To solve a problem or to find a better solution, you need to understand the true challenges.
I was tasked with creating a menu design for one of MGM Mirage’s restaurants. This was an exciting opportunity to work with various materials and printing applications.
The budget, materials, fabrication, and timeline.
To build the best product, you must understand the complete life cycle of the project. I started with a visit to a restaurant where I observed and took notes. My experience as “backyard” mechanical engineer and creative graphic designer came into play. How do you create a menu that performed and looked great. One of the first things I noticed was how the menus were stored, second how many menus the waitress would bring to the table. The guest would read the menus and place their orders. The menus would be returned and the cycle would continue.
I began with this thought and design Solutionprocess. First, I met with the Food and Beverage Team to understand how often they ordered menus, lifespan, common issues and concerns. What I learned, most damage was caused by the employees through storage or cleaning.
To solve this issue, I recommended they lined the storage boxes with felt and placed them like books vertically, not stacked. Stacked menus were crushed under the their weight.
Most menus were ruined or discolored by wet wrags they used to clean and whip the menus. Select the best materials for the venue, stain guard fabrics when possible and train staff on proper cleaning methods.
Usage - Employee
Weight and size was an issue for the employee. If the restaurant was family style, multiple heavy or large menus made it difficult to manage as they escorted the guest to a table.
Usage - Guest
The guest experience is the most important. Did the menu match the experience or decor. Upscale, modern, elevated or quick and casual. Was it family dinning or close and intimate. These were important to understand the interaction. If its tight seating, horizontal menus would slap against the person next to you. Were you reaching for chips and salsa while you read the menu, which could result in salsa on the menu. Is the restaurant dark or well lite. These are important factors to consider to determine the font size and colors.
The fabrication, materials, storage and usage lead the way for the design. Based on this date, I created menus that out lasted any prior menus, we won our first awards for menu design and I trained others on this process.
Silver ADDY Award 2006, Menu Design
Fin Restaurant Mirage Hotel
Bronze ADDY Award 2006, Menu Design
MGM Mirage Advertising - Cafe Bellagio