The way your menu looks to the eye and how diners "read" it also plays a part in your restaurant menu engineering strategy. Once you have clarity on the dishes you want to serve, the ingredients you'll use to make them and how you'll price everything, you'll want to lay it out on the page (and/or on a phone screen) in a way that's easy for diners to read. How you do this can also push diners to notice and prefer certain dishes you want them to order.
Design techniques for highlighting specific menu items include putting those items first or last on the menu (where the eye tends to linger), with the real sweet spot being the upper-right hand corner of the menu in most cases. You may also choose to highlight items by adding a small graphic illustration or putting a box or some kind of decorative flourish around it. Or perhaps you use a larger font for a few of the dishes you really want to push, or use a different background color behind your chef specials.
Graphic design techniques like these can and will draw attention to certain elements of your menu. Take note from some top restaurants to see how different businesses approach their menus and see where your eye is drawn and what you're inclined to order from the menu alone. And put that knowledge to work on your own menu.
As 2022 proves to be yet another challenging year for restaurants — exacerbated by high inflation, continued supply-chain issues, and a shrinking workforce — some factors are still in your control. And using restaurant menu engineering to streamline your menu and pricing is an excellent place to start.