience to wait for a large PDF file to load or to zoom in and out just so they can browse the menu. A bad user experience translates to lost sales.

Your menu should be responsive and load instantly on any type of device, from desktops to smartphones and tablets.

7. Painless online ordering options

In this day and age, online ordering is an essential menu feature. Enable customers to order your delicious dishes for pickup and delivery so they can enjoy them off-site as well.

We have great news for you! Our menu builder comes with a free built-in online ordering system that’s easy to set up and even easier to maintain.

Add online ordering to your restaurant menu in minutes.

All you need to do to add the See MENU & Order button to your website is copy and paste the personalized code we provide in your restaurant’s dashboard.

Follow this step-by-step tutorial to start accepting online orders today:

8. Handy information on opening hours, payment methods & more

When customers place a food order online, there are a couple of things they want to know:

  • Your address
  • Your opening hours for different services like pickup, delivery, or order ahead
  • Delivery areas and fees for each area
  • Payment methods available
  • Contact information
  • Available languages and language selector (especially if you have many tourists visiting your restaurant)

Have all of this information available in a separate tab in the menu so they can check it at a glance and find out exactly when and where they can order.

features of menu: information tab

If they have to go looking for the information and can’t find it quickly, you might lose precious sales. Not to mention you save time spent answering questions like “Where do you deliver?” or “What are your delivery hours?” over the phone.

9. Food pre-order options

What if we told you that you can make money even while you sleep by enabling scheduled orders and food pre-orders?

These menu features allow customers to place orders outside your opening hours, whether they’re scheduled for pickup or delivery at a later date, or pre-orders for table reservations.

food menu restaurant fulfillment options

That way, customers who want to have a quick meal can order their food ahead of time when they book a table, so the food is waiting for them when they arrive.

Similarly, clients who don’t want to waste time ordering food when they’re busy can do so the night before or even days in advance.

You can enable both scheduled orders and order ahead for table reservations for free in the admin dashboard of our online ordering system.

10. Offline and online food promotions

Finally, what makes a perfect menu is the value that it provides to customers. What could be better than paying less for your favorite dish, having free delivery, or getting a food combo at a great discounted price?

features of a good menu: promotions

Using the promotion templates integrated into our online ordering system, you can target both new and returning customers depending on your current goal.

Spice up your menu with unique food promotions and offers.

Are you looking to reward loyal customers? Add a 10% discount to the total cart value that will show up only for customers who have ordered from you at least 5 times.

add a promotion to your restaurant menu

Do you want to encourage customers to place their first online order? Offer free delivery for first orders.

offer a free delivery promo to new clients

Learn how to create these promotions and many more by watching the tutorial below:

Final Thoughts

A restaurant menu is more than a list of dishes added randomly. It can make the difference between a restaurant that closes months after opening and a successful restaurant that thrives and expands. Take the time to implement these main features of a good menu to make your restaurant stand out and increase sales.

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