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How to Save Money on Disposable Menus

Disposable Menus are a requirement for reopening your restaurant in Vermont and other areas. When done correctly, you can also use your disposable menus to support your take-out and delivery business as well. 

At CW Print + Design we offer several strategies for your disposable menus to help keep your clients and your wallet safe.

Outdoor Cafe

Here are a few tips to keep the costs of disposable menus low and maximize their use before they head to the recycle bin:

  • Design your menu for one-time use. If your menu typically has "lunch" on one side and "dinner" on the other, separate these two menus. If your menu is many pages, try to get it to fit on one page or a double-sided page.
  • Offer a limited menu. Having a smaller menu not only helps you save on print costs, it has many 'fringe' benefits to your business: easier on kitchen staff, less prep-time needed, less food supplies to buy and keep on hand, less food waste, and tables will turn quicker due to customers being able to make their decisions quicker. You can also put items on your menu that are quicker to cook. With limited tables, being able to turn them quicker will allow you to expand your capacity for the evening.
  • Separate out your dessert and drink menus. You will hopefully know from pre-covid-era the percentage of customers who add on dessert and drinks. Keeping these separate will allow your customers to have access to the menu for ordering these items, even after the main menu has been taken away.
  • Print only what you need. Traditionally, it's cheaper per piece when you order more. We recommend you print just what you need, and then reprint as needed. This is because it's really difficult right now to predict how quickly you will go through your menus, or how long you will need disposable menus (you may want to switch to reusable menus in the future, utilizing paper that can be cleaned/disinfected or having your menus laminated). You may need to change your menu depending on your capacity - as you are able to serve more customers, your offerings may change. For these reasons, we recommend the 'just what you need' approach. Your price per piece may be a few cents more, but you won't find yourself throwing away a bunch of outdated menus either. Because we offer super quick turnaround on menus, you can order just a weeks worth of menus at a time. Figure out how many customers you can serve with your limited capacity and order just what you need. 
  • Limit interactions with your waitstaff. If you offer each customer a branded pen that they can take home, your customers can write on their menus exactly what they want to order. This can be done by circling items on the menu, or by having them write items on the back or a separated area on the menu itself. Design your menu to be user friendly to the customer for this purpose, and to the waitstaff so they can easily see the customers choices when they send the order to the kitchen. For example, if your waiter or waitress might need to ask how a customer wants their burger cooked, add in an area for the customer to indicate that right on the menu. This method of order taking will lessen the interaction with your waitstaff, which is perfect during social distancing measures. 
  • Give the menu more life. If laws allow it, can your disposable menu be designed in such a way that customers can bring it home with them? For example, if it is the same as your to-go or delivery options, can they bring it home so they have a menu for future take-out orders? Can you utilize a coupon or other offer on the menu to entice them to come dine again or order take out?
  • Decide the value of color versus black and white. Traditionally, black and white is cheaper and would be the ideal option for disposable menus. However, you may want to consider splurging on color print in a few cases. With less physical diners, and people sitting further away, it will be more difficult for customers to see what other diners are consuming. Many people eat with their eyes first. This is a perfect opportunity to include photos to help the customer select their meals. If you want to stick with black and white for your menu, display posters that showcase of your best selling meals. 
  • Think about the environment. The smaller your menu, the less paper you use for it, the better for the environment. If disposable menus makes your skin crawl due to all the waste, minimize the impact by choosing recycled paper. During COVID-19 we are offering this upgrade for only one-cent extra per sheet for most disposable menus! 

Order disposable menus for your restaurant or contact us to learn more. 

Disposable Menus

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