Top 10 Small Restaurant Menu Ideas

Top 10 Small Restaurant Menu Ideas

Muhammad Abdullah

Most restaurants have the same old and conventional menu, which is just fine. However, if you want to make your business more successful and survive in the industry, you need the best menu ideas for your small restaurant!

But before proceeding, you need to know that a restaurant’s menu is more than just a list of dishes! It’s a vital tool for restaurateurs to communicate with their customers, setting the tone for their visit and getting them to buy not just your most tasty dishes but also the most profitable ones.

Top 10 Small Restaurant Menu Ideas

Here’s a list of the top 10 small restaurant menu ideas that’ll elevate your menu and help your restaurant business soar.

  1. Select a Theme to Reflect your Brand

Do you own a Chinese restaurant- or are you passionate about Thai food? Whether you are running a burger joint or an oriental restaurant, make sure your menu reflects your cuisine style and your brand!

In your menu, add your company logo. If you use a specific color scheme or typography on your brand’s signage, social media, or website, you should also apply it to your menu. In addition, your menu should reflect the theme and tone of your restaurant. For example, the menu for a casual taco joint should look very different from the menu for a fine dining spot.

  1. Follow the Golden Triangle Trick

You should use a design that lets you highlight your most profitable dishes. For this, you need to follow the golden triangle. It is a design trick according to which people first tend to focus on the center of a page, then move their eyes to the top right, and lastly to the top left in a triangle pattern.

Therefore, you must place your popular items at the center or top of the menu, so that guests will see them right away. Besides, it’s a brilliant idea for letting them order an item from the main course rather than going just for an appetizer. Furthermore, you can list your high-profit items as chef’s specials or guest favorites.

But before applying this trick, remember that your menu should look neat and very easy to read, and customers can navigate it easily.

  1. List Seasonal-Only Items Separately

Almost every restaurant offers seasonal items that are only available during certain times of the year. Make sure your menu has room for these dishes so your customers know they can’t order something out of season. That will save you valuable time and allow your customers to order more conveniently.

For example, don’t include a ‘Seafood’ section in your menu. Choose a few main seafood dishes available all year round for the main items. Leave the other seafood items for the ‘Seasonal Only’ section.

  1. Add Updated & Accurate Descriptions

Never list something that your restaurant no longer offers. For instance, update your menu if you recently made changes to your soup items, update your menu. Likewise, add any new ingredients or items that you’ve introduced recently.

One of the best small restaurant menu tips is to write inviting descriptions of your dishes. List the ingredients in an appealing manner so they can entice your customers. Plus, take original photos of your dishes when adding pictures to the menu. There is one more thing to remember. Write accurate descriptions. For instance, don’t promote your items as gluten-free if they contain flour.

  1. Keep Your Menu Short & Sweet

Keep in mind that your restaurant menu should not look like a book. Make sure that it reflects the number of choices you offer. But don’t burden your customers with too much information as it may make choices among the items difficult. For example, if you're doing a tasting menu with ten different dishes, this might be too much to include on one menu.

Instead, categorize your offerings on the basis of food types or main courses. Moreover, make a seasonal menu of different dishes that you can change according to the weather.

  1. Use High-Quality Delectable Images

Photographs of dishes on menus have been contentious for years, as evidence is conflicting about whether they work. However, according to studies, having photos of each dish in an online menu substantially skyrocket online orders for that dish.

Capture high-quality, flavorsome photos of your food items and use them in your menu. The right photos will make the conventional menu more unique and impress your potential customers. In addition to that, add original photos and avoid banking on stock images to promote your restaurant.

  1. Design an Aesthetic, Interactive Menu

People like tempting, engaging menus that are versatile enough to grab everyone’s attention. So, construct an eye-catching menu that draws guests in, whether a mobile-optimized online menu or a physical one.

Apart from that, when a person explores your restaurant menu for options for his family, he should be able to easily find something for everyone in the family.

Additionally, you can experiment with a few menu designs before settling for something that works for your customers.

  1. Don’t Copy Your Rival’s Menu Design

Nobody wants their original work to be copied. Be it you or any other person. So, avoid copying a popular restaurant’s menu designs and layout. Try to create a menu as winning as possible and focus on what makes your restaurant business unique. By this, you can pay more attention to elements like typography and logo colors.

