Restaurant Menus: 6 Print Ideas for Dine-in & Take-out

As more restaurants open up, expand their services and offer indoor dining again, one thing’s for sure: menu printing is more essential than ever. From dining in to taking out, brunch to happy hour, your restaurant menus need to do a lot with a little. So we’ve compiled the top features (and design ideas) for our six types of custom menus that can coordinate with your space and strategy and help get you back to normal.

Brochure restaurant menus

Restaurant Brochure Menu: 100# Coated Matte White Text, Z Fold, 11 x 17″

Brochure Menus

Where to begin? With a classic that can do it all: Brochure Menus. Substantial and sophisticated, they’re perfect as dine-in menus and easy to modify as your offerings change. Plus, with more than 10 brochure folding options, your menu layouts are endless. 


Online printing with Smartpress means you get to design dinner menus with mouthwatering imagery, lunch menus with staff shout-outs and happy hour menus with branded logos. Add a UV coating or Soft Touch laminate to your paper stock of choice and you’ve got a complete catering package.

Whether you’re a sidewalk cafe or do flawless fine dining, consider not only your menu, but also its presentation. Try skipping the fold and designing a flat menu that slides into a sophisticated clipboard. You’ll love how quick and easy it is for you to switch out menus for each service and your guests will love the textured feel of stocks like felt weave and linen.  


Tip: If you add Soft Touch laminate to your restaurant menus, stick to one or two folds or no fold at all. With more than two folds, your menu won’t lay flat.

Take-out menus

Take-out Menu: 100# Coated Matte White Cover, half fold, 11 x 8.5″

Take-out Menus

As your service pivots and evolves, Take-out Menus are a restaurant lifesaver. Whether they’ve become a recent addition or have been part of your business from the beginning, single-use menus are perfect for slipping into pick-up orders or mailing to neighborhoods in your area.


And even though they’re disposable menus, your design matters just as much. With coated and uncoated stocks and full-color, double-sided printing options, even your take-out menus can stand out. You can also add a protective coating to elevate your design even more (without elevating your budget).

Looking for a way to create a really memorable menu? Make an eco-friendly impression with our 100% recycled stock. Its flecked look and feel blows standard take-out menus out of the water. And while you’re at it, add perforation so customers have an instant coupon as they carry out.


Tip: Check out our mailing and addressing services to find the one that’s right for you. With list processing, variable data printing and mailing permit information, Smartpress is the online printer that can personalize each piece and simplify the whole mailing process.

Waterproof menus

Waterproof Menu: Synthetic 14 mil with flat matte UV coating on both sides, 8.5 x 14″

Dine-in menus

Waterproof Menu: Synthetic 14 mil with flat matte UV coating on both sides and 1/8″ rounded corners, 11 x 17″

Waterproof Menus

Even outside of a pandemic, Waterproof Menus are a good idea. Easy to sanitize after each use, our synthetic menus feel more like paper than plastic and protect your delicious details without the need for coating or laminate. Durable and thick, these reusable menus hold color exceptionally well, so don’t be afraid of image-heavy designs.


Consider waterproof menu printing when you want a more permanent option or if your selections don’t change often. We recommend adding rounded corners to your restaurant menus to soften your design and flaunt a premium finish. 

But our favorite layout idea? Printing a QR code. If you’re not ready or able to print full menus yet, a QR code can link to your online menu. All you have to do is adhere it to each table and sanitize between guests.


Tip: To clean/sanitize your synthetic menus, use a soft, non-abrasive cloth with mild soap and water, a mild cleaner/disinfectant or both. We do not recommend using harsh chemicals, as they may compromise the integrity of the ink. Have more questions about menu printing? Get answers in our FAQ section.

Saddle stitch menus

Saddle Stitch Menu: 80# Uncoated Smooth White Cover throughout, 6 x 9″

Saddle stitch menu printing

Saddle Stitch Menus

With Saddle Stitch Menus, you’ve got more room to showcase a wider selection of items and tell your restaurant’s story. And thanks to cover and text stock options, you get to experiment with the look and feel of your entire menu, inside and out.


Saddle stitched menus add elegance to any service and let you include staff favorites and pairing notes from the chef. From food to wine to your origin story, there’s room for it all as you print your menus and create a complete brand experience. 

We recommend upping the ante on appetizers and diving into desserts with “chapter” pages that separate courses. These pages give you a chance to lead into each section and make your content and imagery super scannable for customers.


Tip: Ready to reorder your restaurant menus? It’s simple:

  • Log in to your account. 
  • Select the job you’d like to reorder from the Your Orders page.
  • Click the Reorder button. 
  • Review and/or change your job specifications.
  • Choose the same artwork or upload new files. 
  • Submit your order.
Spiral drink menu

Spiral Coil Menu: Synthetic 14 mil, 5 x 11″

Spiral coil drink menu

Spiral Coil Menus

When you really want to show off your selection, do it with Spiral Coil Menus. With a sturdy plastic coil in black or white, your custom menus can feature as few or as many pages as it takes to show off your entrees, cocktails and more. That coil ensures the pages fully rotate and lay flat for an easy viewing experience, too.


Totally customizable, spiral bound menus can even be waterproof – just choose our synthetic stock and you’ve got drink menus perfect for the bar. Use your own menu template or design something unique that creates a branded look customers will recognize.

If you’re looking for water resistance and protection without a synthetic stock, choose interior and exterior stocks that you can laminate (the dropdowns on the product page will tell you which ones are compatible).


Tip: Add digital laser cutting via Custom Quote to create tabs between each section of your restaurant menus. This lets guests easily flip to drinks, appetizers, entrees and desserts.

Backlit menu

Backlit Menu: Backlit Film, 13 x 19″

Backlit Menus

And lastly, illuminate your restaurant – literally – with Backlit Menus. The ultimate contactless option, backlit menu boards should be designed like posters, with content legible from a distance. That means big, thick fonts that stay visible throughout your layout.


Whether you install them behind the bar or as part of a window display, you’ll want to design your menus with contrast so the light really shows through. Think light backgrounds with dark fonts and vice versa.

Customize yours in any size to coordinate with your existing lightbox and give your full-color food photography the spotlight. Our backlit film makes color truly pop, so use your most decadent, indulgent shots – just be sure your font is legible if you’re imposing text over them. 


Tip: Have specific menu items for each service? Use Versions to print multiple menus with different content! One of our most convenient online printing services, Versions lets you create menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner in the same size and in the same order.


Need other print collateral for your restaurant? See how to do it right with Profit with Print: Restaurants’ Marketing Meal Ticket.



Brochure Men Design by Andrew Sabourin, Graphic Designer & Illustrator, Gravity Switch
Take-out Menu Design by LH Formal Design
Nacho Mania Waterproof Menu Design by Antonio Colin
Zeus Waterproof Menu Design by Casey Krawczuk, Zeus Brewing Company
Saddle Stitch Menu Design by Designed for Le Cuvier Winery by Lindsay Masten, Creative Director of Web & Wolf
Spiral Coil Menu Design by Spiros Stogiannis Easy Pie
Backlit Graphic Design by Nicole Bullock

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