How To Write The Best Menu Item Descriptions

So you’ve developed the base of your menu and decided which menu items to include, but what about your item descriptions?

Written by
Rachel Yeo
April 22, 2021
Image by stories

So you’ve developed the base of your menu and decided which menu items to include, but what about your item descriptions?

Often overlooked, item descriptions can serve as a point of difference in any menu design. A menu with great item descriptions will differentiate your cafe or restaurant in a cluttered industry, especially when it comes offering dishes others may not have.

From our team at Menuzen to yours, here are our tips for writing eye-catching item descriptions that your customers will be drawn to!

Consider The Context

Firstly, it’s important to think about what tone of voice you’re aiming for – which will depend on your target audience. If you’re the owner of a fine dining restaurant, you’ll likely be selling your menu offerings to an upscale market. As such, it would make sense for more professional and formal language to be used in this case.

For example: Pan-seared, dry-aged wagyu immersed in a red wine reduction

On the other hand, menu item descriptions for a takeaway shop, pub or quick-service cafe would command a more informal tone. These types of menus tend to be more straightforward without using unnecessary words.

For example: Beef, bacon and cheese pie

Be Clear And Descriptive

The two main components to mention in a menu item are its core ingredients and cooking method. Yet while you might be excited to tell your customers about the uniqueness of each food item, the last thing you’ll want to do is confuse them. If there is a term your customers might not be familiar with, this may deter them from ordering a specific menu item. Hence, it’s a good idea to provide a quick idea about what it is.

For example: Fresh bread, rosemary-infused olive oil and dukkah (an Egyptian spice blend)

Ideal Length For Item Descriptions

While there is no hard and fast rule about how long your item descriptions should be, it’s usually best to keep it brief with no more than 2 lines of text. This will ensure an effective experience especially on online browsers and mobile devices. Remember, customers will be quickly scanning your menu, as opposed to reading it in-depth!

Using Sensory Words

Sensory language is your best friend when it comes to jazzing up your food descriptions! By playing on the elements of taste, touch (e.g. texture, temperature), smell and sight (e.g. colours, shapes), you can provide customers with an enticing sensory experience to fuel their hunger-driven decisions.

For example: Crunchy cinnamon granola with a sweet, warm berry compote

                     Crispy buttermilk chicken, American cheese and lettuce in charcoal black buns

                     Thai green curry with fragrant jasmine rice

Take Advantage Of SEO-Friendly Keywords

Lastly, menus showcased in a digital format are an excellent way to sneak in highly searched keywords – which will ultimately contribute to your cafe or restaurant’s SEO.

Some of the phrases people search for could be: Gluten-free cafes, vegan Indian restaurants near me, cold drip coffee

Using the above examples, your menu and item descriptions present extra opportunities for you to include the keywords ‘gluten-free’, ‘vegan’ and ‘cold drip coffee’ – and attract niche markets to your business.

Design Your Free Live Menu With Menuzen

With all this said, we recognise that updating your item descriptions on a weekly basis or reprinting menu designs can be a tedious and costly process. That’s why we recommend making the simple switch to Menuzen.

If you’ve ever wondered how to make a menu online, you’re in luck. Menuzen is a menu maker tool that’s 100% free to use – giving you the ability to create your own simple or fancy menu in minutes.

With creative and elegant menu design templates and all changes updating in real-time, the app makes the design and management of your menus a breeze. Thereon, you can share your live menu to your website, social media, through print, QR codes and more.

Sign up for Menuzen for free and design your new menu!

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