Restaurant Menu Signs
WHAT IS A RESTAURANT MENU SIGN?
Restaurant Menu Signs are indoor or outdoor signs that showcase your food and beverage items for sale.
They are the largest of the restaurant sign family and usually designed on a chalkboard so restaurants can easily edit menu items, promote LTOs, and save on printing costs.
You’ll most often find them displayed behind the counter or near entrances to attract inquisitive customers.
Avg. Price Range: $200 ~ $900
|Category||Restaurant & Bar, Wedding|
|Sign Material||Chalkboard, Glass +|
|Price (avg)||~ $400|
|Dimensions (avg)||~ 24" x 36"|
|Weight (avg)||~ 10 pounds|
|Frame||None, Wood, Wrought Iron +|
|Best Feature||Engagement, Promotion|
|Market Uses||Restaurants, Bars, Food Trucks, Catering Events +|
|Placements||Wall, Entrance, Lobby, Sidewalk +|
|Portability||Medium - Hard|
|Where to Buy||Custom|
|When to Buy||Anytime|
|Inventor||The Song Dynasty in China.
Menu Signs FAQ
What are some menu writing tips for my restaurant chalkboard?
Here are 14 tips for your restaurant menu:
- Put high-margin items up top.
- Don’t use dollar signs ($).
- Don’t color-code your dishes by category (appetizer, dinner, etc.).
- Use concise item descriptions.
- Add a drink special.
- Include the local farm where you sourced the ingredients.
- Keep the font simple.
- If you must use specifier icons next to items — for spicy 🌶, allergies, etc. — only use one type to keep it simple.
- List specific ingredients and don’t use vague terms like “mixed” or “seasonal”.
- Only use ingredient names your target market understands.
- Add a dish your closest competitor does not have.
- Keep your cocktails and wine in separate menu sections.
- Ask your employees to list their top-3 dishes. Consider putting the consensus #3 at the top of that dish’s respective menu section (it’s their honest opinion).
- Left align your text (don’t center).
BONUS #15: Always use the word “butter”.
What is a common mistake people make on their menu signs?
Repetitive item descriptions.
Too many restaurants take up valuable design space by using redundant descriptions with the same ingredients, or superfluous adjectives or cooking methods (like “fried” or “smothered”).
Make every item description very unique, concise, and clear to your customers.
Why should my restaurant have a chalkboard menu?
There are two primary benefits to having a chalkboard menu:
- Flexibility — you can easily edit your menu’s details and prices whenever you want: add specials, raise prices, remove sold-out (86’d) items.
- Cost Savings — the economics of reprinting menus over and over again is not feasible. With a chalkboard, you completely eliminate printing costs.
Where should I display my menu sign?
Place your menu signs on walls or in A-Frames in open, visible areas near your entrance or above counters or bars.
The main priority is to have your signs clearly legible and readable.
TIP: Avoid placing your menu signs near other text-heavy signs — like boring compliance signs — that may distract your customers. 🙄
What are 3 ways to come up with menu ideas?
Here are the 3 ways many chefs find inspiration:
- Staging (unpaid internship)
- Competitor’s menus
TIP: Don’t rule out the trusty cookbook or food magazine — nowadays they are excellent.
And just a side note, I would stay away from bloggers — many work hard but do not have restaurant experience.
Do menu signs come in A-Frames?
A-Frames are a great way to showcase your new items, especially if you have a fluid menu or run a lot of specials.
TIP: Put your A-Frame outside to get the most attention and improve your chances of attracting foot traffic.
What's an "LTO"?
An LTO (“limited time offer”) is a marketing tactic where you promote a specific or unique menu item for a limited time.
For example, you sell your Pumpkin Latte only in October.
This tactic leverages the psychological concepts of scarcity bias and FOMO (fear of missing out).
Should I have a separate printed menu?
Yes, you should keep a separate printed menu nearby for any menu items that need longer descriptions or a little extra sales push.