How to Write Menu Descriptions on Your Digital Menu

Update:  May 29, 2023
How to Write Menu Descriptions on Your Digital Menu

Your menu is the focal point of your restaurant, and how you write menu descriptions will make or break your menu. It tells your restaurant’s story, explains your culinary strengths, and represents your brand persona. 

Guests pay attention to your online menu before they walk into your restaurant or settle down at your restaurant table, expecting a pleasant dining experience. Research shows that 93% of people read online menus when they choose a restaurant. Thus, crafting your menu descriptions in a way that piques your customer’s interests will help boost your sales. 

Adding a few extra words to your menu description can make a difference. Your customers would even want to try a new dish you’re offering or order the most expensive dish you have that they hadn’t considered at first. It is important to know on how to write a menu for your restaurant's growth.

Menu descriptions matter as they help your customers decide what to order. You don’t have to exaggerate how you describe your dishes; just be authentic and transparent. 

So what is the information you need on how to write a menu for your restaurant?

Let’s dive into this blog to learn more about writing menu descriptions that would help you sell more food and satisfy your customers.

What information should be included on a menu?

menu qr code tabletop tentWhether you have a paperback or digital menu, you must include information to make your menu stand out and be helpful to your customers. Here are some of them:

1. Name of the dish or menu title

Your customers will sometimes read the name of your dish, drinks, or dessert that you are offering, so make sure it pops and is enticing enough.sample dish nameYou can make it exciting yet nostalgic, such as Homemade (dish name) or Anita’s (dish name). No one knows who Anita is, but it sounds more interesting. 

2. Ingredients

You can also emphasize in your menu description the main ingredients you used. You can start with the most expensive and important ones. 

Menu engineers also suggest including ingredients that may cause allergic reactions. Using a digital menu QR code, you can choose from the list of ingredients you can show on your menu. 

This way, your customers will know if they want to indicate not to include a specific ingredient in their orders.

3. Price

Your guests always want to know how much a particular dish is and whether that serving is a large portion or not.

You may want to drop the currency sign and write it as a standalone number in the item price. However, this is case-by-case if most of your customers are tourists who want to know the exact cost.

Also, if a dish is a family-style entrée or has a more significant portion, you may want to add it as part of your menu description.

4. Food modifiers

It is also essential to make the names of your modifiers short and clear on your digital menu.

There are two types of modifiers: text modifiers and menu item modifiers.

The text modifiers include the preference for the cooking preparation, the temperature a diner would like their steak cooked to, etc.

Unlike the menu item modifiers, side menu items can either be included in the price of the main item or have a small upcharge.

Write the correct sizes and prices of these modifiers and their accurate descriptions to make it more transparent for your guests while ordering.

5. Detailed menu descriptions

The menu description includes your “sell” copy and your menu titles or names. This is where you will make each dish stand out to sway your customers to order more.  This is an important feature on how to write a menu for your restaurant.

That is why restaurants of all types and sizes will devote their time to crafting an enticing menu description for the long-term growth of their business.

4 benefits when you write good food menu descriptions

phone browse online ordering pageGood menu descriptions bring many advantages to your business, and these include the following:

1. It helps your customers decide faster

A detailed menu description will help customers choose what they want when ordering from your restaurant or an online menu.

Your customers won’t have to ask more questions of your staff to explain a particular dish, as everything is written on the menu already.

2. Makes the ordering process easier

Having well-written menu descriptions will also help you improve the ordering process. Your guests can immediately decide what food they will order and proceed to order quickly.

If you are using an interactive digital menu, then having menu descriptions will make your customers’ lives easier. 

They can quickly check the allergen warnings and choose their add-ons immediately without assistance from your staff.

3. Boosts your brand’s reputation

A good description of your restaurant’s menu items will also make your brand more trustworthy. It also means you are committed to helping customers whenever they order at your restaurant.

4. Increases your revenue

A well-designed menu description can help you gain more sales. It enables you to upsell your dishes without the need to overwhelm your customers. 

It also influences your customers to order more or to choose the most expensive dish you have. 

