Mouth-Watering Menus: 4 Ways to Write an Enticing Menu Description

Apr 2, 2018

Restaurant Menu Ideas

This article was updated in December 2021.

A boring restaurant menu is like a blank billboard – it fails to catch the eye and engage your customers. While your menu’s primary function is to allow visitors to select and order a meal, your menu descriptions and structure can also be a valuable tool for marketing, upselling, and increasing positive brand awareness. So how to write a menu description that will wow your diners?  Here’s how:

In a world full of endless options, customers largely will base their decision to visit your restaurant on your menu. (Although 22% of adults are more likely to choose a restaurant if it has a custom mobile app.) A poorly written and designed menu can reflect poorly on your restaurant, no matter how delicious your food is. If you’re at a loss on how to write a menu description, check out these menu ideas for writing enticing descriptions.

1. Don’t skimp on the adjectives.

Would you rather eat a juicy cut of buttery skirt steak with seasoned vegetables or a steak and vegetable platter? The same menu item can evoke very different reactions based on how it’s described. In this sense, your menu descriptions are less about explaining and more about evoking a mouth-watering reaction. Utilizing adjectives such as sizzling, flavorful, tangy, etc. can stimulate the senses and create a craving.

Pro Tip: Spending extra effort to tastefully describe your higher-priced menu items will lead to more sales!

2. Know your brand voice.

Your brand voice and tone are combinations of your restaurant’s style, vibe and customer base. Ensuring that you write in a voice that supports your restaurant’s brand personality is essential to creating an effective menu. For example, if your restaurant is a lively, brunch eatery with endless mimosas located in a college town, your menu descriptions and brand voice shouldn’t be fancy and buttoned-up. It’s also safe to say that you shouldn’t name a 5-star restaurant menu item, “Rockin’ Garlic & Cheese Surf Fries.”

3. Be selective with pictures.

restaurant menu descriptions

Photos on print menus aren’t as necessary as photos online–after all, with a waiter to describe the special of the day, or the smell of something delicious at the next table over, it’s easy for your diners to know what to expect when they place their orders.

However, when customers aren’t already sitting in your restaurant, pictures can play a huge role in how much diners order, and how often they come back for more. With online ordering, menu photos give diners a strong understanding of what they’re about to eat, and that gives them confidence in checking out. Just make sure that you’re selective about which photos you include, choosing well-lit pictures that focus just on the menu item rather than a busy background. The goal is to pique diners’ interest, not to distract them.

Follow our tips for taking and sharing restaurant menu photos (without the expensive equipment!).

 4. Optimize your menu for the web.


We live in a technology-driven world, especially when it comes to ordering food. As mentioned above, most customers will view your menu before ever making the decision to eat at your restaurant. As this is mostly done online, optimizing your menu descriptions for the web and mobile is vital to maximizing your visibility.

Revise your online menu descriptions to be shorter and more impactful while utilizing target keywords that’ll increase the chances of users finding you. Think of your online menu as an advertisement for the original – the primary goal is to convert rather than to describe.

Pro Tip: ChowNow’s online food ordering platform seamlessly transitions your customer from your online menu to placing an order. All you have to do is accept the order on your ChowNow provided tablet and get to work!

Your restaurant menu is an important piece of your overall marketing strategy. It informs, converts and drives business so it’s important to show it the TLC it deserves. From tasty adjectives to vibrant imagery, your menu holds the power to take your restaurant business from an underdog to neighborhood hotspot in no time!