How to Write Menu Descriptions: Expert Tips and Techniques

Are you tired of writing the same old boring menu descriptions that fail to entice your customers? Do you want to learn how to craft compelling and mouthwatering descriptions that will have your patrons ordering more dishes than ever? If so, you’re in the right place!

In this post, we’ll share expert tips and techniques on how to write menu descriptions that will leave your customers craving for more. Whether you’re a restaurant owner or a restaurant’s content creator, this guide will be your ultimate source of inspiration. So, let’s dive in!

What is Menu Writing?

Optimize Your Menu
Optimize Your Menu

Menu writing is the art of creating written descriptions that effectively communicate the food and drink items available for order at a restaurant or other dining establishment. It involves using language to convey the flavors, textures, and overall experience diners can expect from each dish or beverage.

Good menu writing is essential for any restaurant hoping to attract and retain customers, as it significantly impacts the overall dining experience.

A well-written menu can make a restaurant’s offerings sound more appealing, while poorly written descriptions can leave diners confused or uninterested in ordering particular dishes.

In short, it requires a blend of creativity, culinary knowledge, and marketing skills to craft descriptions that are both mouthwatering and showcase the restaurant’s unique offerings.

Importance of Menu Descriptions

A Woman Reading The Menu Descriptions
A Woman Reading The Menu Descriptions

Menu descriptions play a crucial role in the success of any restaurant or dining establishment.

Here are five key reasons why menu descriptions are essential for any restaurant or dining establishment:

  1. Entice customers: Well-crafted menu descriptions can make the food and drinks sound more appealing, enticing customers to order particular dishes and beverages.
  2. Provide important details: Menu descriptions provide customers with important information such as ingredients, cooking methods, and serving sizes that help them make informed choices.
  3. Communicate brand and style: Effective menu descriptions can communicate the restaurant’s unique brand and style, setting it apart from competitors and enhancing its reputation.
  4. Avoid confusion: Poorly written descriptions can be confusing, unappetizing, or misleading, leading to disappointed customers and lost sales.
  5. Engage the senses: Using descriptive language to evoke flavors, textures, and aromas, menu descriptions can engage customers’ senses and emotions, heightening their overall dining experience.

Therefore, restaurants and chefs must invest time and effort into crafting high-quality menu descriptions that accurately represent their offerings and engage customers’ senses and emotions.

Menu Writing Mistakes You Should Avoid

Writing menu descriptions sounds like a piece of cake, but there are common mistakes you must avoid to make the result flawless. Keep away from those mistakes by following these tips!

Don’t use complicated menu description words

A simple menu description
A simple menu description

While fancy menu descriptions might seem like a good way to impress customers, they can do more harm than good. It can confuse customers and make them unsure of what they’re ordering, but it can also come across as pretentious or overly formal.

Instead, it’s best to stick to straightforward, easy-to-understand language that accurately describes the dish or beverage without overwhelming the customer. This means avoiding obscure culinary terms or foreign phrases that customers may not recognize.

Thus, we recommend using descriptive words that clearly convey the dish’s flavors, textures, and ingredients in a way that’s easy to understand.

Eliminate currency signs

Restaurant's Menu In Front of The Restaurant
Restaurant’s Menu In Front of The Restaurant

Surprisingly, currency symbols can be visually distracting and may interfere with the flow of the menu, making it harder for customers to scan and understand the prices quickly.

study revealed that customers spent significantly more in restaurants whose menus don’t have dollar signs than those with. This shows that a simple and clear pricing format that uses numbers only is more likely to appeal to customers and encourage sales.

By eliminating currency symbols, you’ll reduce visual clutter, improve readability, and can avoid negative associations that some customers may have with particular currencies or symbols.

Don’t ignore your audience

Two Young Customers Ordering Food with Interactive Menu
Two Young Customers Ordering Food with Interactive Menu

Always prioritize your audience in writing food descriptions on your menu. Thus, you must write descriptions that speak directly to the customers reading them.

If your descriptions don’t resonate with your audience or fail to communicate what each dish is about clearly, they may choose to eat elsewhere.

It’s important to understand your audience and their preferences to avoid this. Consider factors like age range, cultural background, dietary restrictions, and taste preferences.

Use language and phrasing that appeals to them, and highlight the aspects of each dish that you think will be most appealing.

Don’t make the menu too long

Menu & Booking Items for Restaurants
Menu & Booking Items for Restaurants

A menu that is too long can be overwhelming, causing diners to become indecisive and potentially frustrated. It can also be difficult to manage for the kitchen staff, who may struggle to keep up with preparing a large number of dishes.

