How Many Items Should Be On A Restaurant Menu?

Learn more about opening a restaurant with our complete guide.

How many items should be on a restaurant menu? This is a question that has been debated for years. Some restaurateurs believe that they should offer as many items as possible, while others believe that they should only offer a select few items. So which is the right answer?

There are pros and cons to both sides of this argument. Offering too many items can overwhelm customers and cause them to make poor choices. On the other hand, offering too few items can limit customer choice and prevent people from finding what they’re looking for.

So what’s the right answer? The answer isn’t simple, but there are a few things to consider when making this decision. Let’s take a look at some of those things now.

Keep It Short And Sweet

: The most important factor to consider when deciding how many items to include on your menu is the amount of time it takes for customers to make a decision. If they are presented with too many options, they will take longer to choose and be less likely to make a purchase. Keeping the menu short and sweet will help ensure that customers can quickly and easily find what they’re looking for.

Offer A Variety Of Options: While it’s important to keep the menu concise, it’s also important to offer a variety of options for customers. This means offering dishes that appeal to all different types of tastes, budgets, dietary restrictions, etc. Offering a wide range of dishes allows customers to find something that suits their individual needs and encourages them to come back for more.

Stick To What You’re Good At: It’s also important to focus on the items that you know you can execute well. Just because something is trendy or popular right now doesn’t mean it should be added to your menu; stick with what you know and are confident in preparing. Offering quality dishes instead of quantity will keep customers coming back time and time again.

Conclusion: The number of items on a restaurant menu depends largely on the individual establishment and what they feel comfortable serving. However, there are some general guidelines to consider when making this decision. Keeping it short and sweet, offering variety, and sticking to what you’re good at are all key factors when deciding how many items should be on a menu.


1. Fisher, K. (2018, October 8). How Many Dishes Should Be On An Restaurant Menu? Retrieved from

2. Vittorelli, A. (2019, April 15). 10 Tips To Optimize Your Restaurant Menu – And Increase Profits! Retrieved from

3. Thompson, F. (2019, February 28). 8 Tips For Designing The Perfect Restaurant Menu – Infographic. Retrieved from

4. Hurdle, J. (2019, April 16). What Restaurant Menu Items Make The Most Money? Retrieved from

5. Schlosser, E.(2018, October 17). How To Create A Winning Restaurant Menu: 9 Tips From The Pros. Retrieved from

6. Ramirez, L.(2018, September 18). 5 Steps To Design An Effective Restaurant Menu For Your Business. Retrieved from

7. Rege, A.(2016, August 5). Restaurant Menu Design: 10 Tips To Create An Appetizing Menu.Retrieved from

8. Kubassek, D.(2015, October 22). The Perfect Restaurant Menu for Increased Profits and Customer Satisfaction.Retrieved from

9. Washington State Hospitality Association (n.d.). Creating a Successful Restaurant Menu – Tips & Advice from Food Service Professionals in Washington State. Retrieved from

10. Delbridge, A.(2011, December 22). Designing a Restaurant Menu – Tips and Guidelines for Success.Retrieved from

11. Albanese, D.(2016, March 7). Eight Tactics to Optimize Your Restaurant Menu – SmarterCX. Retrieved from

12 Harrell, K.(2017, June 2). 8 Menu Design Tricks To Make Your Restaurant Stand Out. Retrieved from

13. Raciti, P.(n.d.). 4 Steps to Create the Perfect Restaurant Menu – The Internet Chef Blog.Retrieved from

14 Uba, S.(2018, May 18). How to Determine the Number of Items on a Restaurant Menu – Bizfluent .



Related FAQs

The number of dishes you offer on your menu will depend largely on the concept and size of your restaurant, as well as your capacity to prepare those dishes. Generally speaking, most restaurant menus have between 10-15 items per course (appetizers, entrees, desserts). This allows for enough variety while also providing manageable options that can be prepared quickly and efficiently.  
It ultimately depends on what kind of restaurant you are running and what type of food you are serving. Longer menus usually provide customers with more options and allow restaurants to reach a wider audience; however, longer menus also require more time and resources to execute. Shorter menus, on the other hand, are typically easier to manage but may offer fewer choices for customers. Ultimately, it is important to strike a balance between the two that works best for you and your restaurant.  
This again depends on the concept and size of your restaurant. It’s important to choose items that fit within your theme while providing a wide range of flavors, textures, colors and cooking techniques. Additionally, make sure that all dishes can be prepared quickly and accurately according to customer specifications. And don’t forget about popular any seasonal ingredients when creating new items for your menu.  
The best way to organize a restaurant menu is by grouping items together in logical categories such as appetizers, entrées and desserts. Additionally, it may be beneficial to separate vegetarian dishes from meat-based ones or highlight particularly popular or signature dishes with their own section. Ultimately, the organization of your menu should make sense and be easy for customers to read and understand.  
Offering combo meals on your menu can be an effective way to attract customers while also driving sales. Many restaurants opt for combo meal options featuring two or more items, such as an appetizer, entrée and dessert. Additionally, offering side items with combos is also a great way to boost sales while providing customers with more value.  
When pricing your menu items, make sure to take into account the cost of ingredients, labor costs, overhead expenses and any taxes or fees associated with selling food in your area. Additionally, it’s important to price dishes competitively so that you can remain profitable without turning away potential customers due to high prices. It may also be helpful to conduct market research on similar restaurants in order to determine appropriate pricing for dishes.  
Offering discounts and promotions can be an effective way to attract customers, increase sales and boost customer loyalty. Consider offering discounted pricing for certain dishes during slow times of the day or offer special promotions based on holidays or seasons. Additionally, many restaurants offer membership programs that provide customers with exclusive discounts and offers.  
Specialty items are a great way to differentiate your restaurant from competitors while providing unique flavors and experiences for customers. Consider offering seasonal specials or signature dishes that showcase fresh ingredients or unique recipes. You can also add vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options as well as kid-friendly items for families.  
The frequency with which you update your menu will depend on the size and type of dishes you serve. Generally, it is a good idea to switch up seasonal specials or introduce new dishes every couple of months. Additionally, if you have noticed that certain items are not selling as well as others, consider removing these from the menu or replacing them with something more popular.  
It is generally beneficial to adjust your menu based on seasonality as certain ingredients may be more readily available in certain parts of the year. Consider adding seasonal ingredients to dishes or highlighting promotions for items featuring these ingredients. Additionally, you may want to adjust prices of menu items based on the availability of certain ingredients.      

Leave a Comment