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How to Create Beverage Menus that Increase Profit

Your beverage menu is a direct statement about the kind of experience your customers can expect to have1 at your establishment which makes menus a key marketing tool – and a key to increasing profits. Introducing a cocktail menu or redesigning an old one can lead to an instant increase in overall sales2 and an effectively designed menu will increase earnings by guiding customers to order items you want them to buy – profitable items. So, how do you do this?

Your business probably has a particular ambiance or theme. Your drink menu should be consistent with this – color included. This makes your menu part of the total experience. For instance, if you are a high-tech trendy establishment don’t design a menu with old fashioned fonts and a wild west look.

Place Profitable Items in Key Menu Positions
According to an L.A. Times article3, on a two page menu the customer’s eye first looks above center on the right – a great place to put a profitable item. On a one page menu the point right above the center is the first place most people look. And since people more easily remember things they see first or last consider carefully what you place at the beginning and end of each category.

Profitable items generate the highest rate of return. Often they are not the most expensive. If you place your most expensive items in key positions you have to ask yourself what kind of impression that will make on your customers. You don’t want them experiencing “sticker shock.”

Word Choices
Ideally, you want your customers to decide how yummy something will taste before they even look at the price. A copywriter can be a valuable asset when it comes to describing your drink items in a way that makes people want to drink them. Descriptors should be specific and simple – they should be savory. For instance, saying something is great means very little compared to saying something is infused with lime juice.

Specialty and Seasonal Drinks
Showcase those specialty and seasonal drinks, and any new items. If your menu does have new items it’s not a bad idea to create a new menu cover, too. This instantly alerts customers to the fact that there are new selections for them to consider.

Quality Photographs and Quality Printing
Photographs can be effective – when they are of professional quality. One look should make that customer want to taste that drink or sample that appetizer. So don’t skimp on the photos themselves or on the printing of your menus. In the customer’s mind a menu of outstanding quality implies drinks and food items of outstanding quality. Because positive visual impact is so critical take the time to find a high quality printing company you like to work with.

Marla Teich, of Phillips Distilling, says successful menus are straightforward and eye catching. Her business is constantly redoing their menus to make them better, more effective, and therefore increasing profits. She feels any printing costs are well worth it because menus are a “Small cost for big impact.”

Marla has been using Next Day Flyers as her printer for many years and says the thing she likes best is their quick service and the fact that they always get things done right. Next Day Flyers, a California-based printer and mailer, is on the cutting edge of developing high-impact, affordable industry-specific items such as menus, table tents, and neck-hangers. And Next Day Flyers is not just a name; it’s their motto.* So your customers can have that newly designed menu in their hands – and you can watch your profits start to rise – fast.


  1. Adams, J. Prepare to Print and Profit: What Should You Come to Expect From Your Printer?
  2. Ursin, C. (2003). That’s the ticker: a cocktail menu including signature drinks can spark beverage sales, profitability, customer loyalty and – of course- higher check averages.
  3. Komaiko, L. (2001). Los Angeles Times, Writing Up Menus:It’s a Subtle Art

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