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How to Choose the Right Menu and Display Type

Presenting the food items you sell in a logical and enticing way can be a challenge, so let this guide make it simple! Discover how to present your well-designed menu in the best way possible. No two menus are alike in their design, content, or purpose and that is why choosing the right type of menu for your restaurant is so important.

Types of Restaurant Menus

Different types of restaurant menus in a stack

Menus can be categorized by type based on the way items are sold and organized to create the perfect menu. Use this glossary of menu types to familiarize yourself with common types of menus and see what can work for your business!

  • Static menu: Separated into categories like appetizers, pastas, sandwiches, sides, etc. The dishes are served all year-round and are mostly prevalent in fast casual and fast food restaurants.
  • A La Carte: French for “according to the menu;” This menu usually features seasonal faire and offers greater flexibility for ordering when compared to a static menu.
  • Du Jour: A menu that changes daily. Plat du jour is a dish of the day, which is equivalent to a daily special
  • Cycle Menu: Different daily menus for a set period of time, then menus are repeated; For example, there could be a different menu every day for two weeks, and then the menu's cycle starts again from the beginning.
  • Table d’Hote: French for “the host’s table." All main courses have a set price with the customer's choice of an appetizer or dessert. Surcharges may apply if certain appetizers and desserts are pricier.
  • Prix Fixe: A meal that includes an appetizer, entree, and dessert that is set at one price. Unlike a Table d’Hote menu, the chef picks the three courses in a Prix Fixe menu, whereas a Table d’Hote allows customers to pick and choose their set of three courses.
  • Tasting Menu: A collection of a certain number of small courses that serves as a customer's entire meal. Tasting menus can be tweaked to fit dietary needs or created anew if the same customer is dining again, giving them a whole new tasting menu experience.
  • Beverage: A list of a restaurant's drinks. This is often cocktails, wine, beer, and other alcoholic drinks sold a la carte, or the menu can be displayed on the wall at coffee shops or juice bars with their list of options.
  • Dessert: A list of desserts, like a beverage menu it is often separate from the regular menu and sold a la carte. It is usually presented along with the beverage menu again for after dinner drinks at the end of the main meal.
  • Wine Captain’s Book: An extensive beverage menu that covers each wines history and features so guests have a better understanding of how they would like to pair their drinks with their meal.
  • Children's: This menu often has more limited choices and incorporates bright colors and activities. It is often disposable for easy clean up.

Ways to Display Your Menu

When looking for restaurant menu cover ideas and considering the most appealing way to display your menu that will best sell your food, consider the setting of the restaurant and the style of dining. Is your restaurant formal or casual? Sit down or counter order? Are you looking for a specific menu cover design or type? Do you need a menu you don’t mind throwing away? See the below to help you find the right way to display your menu based on your needs!
Clipboard with a daily lunch menu attached

Menu Holder

  • Often made from wood, metal, or cork
  • Makes it easy to swap out daily menus
  • Can be used as a check presenter
  • Ideal For: bistros, cafes

Displayette / tabletop tent menu

Displayette / Tabletop Tent Menus

  • Made from wood, acrylic or leather
  • Many viewing angles and takes up little space
  • Can be used to advertise specials and events
  • Ideal For: casual dining

Menu sign chalkboard with drinks listed

Menu Sign / Board

  • Can be dry erase boards or chalk boards
  • Easy to clean and change day-to-day
  • Magnetic menu boards allow for hanging ads and pictures
  • Ideal For: cafes, fast food, food trucks

Plastic menu cover with red lining

Menu Covers

  • Typically made of vinyl
  • Offers protection to menu and easy to clean
  • Better for lengthier menus
  • Ideal For: diners, casual dining

Disposable paper menu

Disposable Menus

  • Made from paper
  • Offers convenience and easy clean up
  • Better for smaller and daily menus
  • Ideal For: bistros, food trucks

Brown leather bound menu book

Deluxe Menu Covers

  • Made of leather or hardboard and have LED deluxe menu cover varieties to light the menu in darker settings
  • Provides an upscale, more professional look
  • Great for lengthier menus
  • Ideal for: fine dining, casual dining

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