Menu covers can run anywhere from $2 each for reduced quality vinyl slip covers to $75 or more each for hard bound designer covers. The famous Burj Al Arab in Dubai presents its menu in an eel skin wrapped book with a large and beautiful Mother of Pearl inset in each. If I had to guess I’d say those were around $300 each (so for a 150 seat restaurant that’s $68,000 with overruns). At The Breakers, the fine dining restaurant L’ Escalier uses $300 Versace flatware and the dining room chairs are upwards of $1,000 each. These restaurants appeal to some of the world’s wealthiest people who expect every touch-point of the restaurant – from the door knobs on the entrance to the menus they hold to the food, of course – to be truly world-class.
Naturally, in these environments, one can spare little expense – especially when it comes to the weight, touch, balance, design, and material they put in their hands to make their selections. It is a reflection of their brand. On the other end of the spectrum, a vinyl slip cover also communicates a brand and it may say exactly what is intended. Vinyl says “economy” whereas mother of pearl says “indulgent luxury”. That’s the key though – every touch-point of your restaurants must communicate the brand from the menu covers to the way the phone is answered. Should you use a very fun a whimsical menu cover, or mother of pearl, or just print out a new menu each and every day on a quality paper in the back office – the answer is always rooted in the brand personality, brand promise, brand positioning, and brand story.