MAY: The Importance of Menus in Restaurant’s Brand Identity

In this age of expected nanosecond responses to questions and search engines identifying restaurants by their branding, it becomes more critical than ever to understand that the menu is your most vital instrument of conveyance to your clientele. Your menu defines your business.

What is the importance of menu? Are you Pan Asian, French, Latin American or American classic? Are you farm to table? Are you using natural or organic ingredients? All of these questions can be addressed quickly and efficiently in your menu wording.  Your menu should tell the story of your vision or brand. Try your best to stay focused on your particular brand and don’t allow yourself to add items to your menu just because they are popular if they do not identify with your brand focus. I find it interesting when I see items such as mozzarella sticks on a Mexican menu or quesadillas on the menu at a seafood restaurant. Think about items you have seen at other restaurants that may strike you as odd and then examine your own menu and think about perhaps replacing any items which may not define your concept with items more fitting for the concept you want to represent.

Use proper wording and descriptions that will make your guests want to find out how each particular item tastes. The more you rouse their curiosity, the likelier they will be to come back to try a different dish that had interested them. Getting a customer to try you once is easy, bringing them back for multiple visits is the challenge.

Some wording that has been recently noted as “in” or “out” for menus are listed below:


Small Plates Starters/Appetizers
Authentic- Ethnic Ethnic – Inspired
Breakfast Taco / Fritatta Omelet
Premium High End
Straightforward Whimsical


One common mistake is overcrowding your menu. Over seven choices in any category is going to confuse and frustrate many of your customers, forcing them into the “I’ll just have what I had last time” scenario, which limits their exposure to your overall offerings as well as may get you a few negative comments on social media. Social media can make or break a business, not just restaurants and hotels, though the hospitality industry is particularly vulnerable to it due in large part to sites such as Urban Spoon, Yelp and Trip Advisor. Cheers!


Chip Welfeld

Merchants Market

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