Consider limiting the number of items on your menu to avoid these issues. Focus on offering a few well-crafted dishes to impress your customers and showcase your unique offerings. You can always rotate items in and out over time based on seasonality or popularity.

Another approach is to categorize your menu into smaller sections, such as appetizers, main courses, and desserts, to make it easier for customers to navigate and find what they want.

Stay away from negative words

A restaurant menu
A restaurant menu

Negative language can create a negative association with your dishes and may turn off customers.

For example, instead of describing a dish as “not too spicy,” focus on the positive by saying that it has a “mild spice level” or “subtle heat.” This creates a more positive impression of the dish and makes it sound more appealing.

Similarly, avoid using words like “limited” or “restricted” to describe ingredients or preparation methods. You can say “Seasonal” or “Fresh” instead of “Limited availability”.

Positive language can also help create a more inviting and welcoming atmosphere for your restaurant or food business. It can make customers feel more excited about trying new things and more likely to return for future meals.

How To Write a Powerful Menu Description

After hovering through the common mistakes in writing menu descriptions, it’s time to start writing a powerful one. Check out these step-by-step!of how to write menu descriptions!

Start with a catchy headline

A catchy menu headline
A catchy menu headline

A strong headline grabs the reader’s attention and sets the tone for the rest of the description. It should be creative, engaging, and give the reader a sense of what to expect from the dish.

For instance, you can use “Decadent chocolate lava cake” or “Mouthwatering BBQ pulled pork sandwich” to describe the food. Make sure to keep it short and sweet.

Using descriptive and enticing words, you can create a sense of desire in the reader and encourage them to order the dish.

Highlight the origin of your ingredients

A menu highlighting the origins of the ingredients
A menu highlighting the origins of the ingredients

By providing information about the origin of your ingredients, you can create a sense of transparency and trust with your customers. It also shows that you care about the quality and authenticity of your dishes, which can set you apart from other restaurants or food services.

For instance, you can use “Wild-caught Alaskan salmon, grilled to perfection and served with a side of roasted vegetables” or “Locally grown organic kale and quinoa salad, dressed with a citrus vinaigrette and topped with toasted almonds and dried cranberries.”

This way of describing adds more detail and makes the dish seem more appealing and flavorful.

Nod to well-known or local regions

Clam chowder
Clam chowder

Nding to well-known or local regions in writing a powerful menu description can add a sense of authenticity and uniqueness to your menu.

By incorporating regional or cultural references, you can showcase the uniqueness of the area and create a connection with your customers. This can make them feel like they are experiencing something special and memorable.

For example, suppose you’re a seafood restaurant in New England. In that case, you can use “Our signature New England clam chowder, made with creamy broth and fresh clams” to nod to the region’s culinary heritage and make the dish more appealing to customers.

Similarly, if you run a Mexican restaurant in California, using “Authentic California-style fish tacos, topped with fresh avocado and cilantro-lime slaw” to describe it can create a sense of authenticity and local flair.

Stimulate the senses with rich menu descriptions

Buffalo Chicken Wings
Buffalo Chicken Wings

Detailed and inviting menu descriptions can entice customers to order dishes they may not have otherwise considered.

Use descriptive words that highlight the textures, flavors dishes’ and aromas of your dishes. Foead of simply writing “grilled chicken with vegetables,” you could write “succulent grilled chicken paired with crisp, seasonal vegetables, drizzled in a tangy lemon vinaigrette” to give customers an idea of texture, flavor, and even aroma.

It’s also important to use vivid language that paints a picture in the customer’s mind. For example, instead of just writing “chocolate cake,” you could write “decadent chocolate cake with a rich, velvety ganache center, topped with a dusting of cocoa powder and fresh raspberries.”

Additionally, get creative with your menu descriptions. For instance, try “smooth and creamy hummus with warm pita chips and za’atar seasoning” instead of just “hummus and pita.” to highlight the dish’s unique flavors, spark curiosity, and encourage customers to try it.

Appeal to different taste receptors


When writing menu descriptions, it’s important to appealing receptors to create a well-rounded sensory experience.

You can achieve this by using descriptive language highlighting your dishes’ sweetness, saltiness, bitterness, and umami flavors.

For example, you might describe a dish as “tangy and sweet, with a hint of heat” to appeal to both the sour and sweet taste receptors. Or, you might describe a dish as “rich and savory, with a touch of salt and umami” to appeal to the saltiness and umami flavors.

