15 Bar Menu Design Tips for Creating a Great Drink Menu

15 ActionableTips for Creating a Stunning Bar Menu Design

Creating a good bar menu design is not a task you can do while sipping brandy. As fun as it may be when you think about it, it requires a lot of effort and thought. Hours of proper planning go into designing a menu that will not only sell your drinks but upsell them as well. 

Include these Tips in Your Bar Menu Design

Swear by these bar menu design tips to make your customers order more and increase your bar sales.

1. Tap into Your Customer’s Psychology

Before you start with your bar menu design, think who you will be making it for. First determine who your clients are, what they do, how they usually order. Analyze their needs; are they working professionals or students or would they instead go for something luxurious? Do they typically order fine dining meals or go with takeouts or junk food. Yes, all that can be determined by the type of restaurant or bar you are planning to run but in areas where you expect a mixed crowd, this analysis can be your lifesaver. If it is typically students and working professionals that visit you more then you can be a little quirky with the bar menu design, but cannot go too high end with the liquor you use. If a high-end lot comes under your regular customers then having a classy no-nonsense menu would be better.

Read this detailed piece on how to tap into customer psychology while creating a menu.

target the right audience while creating a bar menu design

2. Don’t Be a Calorie Counter

Research shows that mentioning calories in front of foods and drinks can encourage customers, especially women to order less. No one likes to know how many kilograms they are adding. While it is good to know about a low-calorie option when available, a menu which is a calorie counter becomes a buzz kill. Include a low-calorie drink section instead if you have enough low-fat options to offer.

3. Mention the Ingredients

Make sure that you tell your customers what you are serving them, in the menu itself. While neat drinks, shots or wines go by their names when it comes to cocktails no one likes to play the guessing game. Tell them what you are going to put and what combinations is it going to be in. If a cocktail contains two spirits and just hints of a third spirit tell them so by adding words like sprinkles or glaze. Write the ingredients in a descending order so they know what flavor to dominantly expect in their drink. If it is easy to order for them they will undoubtedly go for seconds!

4. Separate the Food and Drink Menu

No one likes a vast menu that cannot be adjusted on the table. What is worse is a menu that is all over the place so you can’t decide what to order. The golden rule of a good drink menu design thus is to keep it separate from the food menu. Either mention it before the food menu starts or have two different menus. This will encourage your customers to explore your menu and look for new drinks instead of just ordering a sure shot beverage. Table tents work miraculously with season special combos or beverages that you are just testing before finally adding them to the menu.

5. Naming the Drinks

A good bar menu design is one which balances creativity with classics. Understand that naming drinks is an art that is not easily mastered. While some drinks call for out of the box names with many, it is better to stick to the good old practice of not experimenting. It is best to let your bartender’s creativity flow when it comes to naming cocktails because those mixtures require a unique identity. At the same time, you could go for uniquely naming serving sizes of shots like the King, the Queen, and the Pawn. On the other hand, wines do not require any such naming and neither do fixed brand alcohol bottles.

6. Don’t Line It

While a good bar menu design is one that caters to customer’s needs, excellent menu design is one that does so smartly. Do not do not draw dotted lines on your menu that connect it to prices. This stimulates customers to look at the price section and subsequently order the cheapest drink there is. Instead, make your menu prices such that customers do not pay particular attention to them. A great way is not to put the currency sign in front of the price and only write digits.

7. Manage the Price Difference

Make sure that there is a considerable visible difference in the charges of differently priced drinks in the bar menu. If you are charging more for a same sized drink, then there should be a difference between them. This will prompt the customer to go for the expensive drink if he/she likes it or wants to splurge or wants to explore something on the higher end in that section. Conversely, keep a minimal price difference between the same drink of different sizes, so the customer is prompted to go for the largest size there is.

8. Limit Your Options

While having a great selection of liquor and a good variety to offer is something to boast about making sure that you do not overwhelm your customers. Unless your bar is known for a wide range of special liquor, limit your options. It makes no sense for you to have a two-page long beer menu if your bar is primarily not marketed as a beer bar, like the Beer Cafe. A minimum of eight and maximum of around ten options tend to work well.

9. Don’t Forget the Soft Spots

Every menu has some soft spots, where the customer is most likely to pay attention. A good menu design is one that makes full use of these by strategically placing high-profit items there. The first soft spot is the top right-hand corner of the menu. That is where a customer’s eyes first go. The next is the bottom few lines and the top few lines. Place your best creations there but since these are soft spots there is no need to highlight them. Hence now you know where to place your specials and where to stress, so the customer goes through the menu correctly.

10. Color it Right

Color is one of the essential parts of excellent menu design. Bars are no exception to this fact since certain colors instigate specific behavioral patterns that bars can capitalize on. Red for instance, not only gives makes an item stand out but also makes one feel ready to take risks. Blue, on the other hand, makes one feel relaxed and at ease. Capitalize on these emotions based on the vibe and aura of your bar and create a menu that will help you roll good profits.  

use the right colours to enhance the look and feel of your bar menu design

11. Highlight the Right Drinks

Design your menu in such a way that your highlights are placed a little away from the soft spots as they tend to draw all attention. Highlight some new drinks that you have added to specials or combos that you are giving out. Highlighting not only lets you use menu space more efficiently but also breaks the monotony of a single colored menu and so is fresh on the eyes.

12. Visual and Graphic Aid

Take visual aid to sell your drinks in. Add high quality and tempting pictures of your drinks in your bar menu design as they will give your customers an idea of what to expect. They would also instigate them to order if they were dicey about it at first. You could go full graphic in your menu; play with colors, use sketches or even play to themes of old movie posters and newspaper clippings. You could even go for writing out drink options on coasters and placing them on every table.

13. Keep the Menu Updated

There is nothing more annoying than spending time on reading a menu and deciding what to order only to hear that it is not available. It is one thing if it is out of stock because it’s almost closing hours but simply another to realize that the drink is not served anymore. Keep your menu updated, strike out what you no longer offer and add what you have introduced. More than anything else make sure that your seasonal menu is up to date.  

14. Focus on the Material

Even the material on which the menu is printed is essential. If you keep changing your menu regularly, go for a cheaper stuff that you can clip on a board for a good look; that would be economical. If you run a cozy and small place with limited drink options, you could use a board menu. Make sure that the material is not easily spoilt and is easy to clean. No one likes a stained menu, and it does not speak well for the hygiene standards of your bar.   

15. Tell the Origin Stories

If you are serving some local delicacy or some authentic spirit, don’t shy away from telling where it is from. You could mention it in short right below the drink or maybe separate a page for its origin story is it is fascinating. This works exceptionally well with local alcohol. People are likely to order something new if they are genuinely interested in it.

While designing your menu, it can be easy to get carried away and overdo it. Make sure that you avoid these restaurant menu mistakes and plan your bar menu design using the tips mentioned above and watch your bar sales skyrocket. 

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