You know the feeling. A keg kicks or a new wine comes in and you’re annoyed: now you have to update your drink menu.
If you had a run-of-the-mill beverage program, updating your menu would be easy—just slap in product name and price. No description required.
But your drink program isn't run-of-the-mill—it's top-notch. You're proud of what you offer, so you want to tell your customers about it on your drink menu.
That means you need to provide descriptions. To provide beer and wine descriptions, you usually have to do something like this:
First you head to Google and type the name of the wine or beer. You look through the results and after a few clicks you find one that's good enough. You copy it then paste it into your menu document. Then you verify the menu's formatting still looks good, while possibly having to edit some aspect of it to bring it back in line.
Then, finally, you push print. You're done.
Until you're doing it all over again the next day.
Making your drink menu can be easier! Read on to learn how to create a professional, customized drink menu template that automatically includes beer, wine, and spirits descriptions.
Reason 1: descriptions make the ordering process easier and faster, which increases sales
Imagine you’re a bar or restaurant with a good number of rotating taps. If your beer menu isn’t up to date or doesn’t include descriptions, you’re putting a lot of pressure on your servers and bartenders to provide your guests a great beer ordering experience.
These servers have to remember what kegs kicked, what beers recently came on, how to describe the beers in a compelling way, and so on. While some employees have encyclopedic beer knowledge and are very articulate, that’s certainly not the case for all of them.
As a result, your server may have to run to the bar to see if something’s still available, they may scramble and search for that scrap of scratch paper so they can read off the rotating beer selection, or they may have to run and grab a sample of a beer and bring it back to the table.
All in all, this process is far from ideal and can take a long time. And all that time spent deciding, waiting, and ordering is time not spent drinking.
This is exactly how you lose out on sales: a sluggish ordering process prevents people from drinking as much as they otherwise would.
On the other hand, if your beer menu is up-to-date and includes descriptions, your customers will be able to educate themselves on your beer selection and be able to make an informed decision all on their own, often before their server or bartender comes to take their order.
The customers with the awesome beer menu are cheers-ing before the customers with the bad beer menu have even decided on a beer.
Reason 2: a drink menu with descriptions can help educate your staff, which increases sales
Of course, not every single customer will be able to choose the right drink by just using a menu. There are folks who need to talk to their server or bartender before making a decision.
A great drink menu can help streamline this process as well. Many of our customers report that a drink menu with product descriptions helps educate servers and bartenders, so that when customers ask about a drink, they're more familiar with it and can do a better job selling it.
Instead of just saying "Oh, the IPA? It's good. Kind of hoppy," or "the Peterson Red Zinfandel? Yeah, I think it's a California wine..." they're able to actually talk about the item in a compelling way.
Here's what a few of our customers say when asked about the importance of descriptions:
“The menus act as a vehicle for disseminating information to our customers. Our bar/serving staff couldn't keep up with having 30 rotating draft lines.”
“The menus help our staff to be more knowledgeable about the items we are selling and keeps the menu updates at their fingertips.”
“The menus teach staff and guests about our menu items.”
The quotes go on, but the takehome is that a drink menu with descriptions means a more educated staff, and a more educated staff can help customers find the right drink for them faster.
And as with the first reasoning, by speeding up the ordering process, you’re providing customers a better ordering experience and you’re giving them more time to drink.
Why including descriptions on your drinks menu template is challenging
That argument is extremely logical, so why do many businesses not include descriptions on their drink menus?
Because if you’re making you’re menu manually with software like Microsoft Word, Photoshop, or InDesign, including descriptions on your drink menu takes a ton of time.
You have to go to Google, search for a good description for the beer, wine, or spirit you’re adding to your menu, copy that description, find the ABV and where the producer is from, and then you have paste all that in before finally making sure your menu formatting is still ok, which you might then have to reformat if something looks off...
Yikes. That process sounds miserable enough to do once in a lifetime. But if you run a rotational beverage program, you want to include product descriptions, and you make your menu manually, you’d have to do that process at least a few times a week.
Add that up and you could be looking at hours each month.
That’s why a lot of drink menus don’t include product descriptions: small business owners and managers don’t have time for that manual process and they don’t think there’s a way to automatically include product descriptions on their menu.
Here’s the good news: there’s a tool that can help you include product descriptions on your drink menu with one easy click.
That product is the BeerMenus menu maker.
How to include beer, wine, and spirit descriptions on your drink menu with one click
The BeerMenus menu maker includes a huge database of over 240,000 beers, wines, and spirits.