Share a backstory

What is Typical Middle Eastern Food?
Middle Eastern falafel, hummus, and pita

Sharing a backstory in your menu description can add depth and personality to your dishes. This backstory could be about the inspiration behind the dish, the origin of its ingredients, or even the recipe’s history. You can describe a dish as “Inspired by a trip to the Middle East, where the fragrant spices and bold flavors left a lasting impression.”

By sharing a backstory, you can give your customers a sense of the care and intentionality that goes into each dish, creating a more personal and meaningful dining experience.

Use high-quality, appetizing photos to attract customers

Content of the QR Code Menu
Content of the QR Code Menu

Humans are visual creatures, and seeing a mouthwatering photo of a dish can be enough to entice someone to order it. Here are a few tips for taking great food photos:

  • Use natural light whenever possible, as it creates a more realistic look.
  • Experiment with different angles and compositions.
  • Consider the background and props, using simple and clean settings that don’t distract from the dish.
  • Edit your photos to enhance their opacity and clarity, but be careful not to overdo it.

Using high-quality pictures, you can give your customers a sneak peek of what’s to come and entice them to try your dishes.

Optimize for mobile

Have a Sleek, Functional Online Menu
Have a Sleek, Functional Online Menu

Optimizing your menu description for mobile devices is crucial in today’s world, where more and more people are using their phones to browse websites and make online purchases.

To optimize your menu description for mobile, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Use a responsive restaurant menu design that fits different screen sizes and resolutions.
  • Keep your descriptions concise and easy to read.
  • Use high-quality images that load quickly without taking up too much space on the screen.
  • Use a legible font size and typeface, ensuring the text is readable on smaller screens.
  • Ensure your menu is easy to navigate, with clear categories and intuitive organization.

By optimizing your menu description for mobile, your customers can browse your menu and make informed decisions easily, even when they’re on the go.

Write as if you’re speaking to someone face-to-face

Crafting a restaurant menu
Crafting a restaurant menu

Use conversational language to engage the customers and make it as if you’re talking to them face-to-face. Here are a few tips for writing in a conversational tone:

  • Use contractions (e.g., “we’re” instead of “we are”) to make your writing feel more natural and informal.
  • Avoid using overly technical or jargon-heavy language that might confuse the reader.
  • Use short sentences and paragraphs to make your writing more digestible.
  • Write in the second person (e.g., “You’ll love our signature burger”) to directly address the reader and make them feel part of the conversation.
  • Inject your writing with personality and humor to make it more engaging and memorable.

Using a conversational tone can make your menu descriptions feel more approachable and relatable, creating a more personal connection with your customers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are menu items headings?

In the context of a menu, menu item headings are the categories or sections that group related food or beverage items together. They serve as a way to organize and present the menu options to customers.

What is the list of menu categories?

Some common categories in restaurant menus are appetizers, soups and salads, main courses/entrees, vegetarian/vegan options, side dishes, desserts, beverages (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic), specials, and dedicated kids’ menus.

What is the sample food description?

A sample food description is: “Grilled Atlantic Salmon: Fresh, succulent grilled salmon seasoned with aromatic herbs and spices. Served with lemon-infused quinoa and sautéed vegetables, it’s a flavorful and healthy seafood choice.”


In conclusion, writing restaurant menu descriptions is not just about listing ingredients and prices. It’s an art that requires creativity, attention to detail, and knowledge of your audience.

By following the expert tips and techniques on how to write menu descriptions we’ve shared in this post, you can create food descriptions that entice customers and tell a story about your brand.

So, next time you sit down to write your menu, remember to think outside the box and let your imagination take over. Or, contact SEO for Restaurants now for further professional assistance in crafting your menu!

Andrea Abbondanza

Andrea Abbondanza, born in Milan (Italy) and now a proud Australian citizen, is a passionate food lover and the dynamic CEO of With his rich culinary background and deep understanding of online marketing strategies, Andrea helps restaurants and cafes around the world elevate their online presence. His journey from Italy to Australia has infused his work with a unique blend of European flair and Aussie charm, making him a go-to resource for cafes and restaurants looking to elevate their digital presence and grow their businesses.

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Seo for Restaurants is a boutique agency specialised in Google Business Management, SEO and Local SEO for restaurants and Cafes.

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Andrea Abbondanza is a passionate food lover and the CEO of Seo for Restaurants. With his rich culinary background and deep understanding of online marketing strategies, Andrea helps restaurants and cafes worldwide elevate their online presence and increase

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