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The tricks of good menu design

Menu Design Matthew Clark

Your drinks menu is the most important tool to communicate your drinks offering and pricing to customers. Sure, it needs to be clearly visible and quickly and easily accessible, but also has to pull its weight. It’s not just a menu, it’s a tool for maximising your profits. Menus should encourage the consumer to purchase the most profitable drinks and make you more profit.

This is where Menu Engineering comes in. It’s a deliberate and strategic design code that our team applies to menus. In our studies, it’s been shown to increase in drinks sales. There are 4 main drivers behind the concept that can be used on any drinks list.

1. Psychology

This involves consumer perception, capturing the buyer’s attention and emotion. For example, you could make the first item in any section should be the most expensive. This is called a decoy and assists the other items in the menu to all look reasonably priced, and the consumer will be more open to ordering.


  • Use shorter evocative descriptions to draw the customer to the product.
  • Highlight wines by the glass and your most profitable products.
  • Organise wines into styles to make the customer decision easier.

2. Marketing and Strategy

Promote and position wines in prime selling hot spots. Promoting the items that you want to push, such as the more profitable selection or seasonal item, easing the customer’s decision and directing them to certain drinks and foods.


  • Use bespoke personal messages "Our Chef recommends this with our steak."
  • Match key items with your food to give the customer a more comfortable choice.
  • Lead with Champagne not Prosecco, don't hide your most profitable drinks at the back.
  • Include wine awards to let the consumer know it is a well-recognised wine.

3. Graphic design

Pick a layout, imagery, and typography suitable to your outlet. The design of the menu is crucial to giving the right impression, getting the appearance right is essential for the design to compliment and feel connected to your outlet.


  • Ensure that all menus from the outlet look visually the same and look part of a set.
  • Include social media channels so that the outlet can keep in contact with the consumer.
  • Use extra space to shout about events, i.e. 'Fizz Fridays' and any other forms of income.

4. Price

This is the last thing the customer should see, the customer should have already decided on what they want to drink before checking the cost. Don’t highlight the price, but don’t hide it either! Use techniques to draw the attention elsewhere. This applies to all drinks not just wines.


  • The consumer is more likely to spend more when pound signs are removed.
  • Highlight wines by the glass using a glass symbol to draw the eye to products, not prices.
  • Highlight your most profitable products to attract the customer to them.
  • Consider a progressive pricing approach to wine to ‘level out’ pricing across your range.

By simply applying a few menu engineering techniques our Design Team is able to turn a traditional looking wine list into a more engaging, informative list that will increase profits, educate your customers and be more visually more exciting to look at.

The Matthew Clark Design Studio use menu engineering as standard, with each and every one of the thousands of menu’s we design and print each year for our customers, as we know it will help increase your profits.

You can find more information about our Design Studio service hereClick here to place an order online now, or here to request an account with us; and don’t forget we’re here to support you with everything you need to ensure that your range is a success, from free menu design and print services to bar equipment

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