How To Design a Coffee Shop Menu

Ever remember the first time you went to Starbucks? You probably ogled at the varied menu and the foreign languages. A coffee shop menu says everything about the coffee shop itself. As with everything else, first impressions last. 

In designing a coffee shop menu, you should think of both the content as well as the aesthetics of the menu. Here are a few do’s and don’ts to guide you.


  1. Make sure all the basics are there. Coffee, tea, café latte, espresso coffee and cappuccino, are the basic concoctions, and all coffee shops need to have them. Also, the equipment for these types is the easiest to get.
  2. Find a theme. Some coffee shops try to cram everything into the menu. This results in an overly crowded and overly diverse menu. This is okay if you've been in the business as long as Starbucks has been, but if it’s a new coffee shop start with a few variants then expand to different flavors. This way, you keep the menu dynamic while giving the customers enough time to appreciate each flavor. You also won’t need to invest in too many coffee machines.
  3. Decide on a customer base and try to specialize your menu depending on that. If the shop is supposed to be a quiet place to relax and work, try to keep away from the shakes and the frapuccinos. If it’s a hip place for teenagers, try to put in a few fruit shakes. It’s better to aim for only one target customer while you’re starting out, and then once you’ve got your roots down; expand to a wider customer base.
  4. Pastries go great with coffee. Add a few sweets into the menu and you’ll be all set. Make sure to put in sugar free for the sugar watchers, high fiber food for the fit junkies and comfort food for those seeking to relax. Try to vary the menu once in a while. A cake of the week or a limited edition pastry now and then could also help keep the menu more dynamic.


  1. Keep it simple. People don’t want to read a novel, but they do want enough information. If it’s a menu that you hand out to customers, try to put in a quick and easy description of what the drink contains so that they won’t have to ask the waiter. Don’t make the descriptions too descriptive either; one to two sentences should be enough.
  2. A brief description of the place could be put in there for the customers to read while they wait for their coffee cup. A description of the owners, the inspiration for the place or even a bit of coffee trivia. But keep this away from the list of food and drinks. You can put it either on the front or back page so the customers won’t feel forced to read it.
  3. Try not putting in too many pictures of drinks, instead put in pictures of pastries or of the shop itself. A drink’s content is kind of hard to describe in a picture, sometimes customers can get confused with the picture and content. So instead of drinks, try to put in pastry or furniture pictures. They’re colorful, exciting and descriptive.

Other tried-and-true design tips are taught in online design classes; if you really want your menu to turn heads, it's a good idea to sign up for a layout or a color coordination class or two.


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