When Alice Ng called my office to inquire about our availability to help her with her Chinese restaurant menu she said, “Where are you?” When I said I was in Wisconsin she said, “Oshkosh?” When I told her yes she said, “I’ll be at your office in an hour; don’t leave.” Then she went on to tell me how weird it was that we were both within just a few miles of each other and she really wanted to take her menu to the next level.
When she showed up, she brought her restaurant menu with her and explained that she had read my articles and had tried to set the restaurant menu up as best she could on her own. However, she confided that the printer she was working with wasn’t much help. And sure enough, her menu was laid out roughly the way I recommend, although some of the items were not in the right place, and some of the prices were a little off. But otherwise, she had done a decent job on her own.
Much of good design is about having good taste, and Alice and Doris Ng have that and then some. Their Asian Grille Menu is not at all like the typical Chinese restaurants that litter the American countryside, and it’s not like the chains, either. The interior colors are soft and warm, with earth tones mixed with pastel purple and green. When you walk into the restaurant, you’re greeted with an upscale feel, yet you get the sense that the restaurant is still casual and inviting.
The restaurant menu Alice showed me on that first meeting reflected the interior space pretty well. On the downside, because neither Alice nor Doris is a designer, there were some obvious flaws in their restaurant menu design. There was a bamboo illustration running through some of the menu items, making it difficult to read. And the highlights were darker than the background rather than lighter, making these important items harder to read rather than easier.
October 7, 2013
Menu Design Engineering