8 Menu Writing Rules That Will Make Customers Order More

Write a restaurant menu that customers won’t be able to resist

Menu writing is an art. You might be wondering, “How difficult can it be to write a restaurant menu?” While the base answer is “not extremely difficult,” if you want to persuade more customers to order from your restaurant, you need to pay attention to a few key menu writing rules.

From structure to menu descriptions, customization, and food photography, let’s get into them:

8 Menu Writing Rules to Live by

1. Use creative menu wording

Your menu items are more than just a list of dishes, but an opportunity to advertise your products and make customers crave them. Give your menu a little flair using creative restaurant menu writing.

Here are some examples of creative dish names you can use:

  • Instead of Chicken pot pie, say Grandma’s chicken pot pie
  • Instead of Pork chop, say Wood fire-grilled pork chop
  • Instead of Chocolate cake, say 4-layer chocolate cake
  • Instead of Lasagna, say Mario’s lasagna special

Use adjectives, locations, and names to make menu items stand out, while still making it clear what the customer is ordering.

Emphasize their appearance, flavor, or method of cooking, and craft a story behind the dish to make it more appealing.

Here are even more examples of creative menu writing:

creative menu titles and descriptions

2. Learn how to describe a menu item to make it more appealing

Menu descriptions help you dig even deeper into a dish’s origin, flavors, and cooking process, transporting customers to different times and cultures.

Let’s take a look at some sensory words to describe food that’s typically popular in restaurants.

menu writing rules infographic

How to describe a burger on a menu:

  • Juicy
  • Tender
  • Flame-grilled
  • Smoked
  • Savory

How to describe a pizza on a menu:

  • Woodfire baked
  • Cheesy
  • Crispy
  • Italian-style
  • Melt-in-your-mouth
  • Sizzling

How to describe chicken on a menu:

  • Lean
  • Oven-roasted
  • Succulent
  • Tender
  • Marinated

How to describe salmon on a menu:

  • Rich
  • Buttery
  • Flakey
  • Light
  • Pan-seared

How to describe a salad on a menu:

  • Crunchy
  • Fresh
  • Zesty
  • Crisp
  • Tossed

How to describe a cake on a menu:

  • Velvety
  • Glazed
  • Creamy
  • Fluffy
  • Gooey

3. Enhance the text with irresistible food photos

Believe it or not, one of the most important menu writing rules is that writing is just half of it. You need to first draw your customers’ attention with professional food images that will make them want to click the Order button.

As opposed to a traditional paper menu, an online menu makes it easy for you to add a photo for every dish, as well as one for each category, like in the example below:

menu writing rules: add mouthwatering photos to your online menu

4. Structure the menu strategically so you can sell more

Typically, your menu categories should be arranged in the order that the customer is likely to want them, starting with appetizers and finishing with desserts and drinks.

However, you might want to switch things up every now and then. For example, you can add popular, high-profit margin items at the top to draw people’s attention to them. If you have daily specials, those should also be at the top.

add creative menu category names to sell more

Start building a menu following the steps in the video below, and update it as often as you want at no cost:

Something else that must live at the top of your online menu is promotions. Highlight any special offer or discount you have available by making it the first thing customers see when they open your menu.

use phrases to describe delicious food when writing a restaurant menu

Add a promotion at the top of your online menu in minutes.

5. Make the menu easy to read on any device

PDF menus are a thing of the past. The alternative? An online ordering menu that not only loads instantly on any device without the user having to download it, but that brings the added benefit of enabling customers to order food online.

Whether customers want to browse your menu on their computer, phone, or tablet, they can do so without having to zoom in and out to read the font or wait for a large PDF file to load.

Free responsive restaurant menu with built-in online ordering

6. Add allergens and nutritional information to your menu items

Customers might appreciate creative food menu names, but they also want to know what they’re ordering. Add nutritional information and allergens at the bottom of every menu item to help them make an informed decision.

You can also use that space to list the ingredients for every dish and keep the descriptions as a creative space to tell a story.

use menu descriptions for words to describe food appearance

7. Add customization options to provide customers with more variety

Give customers a chance to “write” their own menu! How? By allowing them to customize dishes with toppings, add-ons, sides, and other choices.

They will get exactly what they crave, and you can upsell and cross-sell by suggesting toppings, sides, drinks, and desserts that would go well with certain dishes.

use words to describe food appearance in menu descriptions

Here’s how easy it is to customize your online menu with choices and add-ons using GloriaFood:

8. Use menu icons to easily mark items

A quick and easy way to make your menu more readable and easier to browse is to add icons that mark items as vegan, vegetarian, hot, halal, gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, or raw.

Customers can notice them at a glance, without having to go through the ingredients or the menu description.

words to describe food taste and texture for a restaurant menu

Follow these steps to add useful icons to your online restaurant menu:

That’s a Wrap

These easy-to-follow menu writing rules can help you craft a restaurant menu that will attract new and returning customers without having to hire a professional. Simply take advantage of free tools that make it easy for you to create and customize your menu from scratch.

Get your own free restaurant menu
with the all-in-one ordering system by GloriaFood

Get started