That is why there are many ways to create good food menu descriptions to help your menu be more profitable. 

Tips on how to write food menu descriptions on your online menu

menu qr code on top of table

1. Think about your audience a lot

Your diners may have different demographics, and each has food preferences and ways of absorbing information.

For instance, if most of your customers are Gen-Z, you might highlight the health benefits of the food or the organic ingredients you are using in your menu descriptions.

On the one hand, millennials are more likely to explore new flavors and cuisines; hence, you can make your menu descriptions focused on the exciting ingredients and where the dishes originate.

2. Keep it short and straightforward.

Make your menu description detailed yet concise, ideally 140-260 characters. You don’t have to overwhelm your customers by showing all the ingredients of the dishes; a stellar menu description is more than that. 

It should only explain the dish and offer value to your customers as to why they should order it. Long and incomprehensible food descriptions will only confuse your customers. However, if you offer international cuisine on your menu with names people may not recognize, be detailed in your descriptions of what’s included in each dish.

3. Optimized for mobile

Consider the ordering channels through which you will share your menu—for example, QR code ordering and online ordering page on a phoneWith MENU TIGER, you can create your online menu and add menu descriptions optimized for QR code ordering via mobile and online orders.

Online restaurant menus should be designed for easy navigation due to your customers’ small mobile screens. With MENU TIGER, you can create categories your customers can access in one click without scrolling through your entire menu. You can also highlight your popular and recommended dishes so customers can check them out easily.

4. Include cross-selling suggestions

cross-selling option on online ordering pageGuests typically spend 90 seconds browsing your menu before ordering. To help them decide and increase your average check size, try to recommend items that complement the food they’re currently viewing, such as a white wine with their seafood dish.

5. Make it nostalgic

Nostalgic menu descriptions serve as your sales tool to sell more. If you offer dishes with a fascinating history, you can include them in the menu description.

For example, if a dish was passed down from one generation to another, or if it originates from a specific place, you can mention it in the description.

Make sure that your description is credible and speaks only the truth. This way, you can make one of your dishes a legend in your restaurant, which will sway more customers to order it.

6. Use sensory descriptors

You can pique your customers’ interests by using sensory words that describe the texture and flavor of your dishes. Provoke interest by exciting customers’ taste and smell with your descriptors such as:

  • Creamy
  • Zesty
  • Crispy
  • Light
  • Tender
  • Tangy
  • Mild
  • Sweet
  • Flaky
  • Full-bodied 
  • Nutty
  • Succulent
  • Delicate 

Moreover, you can use other words to describe how you prepared the dishes: Toasted

  • Baked
  • Braised
  • Charred
  • Fermented
  • Poached
  • Seared
  • Sauteed
  • Caramelized
  • Whipped 

7. Include references where you sourced your ingredients

Depending on your restaurant’s primary customers, you can also highlight where you sourced the ingredients for your dishes.

For example, it sounds better to say that you have imported seafood or locally sourced key ingredients in a dish.

Menu description examples from different restaurants

Kol Restaurant uses descriptors for the preparation method

kol restaurant used descriptors
Kol Restaurant uses words to describe the preparation method of their ceviche, mole, and pulpo dishes. The restaurant even uses the word “fresh” to describe tortillas. 

Beach House highlights wines and places of origin

menu of beach house
In this menu, Beach House indicates the places of origin of the sparkling wines they are selling. It adds value to their wine list and helps customers know where the sparkling wine selection comes from.
  1. Crown Shy foregoes dollar signs
crown shy menu
Crown Shy opted to hide the dollar signs on their online menu that you can see on their website. They also used descriptors for their dishes, such as marinated, toasted, roasted, and sticky.

Build your interactive menu with MENU TIGER now and start creating catchy menu descriptions

As mentioned earlier, people look into your menu before making a reservation or visiting your restaurant. That is why having a well-crafted online menu that makes a good first impression will encourage more guests to visit your restaurant.

Using MENU TIGER, you can add descriptions to the food items you display on your website and dine-in QR code menu. This way, you can increase sales while enticing more customers to order your food.

To create your QR code menu, visit MENU TIGER now!

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