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The Importance of Cafe Menu Design for Your Coffee Shop Business

  • 3 min read

Cafe Menu Design: Visual and Emotional Appeal

Menu design can be a crucial element of your cafe or coffee shop business, as it often has a direct impact on customer experience and sales.

A well-designed menu can attract and retain customers, increase customer satisfaction, and improve your business’s overall performance.

Visual Appeal of Your Cafe Menu Design

Chef’s will tell you that “we eat with our eyes first“.

With a visually appealing and easy-to-navigate menu, you can make it easier for customers to find what they are looking for and make informed decisions about their orders.

A layout of menu options that makes it easy for customers to find and order their preferred items. Helps reduce frustration and increase the likelihood that customers will order more than initially intended.

Using your menu layout to highlight your most popular or profitable items, can boost sales and encourage customers to order items that benefit your cafe business financially. Designing with strategic placement, using eye-catching design elements help you to guide your customers in making buying/ordering decisions easily.

Your cafe menu design is also an opportunity for you to build on your cafe or coffee shop’s brand identity. By designing a menu that reflects your business’s unique style and values, you can create a cohesive and consistent brand experience for your customers.

If you decide to include photographs, consider hiring a professional food stylist or photographer. Alternatively, pick up a book from Amazon and learn the basics yourself, so that your food looks ‘drool worthy’ (or what GenZ call “instagrammable”).

Food Photography by Nicole Young
Picture Perfect Food by Joanie SImon

A great ordering/buying experience creates a positive first impression and encourages customers to return to your cafe or coffee shop.

Emotional Appeal of Your Cafe Menu Design

The language you use to describe your menu items can also impact buying decisions and sales. According to the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University, using descriptive words on your menu can boost sales by 27%.

Consider introducing descriptive language that highlights the key desirable elements of ingredients in your menu options, and using adjectives to add interest and appeal. GrubHub provide some handy lists and tips for writing menu descriptions with emotional impact.

Turn a simple “chocolate milkshake” into a “sinfully delicious chocolate shake”, or a “steak sandwich” into a “fresh toasted mouthwatering steak sanga”.

Think about the types of customers you have coming to your coffee shop or cafe and using language that is most likely to appeal to them.

Just as professional athletes and business executives are completely different in their attitudes and they way they speak. Retirees in a leafy inner city suburb will have different attitudes and expectations to those retirees on holiday in a small quiet beachside town.

How you’d describe a cup of tea for each of these four example customer types might be completely different. For example…

  • Professional athlete – Refresh & Recover Tea
  • Business Executive – Mind Sharpening Tea
  • Suburban Retiree – Tea fit for a Royal
  • Beach Holiday Retiree – Honest Cuppa Tea

Give it a try and see what happens with your customers and their ordering/buying decisions.

Cafe menu design is an important element of your coffee shop business. By designing a visually appealing, easy-to-navigate menu that reflects your brand identity and highlights your most popular or profitable items, you can attract and retain customers, improve customer satisfaction, and boost sales. 

By considering layout and emotional appeal, visual appeal and descriptive language, you can create an effective menu that supports the success and growth of your cafe business.

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