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Menu Design...Pictures or no pictures??

Poll Results: Do you prefer a menu with pictures?

Poll expired: Feb 8, 2004 This is a multiple choice poll
  • 9% of voters (1)
    Yes, I like to have a general idea of what I'm eating
  • 0% of voters (0)
    Some pictures are okay
  • 63% of voters (7)
    It depends on the menu
  • 27% of voters (3)
    No, I'd get upset if the meal did not match the picture.
11 Total Votes  
post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Well, I am now in the process of redesigning our in-house menu as my new design for our take-out/delivery menu has increased sales by 40%. My mil wishes to separate the breakfast menu from the lunch and dinner menu so as not to present the customer with an intimidating tome.

My design for the breakfast menu has pictures for our 8 Breakfast Specials, since I believe that there really is no way to misrepresent eggs, toast and homefries. So far the customers love the demo that I presented and our spanish workers also like it because they do not have to wait for the jefe to have a free moment in order to get a check made up.

The only naysayer of the bunch would be our newly hired cook who is straight out of the academy and questions my use of pictures. I, for one, find it more tedious to explain to a customer exactly what homefries are. So, what would be your thoughts on this matter? Pictures or no pictures? For those of you who don't remember me, we have a diner. :)
Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
Reply
post #2 of 14

Re: Menu Design...Pictures or no pictures??

Ahh for the good old days of being a fresh, "green" know it all, straight out of school! :D
I can see the new guys point in a different situation. I don't think it would be proper to go to Charlie Trotters place for instance and see pics of his dishes, his reputation preceeds him. In the case of a diner though I think you might want to stand out from the run of the mill ones and a couple of random pics should help. I don't think you need to have a pic of every dish, perhaps any that might be a little more off the beaten path, a special and regular menu item here or there, just to show the quality of the product you put out.
Everybody likes pictures of food if they have a purpose. Let the menu decide and the pics serve a purpose. If not save the cost and don't just use them because you can. Just one opinion.
BTW congrats on the increase in sales!
My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
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My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
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post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks Chrose. There will only be 8 pictures of the specials. Since I also print the menus I am not adding to the cost or creating a busy confusing menu by adding pictures of everything we have. I just want to give a general idea or theme to the menu. Fill in some white space to bring the eyes to our most profitable section.
Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
Reply
Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
Reply
post #4 of 14
Jodi! great to see you again. :D

As long as your cooks can come pretty close to the way the pictures look, it's a great idea for your kind of place. Classic, even. And even if the plates end up looking different, how many customers are going to remember exactly what was shown on the menu by the time they receive their order?


PS: I tried PMing you just now, but got the Mailbox Is Full message. :(
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi Suzanne,


I think this is a glitch, as I have also tried to send you a PM and was informed that your mailbox was full.


Jodi
Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
Reply
Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
Reply
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Well I have been witness to hundreds of orders of our breakfast dishes and they look the same as the photo every single time. I can't see how eggs, homefries and toast can not look like the photo.

It all depends on the establishment and the menu or a combination of both.
Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
Reply
Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
Reply
post #7 of 14
It doesn't matter that the pictures conform to the food or vice versa. What's important is what they both convey. The point of the picture is to convey something like "yummy, that looks good" or "mmmm, I can smell the bacon." The picture sets the expectation, the food, when it comes, fulfills this expectation.

Think of it like you're selling a car. You're not selling that particular car, you're selling the expectation that the car will accelarate quickly, drive well in the snow, carry all your belongings in one single trip, etc. Nobody gets mad because the car they purchased is different from the one in the ad. The reason people get mad is because their expectations aren't being met by the car they purchased. It doesn't go as fast as they claim, or that girls really don't fall at your feet when they hear you drive a Yugo.

I'd like to know how your new menu design increased sales by 40% though. That's fantastic! Care to share how you did it?

Kuan
post #8 of 14
White space in a menu is a good thing. White space, well used, is a more powerful eye leader than a picture.

I would think low to none would be best for pictures. For me, most menu pictures are less appetizing overall.

Phil
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #9 of 14
I thinks it depends on the situation. There are times I wish my menu had some pictures. I don't have a standard/expected menu for what usually goes on in my area. When I first opened (I do takeout/delivery only), I tried to explain everything with lots of words. I found people didn't read many of them. A few pictures would have been nice, but I print thousands of (apparently) disposable menus every few months, so color isn't really an option. And pictures don't convey a lot without color.

On the other hand, when I am the consumer, I get kind of annoyed with too many pictures on a menu when the product is obvious, and I don't really need the additional explanation.

I think that's just me, though. Personally, I like the white space, too. I think the general public reacts to pics pretty well. If they were affordable for me, I would probably use them in my particular business. Even though they annoy me when I go out, I think it just might be because I have been in food for so long that it's hard for me to see that things that seem obvious to me aren't always so obvious to nurses or lawyers or whoever.

RF
"'If I watch out for rocks
With my eyes straight ahead,
I'll keep out of trouble
Forever,' I said."
Dr. Seuss, "I Had Trouble in getting to Solla Sollew"
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"'If I watch out for rocks
With my eyes straight ahead,
I'll keep out of trouble
Forever,' I said."
Dr. Seuss, "I Had Trouble in getting to Solla Sollew"
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post #10 of 14
Good pictures on a breakfast menu are fine. Bad pictures look very tacky. I print my own menus and keep it to what my printer does well and cheaply- black and white. For a picture to really do food justice, I would get a printing company to do a professional job and get the menus laminated or buy covers to keep replacement cost down. Professional printers can handle a heavier cardstock paper that will look right with color pictures, IMHO.

Good to hear from you again. Congratulations on the business uptick.
What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
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What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
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post #11 of 14

Background

Leave the pictures to the Embers and Perkins of this world. Set your pic's faded into the background of your page. Then if you want you can send it out to any of a number of companies and they will template it for you and produce as many pages as you would like at nominal cost to you. Then you can just print the menu on the printed sheet and save yourself a lot of printing costs. And if you want to highlight items on your menu then I would suggest using framing, this draws the eye faster than any picture (exception porn).http://www.cheftalkcafe.com/forums/n...hreadid=11099#

The Crazychef
post #12 of 14

menus

I am looking for inexpensive menu options. Does anyone have any suggestions?
post #13 of 14
There are many ways to do it; some are inexpensive and they look it :o , some a little more expensive but making a much better impression on the customer. The cheapest is probably to print your own on your computer. Every day if your menu changes, or whenever a batch gets too disgusting to hand out. You can use Clip Art or your own designs; if you use anyone else's artwork, you need to get permission.

But there are zillions of options for having others print them; regular printers can do it, and there are companies that specialize in menus. Have you looked in the phone book?

(And I'm moving this thread to the Professionals board.)
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #14 of 14
I am 100% for it - and you have a proof - your 40% sales increase. A picture is worth a thousand words - it answers a lot of FAQs ("how big is this?", "how many pieces in that?", "is it sliced or crumbled?", etc. etc.), it helps turn table faster by reducing patrons' decision-making time (seeing is faster than reading desriptions), it imposes the kitchen to keep the consistency of presentation ("as seen on the picture"), it helps foreigners, it up-sells.. And, for the Diner environment - it's perfect!

We're doing it as touch-screen menu display at the restaurant entrance (or in the lobby) - eMenuBoard - so people can see any item they touch. The whole concept is based on pictures of food, cocktails, desserts, events, decor.
Providing customers with more information - is better customer service. So, the picture IS "more information"! How is it worse than a waiter describing the specials (not always perfect, btw), or showing a tray with desserts?
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