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Outdoor menus: information and inspiration with special requirements

Menue Inspiration Article

Every guest will pick up a menu at some time or another. It’s up to you to make sure it leaves a lasting impression.

Menus are like people: first impressions count! It couldn’t be more so for outdoor menus. They must be clean, correct, and visually inviting to make your guests want to stay. Absolute no-gos are: bent corners, stains, spelling mistakes, or shabby bindings.

The best idea is to laminate your menus and keep a regular eye on them to make sure they are always in good shape. You should also instruct your service staff to keep them clean and up-to-date. This naturally all depends on whether your establishment has regularly changing outdoor menus or a standard menu that has to be kept spick and span for weeks or months at a time.

The following basics are important. When buying menus or ordering them from your printer, don’t be a penny-pincher. When choosing your paper quality and lamination, make sure they are strong, hardwearing, and not too light. After all, appealing outdoor menus must stay weatherproof, be resistant to UV fading, and not blow off the table with the slightest breeze.

It actually might be a good idea to have your next outdoor menus designed and made by professionals. Our photo gallery offers lots of ideas and inspirations to stimulate your imagination or awaken your creative talents.

Outdoor menu checklist


  • 1. Keep menus with bent corners or faded paper/cards.
  • 2. Retain menus with grease or water stains.
  • 3. Have spelling mistakes.
  • 4. Provide shabby covers or bindings.


  • 1. Make sure they are weatherproof and UV-resistant.
  • 2. Cover or laminate pages to protect them from moisture and fading.
  • 3. Choose good quality paper or cardstock and inks that won’t fade.
  • 4. Check that handwritten menus are easy to read.


Design: Trends for wonderful outdoor menus

Trend No. 1 Diversity: clipboards & co.

There are countless variations to choose from for outdoor menus on clipboards. Use small, simple, wooden, or plastic boards. Fix menus to them with washing pegs, plain rubber bands, nostalgic metal document clips, or stylish and chic screws. The main point is that the menu stays fixed and can’t blow away.

Trend No. 2 Calligraphy & paper poetry

Calligraphy and details on paper or cardstock are currently trendy in the DIY scene. Menus and specials made with plenty of TLC feature a refined, handcrafted touch. Get it right: classy handwriting is not enough. It must be readable too!

Trend No. 3 Retro look in black & white

A touch of France, a bit of Americana, and a little vintage charm: when the trappings are right, you can make a creative eye-catcher without any need for colours.

Trend No. 4 Rustic with kitchen twine

Simplicity with a touch of class: print a menu on stiff paper or thin cardstock and bind it with red & white kitchen twine usually used for tying joints of meat.

Trend No. 5 Simply delicious: go for fun

Happiness is contagious. Add amusing illustrations or simply wish your guests a wonderful day with “buenos días” or another greeting on your menus.

Trend No. 6 Multifunctional: menus as placemats

Practically perfect. If your menu is printed on single-use placemats, your tables always look smart and your guests receive a neat and clean outdoor menu. You can easily switch them out between guests.

Trend No. 7 Nostalgia: the good old blackboard

Less can be more! Why use so much paper when you can write your menu on a blackboard or slate. Get it right: attractive, clearly legible handwriting, and correct spelling are essential. Don’t forget that it takes quite some time—and peace and quiet—to write everything perfectly on a blackboard. This idea is best for places with only a few tables and a smaller choices of dishes. If you want to use a blackboard in a larger establishment, make sure your blackboard is portable and the waiter can bring it directly to the guests’ tables.

Trend No. 8 Projection: totally paperless

If there’s a nice, smooth wall in your outdoor area, try our high-tech solution and show your menu on the wall with an AV projector. This works particularly well in the evening. You could also incorporate your menu into a slide show with pictures relevant to your cuisine or the history of your restaurant.

Trend No. 9 Triangular or zigzag menu holders

Menu holders (e.g. acrylic) are cool accessories for outdoors. When placed in triangular or zigzag stands, menus are both decorative and stable. They can withstand wind and remain upright without any further support.

Trend No. 10 The charm of pastel colours

Pale blue and rose pink in combination with delicate cream is a look that is both refined and alluring. Print your menu on cards with these different colours and bind them together. Bon Appetit!

Trend No. 11 Premium materials and colours

Premium or faux leather, embossed with a name, motto, or logo is an immediate signal to discerning guests that this is a place where tradition and quality still count. For a chicer menu exterior: try classic white or cream with accents in gold, or use black, shades of grey, and red.

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