Best Menu Paper Type

Person holding printed menu

Last updated on November 20th, 2023 at 09:52 am

The people have spoken. Customers prefer a printed menu. QR-coded menus alienate those without smartphones, and they don’t offer the same hospitality or flair as a classic printed menu. When designing it, there are lots of options for menu paper type, size, and layout. So whether you are creating a single-page menu, double-sided, or bound restaurant order booklets, how can you know which type of menu paper is best for your restaurant? Before we give you the answers you need, let’s take a look at why paper for menu printing is so important.  

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The Importance of Menu Paper

Menu paper may seem like a small choice compared to all the decisions involved with opening a restaurant, but it should not be overlooked. For many customers, it will be their first encounter with the experience you offer. The menu paper type should reflect the brand and ambiance of your establishment. Choosing the right menu printing paper is not solely a logistical decision; it should create the mood for the overall dining experience, ensuring that the first touchpoint for customers is a delightful preview of the meal to come. Although restaurants vary on the spectrum of casual to upscale, all menus should look professional and be durable. 

Understanding the selection process for the ideal menu paper type is fundamental, as this choice sets the tone for both the durability and the aesthetic appeal of your menus. This plays a significant role in the patrons’ overall experience. When you set out for efficient menu printing, it’s crucial to have a clear vision of your restaurant’s theme and clientele. This clarity ensures that each aspect, from the custom design elements to the quality of the printing paper, aligns seamlessly to represent your brand’s story and values comprehensively.

A thriving restaurant’s menus will need to withstand a lot of wear and tear since they are handled by hosts, waiters, and customers all day. It’s a hassle to replace menus just because the paper gets torn. But for some menus, like for takeout or daily specials, plain paper is all you need. 

Considerations for restaurant book papers (whether a single sheet or part of a menu booklet) include the menu paper size, weight, finish, foldability, and lamination. Of course, you’ll also have to think of the design of the menu. Should you include photos? Use colored fonts or paper? What about typeface and spacing? There are so many choices to make when it comes to paper menu printing!

menus laying on a table in a restaurant

Types of Menu Paper

Now that we’ve highlighted why menu paper is a crucial part of your menu design process, let’s talk about paper coatings and finishes. What’s the difference between gloss, uncoated, and matte finish? Let’s find out! 

Gloss makes menus look shiny and smooth. This finish provides well-defined colors for menus with detailed visuals or food photos. But sometimes you don’t want or need the sheen from gloss if it’s not your style. A matte finish is a classy, clean, and professional look, especially if high-definition photos aren’t part of your menu. A matte finish is flat; it does not reflect light the way gloss does. Finally, uncoated paper is plain paper. It is best for single-use menus, like inserts of daily specials.

For the most amount of sheen and shine, choose a UV gloss coating. This will give your menu the look of a postcard. 

Synthetic paper allows menus to be waterproof, tearproof, and disinfectable. They feel laminated to the touch. This protection is useful because customers inevitably spill food and drinks. Plus, tearproof mean childproof.  

How to Choose The Best Menu Paper For Menu Prints

When choosing the best paper for menu prints, take cues from your clientele and cuisine.

A laminated menu, while incredibly durable, is a better fit for more casual establishments as opposed to fine dining. They are easy to clean and childproof. Lamination transforms text paper into something that will stand the test of time.

Text paper is basic, thin paper similar to what you put in a copy machine or printer at home. Heavier weight paper refers to its thickness. For example, 70 lb paper is thinner than 100 lb paper. Thick, premium paper is considered to be 100 lb cardstock and higher. It conveys quality to your customers. 

Thin paper works just fine for daily specials because they are constantly changing. And thin paper brochures are easy to take with you, making them ideal for carryout options and promotional flyers. If your restaurant offers dishes and drinks in a dining room, you’ll want to provide a more durable and permanent menu to your customers.

Do you want your menu to be folded or flat? A flat format is recommended for menus with fewer selections. It can be printed single or double-sided. To accommodate more menu items, choose a half-fold, Z-fold (accordion format with three sections), or tri-fold (booklet format with three sections) style. Whether you print single or double-sided also depends upon how many menu options you offer. 

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Restaurateurs know that menus are not simply for communicating information. They are sales tools that entice customers to order a new dish or try something outside their comfort zone. Well-designed menus make dishes appealing by highlighting a dish with tempting descriptions and enticing photos.   

popsicles in a cup on a printed menu

Tips for Designing Your Menu

How else can a menu excite customers? Always lean into the vibe of your restaurant. If your atmosphere and food are straightforward and casual, your menu should reflect that. Serving a more high-end experience with upscale food? Go for a high-quality premium paper for menus. 

Don’t forget to research menu size paper dimensions as well. Standard restaurant menu sizes are 8.5” x 11” (letter-sized) or 8.5” x 14” (recommended). A 3.5” x 8.5” menu is considered small. This works well for an insert describing daily specials. 4.25” x 11” is the perfect size for a bar menu. You may also choose to customize restaurant menu sizes.

Be mindful that any menu larger than 11” x 25.5” will take up too much space at the table. If it’s too small, it won’t fit all your items, prices, and descriptions. Smaller menus are ideal for dessert options. When in doubt, scope out your competition and find some examples you want to emulate.

As for what’s printed on the paper, think about your restaurant’s colors and the symbols of your cuisine. Choose appetizing colors like red and avoid unappealing colors like chartreuse. Casual restaurants should avoid cursive fonts. Keep logos, font, and branding choices consistent.

The amount of content you need to include on your menu should be a primary factor in your search for the right paper size. Select a large menu paper type if your restaurant boasts a broad array of dishes. This can ensure your menu doesn’t look cluttered and each item stands out sufficiently. Conversely, a smaller, concise menu may benefit from a compact, minimalist paper size that aligns with a simplistic aesthetic.

If your restaurant frequently updates the menu based on seasonal ingredients or trending dishes, consider using standard-sized paper for easy updates and reprints. A medium-weight can be the best paper for menus if you want to balance durability and cost-effectiveness, especially if you need to change out the menu several times a year. Don’t hesitate to switch things up for special events or holidays with a custom paper type or size that celebrates the occasion!

Check out our blog for more on how to design a standout restaurant menu.

Customize Your Menus with Printivity 

As you put your menus together with your selected paper type, finish, and dimensions, use our instant price quote tool. Don’t forget that we offer a price match guarantee. Contact us for help with any printing project, from business cards to branded shipping boxes. 

Printivity brings your business, creative, or academic project to life with quality materials and top-notch customer service. Don’t love it? We’ll reprint it at no cost or offer a refund. Best of all, with Printivity’s fast shipping, the shipping time shouldn’t be a factor in which paper you choose for your menu.


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