The Visual Treats

It’s funny I was having a conversation with a designer the other day. He was telling me how fancy font are so important for the restaurant because that’s all they have to show on the menu and the fact that many of them spend large sums of money on it. Right? Wrong.

Now, here’s something I’ve noticed, when we eat, our sense of smell and sight serve as amazing appetizers as much as any actual food could. So, why do all the restaurants only rely on “fancy fonts” to convey information about their cuisine? I agree they scatter a few pictures around (which for the most part, have nothing to do with the dishes mentioned or don’t even look remotely like them when ordered).

In sharp contrast, every single restaurant I’d been to in China had a “picture menu” where every item had a picture against it and even more importantly, it was the actual picture of the dish and not an air-brushed or “aspirational” version of the same. What I miss to understand is why air-brush something or spend on a fancy font so much money if all you have to do is to put out your dishes as they are served on your menu for customers to understand what to expect!

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4 Responses to “The Visual Treats”


  1. 1 Devil April 2, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    Never thought like that..now that you have triggered the thought hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

  2. 2 Anoop April 4, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    Im not observant as you are but, i did observe that the menu had pictures of dishes in Singapore & these were Indian restaurants in singapore, I guess they follow chinese principles especially with dish making, it also attracts wide range of customers including local singaporeans and chinese who may be interested in trying out a few indian dishes & also the dishes taste something different.

    However Indian restaurants here in Israel follow the same method of airbrushed pictures and not the actual dish & the taste is awful for an indian, but the israelis love it.

    So that explains the decision behind suiting the taste of the dish.

    I agree with you that its quite hard to understand the rationality behind the airbrushing decision of hotel owners in India, may be they lack commonsense or may be something else like they are too lazy to take a photograph of each dish cooked and then get it resized to include in the menu or may be they assume that a lot of indian customers know the dish they order and they feel pictures itself are trivial. I can’t decide either 🙂

    • 3 Sreeja Iyer April 4, 2010 at 10:10 pm

      Anoop,

      Since you observed Indian restaurants in Singapore follow the same “picture menu” concept as the rest of them (and come to think of it, I too saw all the Indian restaurants in China/Taiwan follow the same) I’ll have to argue it has something to do with “someone” starting a trend and it catching on, like it says in the book “tipping point”.

      I can’t help but wonder, what if I had put this idea in the head of the design guy I spoke to, what if he had designed the first “picture menu” in India, what if the idea had been copied by “n” number of other restaurants in Bangalore and so on..would we have caused a revolution, a tipping point! 😉

      Sreeja

  3. 4 Aryan's Mom April 5, 2010 at 9:55 am

    You are right about picture menu concept of china. It helps us to understand what they give…

    Subha


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