Menu Design Considerations: Custom Menu Covers

When designing menus for restaurants, you should consider creating custom menu covers that go nicely with your visual branding, and convey your brand story and personality.

Custom Menu Covers
Custom Menu Covers

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 custom menu covers they hold to the food, of course – to be truly world-class.

Custom Menu Covers

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.

Restaurant Consultant


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