First impressions count. And for a Bar or Restaurant, this can mean anything from aesthetics to general ambiance to the friendliness of wait staff. It also likely includes your menu. The menu is the first insight a customer has into your products and speaks to the style & personality of your venue.

We all know we shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover yet it happens. Menu design is important!

Step 1 Choose a style & layout

That complements your branding and the concept behind your Bar/Restaurant. You could start from scratch, however, there are many tools out there to help and I recommend you checkout Canva.

Canva is a free graphic-design tool website that’s simple to use and has oodles of menu templates to choose from. Their drag-and-drop interface and selection of over a million high quality photographs, graphics, and fonts empowers everyone to create stunning mouthwatering menus.

You can also easily share your Canva menu online, post it on social media, and send it directly to your customers via email.

Step 2 Find a reliable print partner

Find a local print shop or search online. It’s important to get samples first as colors, paper weight, and actual size will often differ from what you expect. After you do this once and have found a reliable print partner, this will become a piece of cake.

Step 3 Keep your menu(s) up to date!

It sounds simple, however, it’s often easier said than done. If you have a large selection of wines for instance, vintages change all the time and often without notice (depending on your suppliers). The same is true for costs which can impact your sales prices.

So, how do you keep track of all this? For starters, it’s essential that each sales/menu item is mapped to its underlying purchase product. This is a concept known as menu engineering.

Note on Menu Engineering

Menu engineering allows you to track the profitability of each sales/menu item. Having a robust menu engineering process in place ensures:

  • Each sales/menu item is tied to its purchase product(s)
  • ‘Theoretical costs’ - the costs generated from sales data - are accurate
  • Sales prices are adequate and yield the expected margin
  • Menus are kept up to date – obsolete purchase products are removed and sales prices are updated as and when required.

In some sense, menu engineering can be considered the bridge between purchase data and sales (POS) data. If you have different systems to manage both or two systems that don’t speak to each other, then it’s easy for things to get out of sync and establishing a solid menu engineering process is easier said than done.

At Barsumo, we recommend a dedicated purchasing system (that facilitates stock control/tracking) and a POS that caters to your front-of-house business needs and talks to your purchasing system. This is preferred to an all-in-one POS that trys to do both yet never quite nails the back-of-house side of things.

I will be writing more on this in subsequent articles.


  • Menu design is important! First impressions count.
  • Leverage free tools/templates e.g. Canva
  • Find a reliable print partner
  • Think about ‘menu engineering’ and how to keep your menu/sales items up to date

If you have any comments or questions, please let me know at