Your Food Truck Menu Board's Colors, Fonts, Layouts, and Descriptions
Your menu board's color scheme and font should reflect your food truck’s concept. For example, if you’re opening a Mexican-themed truck, using vibrant colors, such as red, turquoise, purple, and green, may be good choices for your menu and menu board. These same colors would look out of place on the menu of a crêpe or cupcake truck, though; those types of trucks may benefit from softer, pastel colors.
The same can be said for the fonts you use on the menu. If you’re hand-printing your menu on a dry-erase or chalk board, you have a little more flexibility with the font or style you use, but if you’re planning to use any printed menu materials, be sure to keep fonts within your truck’s theme.
You can use fancy fonts, such as Script or Broadway, for section headers to match your concept, but use a more readable font, such as Arial or Times New Roman, for your menu item listings and their descriptions. You don’t want to confuse or hinder someone from reading your menu because the font is difficult to read.
Don’t select a letter font that’s too small or difficult to read. Your menu needs to be readable for customers without confusing them.
The layout of your menu is also an important consideration. Menus from most restaurants are typically arranged sequentially from sides to entrees then to desserts and beverages. If your menu board has enough room, you should copy this style; any printed menus (and even your website menu page) should definitely use this stylized format.
Having these separate sections clearly identified with bold headings or borders helps customers easily navigate through your menu. And highlighting items with a star or other symbol draws customers to popular or special dishes.
Depending on the amount of space you have on your menu board, consider adding pictures of your food. Be sure to avoid adding too many pictures or busy backgrounds, though, because they can make the menu hard to read.
Your menu descriptions should appear below each item’s name and make a customer’s mouth water. Don’t be afraid to explain what’s in a dish and to use ethnic names to add a bit of authenticity to the item description.
Incorporating geography or local history into a menu item description is also a fun way to make your menu unique. As an example, a Maine lobster roll sounds appealing even if you’re ordering it from somewhere other than the East Coast.
Although customer culinary intelligence has improved over the years with the popularity of television programs that cater to foodies, don’t assume that everyone who walks up to your service window is familiar with all the culinary jargon that you and your staff use.
Using technical terms can confuse and even annoy some customers. Recently popular terms such as al dente or mole, however, add a touch of spice to your menu without overdoing it.
Beware the following when it comes to menu descriptions:
Avoid making descriptions too long. A sentence or two is fine, because you want to intrigue customers. If they have more questions about the menu item, your staff can give further information about a dish or recommend what other customer favorites are. (Besides, long descriptions clutter any design!)
Be sure you and your staff can educate customers if they ask what particular terms mean. Advise your staff not to appear condescending when answering a food jargon question, no matter how simple it may seem to them. This type of attitude can be off-putting and keep a customer from returning or spreading the good word about your truck.