Digital Menu - Inexpensive Alternative to the Classic Menu

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Restaurant prices change every few years, or even more frequently if the market situation makes it necessary. Instead of printing menus on paper and having them bound in a folder every time, modern restaurateurs are increasingly choosing the digital alternative. Find out here what the advantages and disadvantages of digital menus are and what is important when creating them.

Advantages of the Online Menu

An online menu offers several advantages for restaurateurs. Not only does it save money by eliminating the need for printing and binding. It can also be updated very quickly should the pricing or composition of the offers change. Matching the digital checkout, the digital menu can therefore be an effective way for restaurateurs to reduce costs and save time.

The digital menu also relieves the service staff. This is because the electronic version is usually installed on a tablet with a direct ordering function, so that service staff no longer have to write down orders by hand and enter them into the cash register. Instead, the order is entered directly at the table and is then forwarded automatically.

Some restaurants also allow their customers to make their selection directly on the tablet, which is handed out when they arrive at the table. The process is also advantageous for guests, as waiting times are significantly reduced through direct digital transfer to the bar or kitchen. When guests compose their meals at the table via a tablet order card, they also have the feeling of being in a modern gastronomy.

Many customers even tend to spend more when ordering directly from the tablet than when they have to call the service staff to order each time. Waiting times are thus significantly reduced, which is reflected in higher turnover figures. Especially when ordering drinks, turnover can often be boosted significantly by introducing a digital menu.

Digital Menu - Disadvantages

As with many other digital innovations, the digital menu also has disadvantages. It does not convey the classic feeling of holding a real menu in your hand. Guests who attach great importance to tradition and style prefer to browse through a real menu and order personally from the service staff after making their selection.

Tablets for digital ordering must be purchased and kept up to date through regular updates. The acquisition costs and running costs should therefore not be neglected. In addition, new devices are necessary every few years and service staff generally need more time to learn how to use them.

Here you will find an overview of all the advantages and disadvantages in table form:


  • Time- and cost-efficiently renewable
  • Ideal for the catering industry with changing dishes and frequent price adjustments
  • Saves time when ordering and passing on to the bar and kitchen
  • Customers get food and drinks to their table faster
  • Increase in turnover
  • Modern impression
  • Versatile entries for allergies and intolerances possible
  • Easy to disinfect
  • Can also be operated with QR codes via customer smartphones


  • Real menu has more style
  • Often reflects the character of the location less individually
  • Impersonal ordering process
  • Technical failure possible
  • Higher purchase costs for tablets
  • Updates and maintenance necessary
  • New service staff must first learn how to use the system

Create a Digital Menu for Free?

Would you like to create a digital menu so that you no longer have to print out cards when the menu changes or prices change? There is a suitable software for this, with which you can succeed.

Whether you use freeware to design menus yourself or invest in professional software depends on your design preferences. Digital menus are available free of charge or as paid software at mostly fair prices. If you want to use freeware to design your own menus, tools for static menus are the most suitable. If, on the other hand, you want the menu to function interactively, there are special software programmes that have been developed for the restaurant industry.

Instead of a digital menu for free, you can create your menu with a purchased software that offers many functions for interactive menu selection and numerous options for individual design.

Alternatively, you can also use the free online menu card design and then add it to the menu on your website as a digital menu. This gives guests an insight into the menu before they enter the restaurant.

Create a Digital Menu - Practical Tips for Implementation

The menu is the figurehead of every restaurant. Accordingly, you should invest a lot of care in the design and elaboration of the menu items. With the following tips, you can create a digital menu that will convince your customers in the long term and encourage them to order.

Professional Design

The quality of the digital menu decides what the customer orders and how he perceives your gastronomy business. Therefore, be sure to include your brand and your concept here and adapt the digital design very individually to it.

Simple Handling

The structure of the menu items should be as simple and clear as possible so that even less tech-savvy guests can quickly reach their goal. The menu should also not appear overcrowded. A small but fine selection is usually the better choice.


The address should fit the target group. Therefore, choose a creative language for the names of the dishes that best suits your main clientele and invites them to try them out. If the names of dishes sound very tempting and modern, they will be ordered more often. It is important that everything on the digital menu is also easy to read. Don't forget the older guests, who often have problems with a very small font. Dishes that are not commonplace should also be well explained to avoid misunderstandings.

Take Special Features of the Diet Into Account

Whether vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, without glutamate or other ingredients - special requests can often be well taken into account in the digital menu. Suitable dishes for allergy sufferers can also be clearly identified in this way. Those affected by intolerances and allergies should be able to see at a glance which dishes are suitable. It is even better if guests can give the chef a hint via the digital order so that he or she omits the corresponding food during preparation.


Turnover can be boosted if restaurateurs rely more on digital tools. Especially establishments with frequently changing prices and dishes can switch to digital menus. For restaurants with an older or very traditional clientele, a classic version can still make sense. After all, the feeling of leafing through a real menu and choosing a dish at your leisure is not available with the digital alternative.

Florian Kassel

Florian Kassel

Online marketing expert

Florian Kassel is the founder of the online marketing agency Digitale Trends and has been dealing with all topics related to digital marketing for more than 10 years now. Whether search engine optimization (SEO), social media or brand building.

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