How Many Items Should I Have On My Menu?

written by

When engineering your restaurant, cafe or pub menu, it’s important to be intentional about the number of items listed on your menu. Read on to find out why: 

The Paradox of Choice

In what American psychologist Barry Schwartz describes as the ‘paradox of choice’, consumers experience confusion when confronted with too many options. This especially applies to food and drink menus. 

When looking at a fancy and massive menu, customers may fear picking the wrong dish and missing out on other options they could have ordered. More often than not, this causes them to pick a ‘safe’ dish rather than venture into new territory. 

By limiting your menu items, you’ll place more confidence in consumers’ minds as they make their way over to the counter.

Quality Over Quantity

It’s an age-old adage, but it holds true for good reason. Having way too many menu items simply isn’t feasible. As St. Louis Magazine suggests, “A restaurant’s menu should contain only as many items as its kitchen can efficiently crank out when fully taxed.”

Moreover, as a restaurant or cafe owner, you’ll want to serve customers dishes that you’re proud of. Try to focus on menu items that sell – as customers are bound to find these more memorable. A handful of signature dishes beats a dozen that attempt to overcompensate for a lack of quality. 

If you’re unsure, just keep tabs on how select menu items perform over the span of a few months. Thereon, you can decide to pull them from your menu if they’re no longer making you profit. 

It’s All In Menu Design

Sometimes, it’s not about how many items are on your menu – but rather, how you sell them through words and visuals. See, an effective menu design won’t just sharpen customers’ decision-making; it’ll also persuade customers to spend a little more on the more lavish items on your menu.

Luckily, our team at Menuzen have already taken this into consideration. We know just how mind boggling the principles of design can be – especially for all you busy, time-poor folk – and we want you to focus on doing more of what you love.

With Menuzen, you can achieve this while saving both time and money. Menuzen is a 100% free menu creator and menu management software, offering masterfully designed templates that translate beautifully online and through print. Not to mention, with all live menus updating in real time, you’ll be keeping customers up-to-date with your latest offerings.

In Conclusion

To recap, there isn't an exact amount of items you should aim to have on your menus. As long as the number is realistic and aptly conveys your restaurant or cafe’s concept, you’re on the right track.

Keep your menus looking creative, professional and clutter-free with Menuzen. You’re only one step away – all you have to do is sign up for your free account

Explore its features on our website:

  • Item Manager
  • Menu Manager
  • Menu Designer

Create and design a menu that speaks for itself!