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Apr 12, 2010 07:03 AM

How many pages should a menu be?

In the 80's it seemed like every restaurant I went to had a "book" for a menu, 10 pages was not uncommon. Now, it seems like most places have a few pages. In your opinion, how many pages is the correct amount? In my findings I think that most restaurants could keep there menu down to 1 - 2 pages pretty easy. Thanks for your input.

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  1. The "correct" amount should be the number of dishes that the restaurant can competently cook and maintain stock for. For, say, a Chinese restaurant where they are basically shuffling round a set number of ingredients into different recipes, then I have no problem of seeing page after page of menu. Similarly, if I'm eating in a high-end place where there is likely to be a large brigade in the kitchen, then a large choice is also likely to be OK

    That said, I am at my most happiest where I'm offered a single page menu - 4 or 5 items per course.........erm, on reflexion, actually I think I'm often at my most happiest when I'm offered a no-choice menu such as a recent Michelin starred meal where I didnt know what I was going to eat until each plate was served to me.

    1. Most (if not all) of my favourite places have brief, one page menus that change regularly based on what's available at the market (plus a separate wine list). I also prefer the daily menu printed on a sheet of paper over reading the choices from a chalkboard. I find the old school multi-page menus a turn-off because I prefer places where the kitchen is focused on offering a few well-executed dishes instead of trying to be everything to everyone.

      2 Replies
      1. re: ms. clicquot

        I hate the "chalkboard" piece as well. You read it while waiting, but by the time your seated, read through the menu and then try to remember what was on the chalkboard, you are confused all over again. A printed daily special in the menu is much preferable.

        1. re: ms. clicquot

          I would say four pages, and then a separate one for desserts and dessert wines, plus a wine list, that is well-maintained.


        2. Two...maximum of three! ~~ If you have daily specials...Print them out!!! ~~~ Can't stand wait staff rambling through four specials at light speed....What the H.E. double L did he say????

          1 Reply
          1. re: Uncle Bob

            Agreed - two - *maybe* three. And yes - please - print out the specials menu - create an easy template where the specials can be deleted from previous day's specials list and the new specials input on a daily/weekly basis.

            And the bar cocktails/wine/beer menu should be separate. Or at least I like it when it is.

          2. The correct number of pages is enough pages to list all the dishes a restaurant offers, printed in a font large enough to read under the normal lighting condition of said restaurant. No more, no less. Don't want a page that says "this page intentionally left blank."

            1 Reply
            1. re: PeterL

              Font large enough to read. Seriously agree!

            2. 2 pages, and without any of the classic tricks. Wine menu separate.