What’s more, according to an interesting finding, omitting currency signs while creating your menu can encourage customers to order more items.

  1. Include Restaurant Contest Ideas

One of the best restaurant contest ideas is the classic contest that asks users to like a post, follow the account, and tag friends in the comments in order to win a prize. You can ask customers to share pictures of their meal or dining experience at your restaurant to win rewards.

To keep your customers engaged, ask them to create their favorite dish from your menu and post it on their Instagram profiles, or post a photo and ask them to comment with their best caption to win a gift card. Since 60% of customers read reviews prior to going out for a meal or ordering online. Therefore, you can even ask your customers to leave a review to win.

Other contests include merchandise giveaways, themed competitions, time-sensitive contests, new menu naming contests, etc.

  1. Get a Restaurant Management Software

When trying to promote your small restaurant business, you must integrate it with the best online ordering system. As soon as your business takes off, you’ll need a comprehensive ordering system with a bountiful range of features. Moreover, the idea of using restaurant management software would be brilliant for you to improve restaurant customer experience.

There is various online ordering system for restaurants you can choose from. If you’re looking for such an online system that can help you in numerous ways, you can rely on bookmyorder. With this online ordering system for restaurants, you can:

  •   Create your menu for free
  •   Configure your online menu
  •   Start taking orders immediately

Closing Thoughts

With our top 10 intelligent menu ideas for small businesses, you can maximize your restaurant’s profits and Bring in Big Business!



  1. How do I create a small restaurant menu?

To create a small restaurant menu, first, understand your intent for the restaurant. Next, write out all menu items, categorize them, set price points, and add enticing descriptions to each item. Then, to design the menu, remember the golden triangle, keep it simple and readable, avoid dollar signs, choose a color scheme and typography that reflects your restaurant brand, and add high-quality original photos. Lastly, proofread and print it.

  1. What are some popular menu items for small restaurants?

Chicken pot pie, burgers, pizza, fried chicken, chicken nuggets, spaghetti with meatballs, mozzarella sticks, mac and cheese, and apple pie are some of the most popular menu items for small restaurants.

  1. How do I balance variety and simplicity on a small restaurant menu?

To balance variety and simplicity on a restaurant menu, you need to:

  • Know your target market, their preferences and budget, and get feedback from your existing customers to comprehend their needs.
  • Optimize your menu layout by highlighting high-profit items, using subheadings, descriptions, and labels, and don’t put more than 7 dishes under one category.
  • Use suggestive selling techniques by using inviting adjectives and modifiers and offering bundles, combos, or add-ons.
  • Train your staff to know the menu inside out, suggest alternatives, pairings, or extras, and ask customers open-ended questions.
  •   Monitor and evaluate the performance of the menu and its upselling and cross-selling strategies.
  1. How often should I update my small restaurant menu?

It is recommended that you update your menu whenever possible, at least once a year.

  1. Should I include seasonal or rotating items on my small restaurant menu?

Yes, you should include seasonal or rotating items on your menu. It helps you reduce food costs as you’ll be sourcing your ingredients from local producers. Besides, it increases creativity and attracts new customers since you’ll be innovating and serving tastier and healthier food. And most importantly, it boosts your order profits significantly.

  1. How do I cater to dietary restrictions on a small restaurant menu?

Use icons and clearly state which menu items are gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, low-carb, dairy-free, and other dietary restrictions, offer customizable options to fit your customers’ dietary needs, and use substitutes for ingredients that are common allergens or sensitivities. In addition, train your staff to know the menu inside out so they can assist guests better. Plus, get feedback from customers via restaurant survey questions to improve their dining experience.

  1. What are some cost-effective menu options for small restaurants?

International dishes, hamburgers, pasta, side dishes and appetizers, breakfast foods, specials, seafood, salads, and soft drinks are some of the most cost-effective menu options for small businesses.

  1. How do I price my menu items for a small restaurant?

To price your menu items, use the following equation:

Price = Raw Food Cost of Item / Ideal Food Cost Percentage

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