Because of this database, you’re able to add descriptions, producer location, and ABV to your drink menu with a single click.
Just start typing the name of the item you want to add, select that item from the dropdown menu, and click “Add to menu.”
Just like that, your drink menu (or your wine menu, beer menu, cocktails menu, or spirits menu) is up-to-date.
Here's a 20-second video showing how easy it is to update a BeerMenus Print Menu:
That video displays how the process works for beers; it’s the same exact process for adding a wine or spirit to your menu. Just click over to the "Wine" or "Spirit" tab and do it there instead of the beer tab. Your wines and spirits—descriptions included—will similarly appear on your printable drink menu template.
With BeerMenus you can have your cake and eat it, too: you can provide your customers a menu with full descriptions and thus drive up your beverage sales, all while making your menu in a flash.
Easily manage cocktails
For many bars and restaurants, their drink menu wouldn’t be complete without showing off their cocktail menu. The BeerMenus menu maker makes that simple.
Unlike beers, wines, and spirits, cocktails are often unique to your bar or restaurant. Because of this, BeerMenus allows you to create those unique cocktails and in so doing add them to your personal BeerMenus cocktail database.
The beauty of this database is that once you’ve added a cocktail to it, you’re able to remove and re-add any of your cocktails very easily—just start typing the name of the cocktail you’d like to add, and select it from the dropdown.
The description and price are saved from the original entry, so all you need to do is click “Add item to menu.”
Just like that, your cocktail bar menu (or the cocktail portion of your drinks menu) is complete.
BeerMenus design templates: typography, design, images, etc.
Whether you own a sports bar, a fine dining restaurant, a coffee shop, or you just need a cafe menu template or a pub menu, your bar or restaurant has unique branding, and you need to keep that branding consistent.
The flexibility of the BeerMenus menu maker frees you to completely capture that branding in your drink menu template design—we can even precisely match your other menus, like your food menu template.
Every BeerMenus menu can be configured to fit your restaurant’s needs. When you create a menu you can adjust:
Number of columns
Orientation: landscape vs. portrait
Spacing (e.g. compact, cozy, etc.)
Menu headers and footers
Menu headers can be completely customized to your business. They’re essentially an image file, so you can use the header space to message specials, happy hours, your social media, or more.
Basically, if you envision it, it can be done.
Here are a few menu header examples:
Menu footers are editable as well.
Within the BeerMenus menu maker, you’re free to create the precise menu sections you want. This ensures that your menus are laid out the way you want them to be.
If you were making a food menu template and/or want to include your NA beverages, you could create menu sections like Appetizers, Starters, Entrees, Desserts, Coffee Menu, etc.
For your drink menu you can create separate menu sections for your taps, cocktails, white wines, red wines, and so on.
You can also create menu sections that are a little more “out there,” like “Dylan’s Favorite Beers,” “The Merchant’s House Cocktails,” etc.
Fonts can be adjusted on all menu elements (e.g. header, subheader, menu item name, menu item description, etc.)
The BeerMenus menu maker includes access to more than 30 fonts, but we can track down and add any font your business needs.
Custom menu design
BeerMenus has an in-house design team that can make you a completely custom menu design.
Here’s the best part: you can get your custom design for no additional cost.
The BeerMenus design team is made up of professional designers who’ve designed thousands of menus for restaurants and bars. Designs run the gamut from simple, elegant menus to retro menus to extremely stylized menus that are truly unique.
During the call we’ll discuss the menu you’re looking for and we’ll have your design back to you by the next business day.
Examples of great drink menu templates
Here are a few more examples we recently created:
And you can check out more example menus on this page.
What not to do: sub-par drink menu templates
These are menus that the BeerMenus team has experienced "out in the wild." Unfortunately, much of what's seen here is pretty common practice. Beneath each of the examples we'll outline the problems with each menu.
This is just a tiny part of this menu, but there are a couple problems.
Most obvious is the "& Other Seasonal Selections" at the bottom of the photo. Like we talked about above, it's essential to include all your menu items on your menu—doing so speeds up the ordering process and thus increases sales.
Of course, it's also missing item descriptions.
There are a two main issues here, both having to do with readability. The first is the plastic menu holder, which makes the menu hard to read, often has food crumbs on it, etc.
Second, the font size is extremely small, making it difficult to read the actual menu offerings.
Nothing about this menu looks off. But on the day this particular bar was visited, no less than 3 of the beers were unavailable. There's no better way to bum out a customer than having three swings and misses.
This menu is missing both beer and wine descriptions, and also uses that classic "Ask about our seasonal specialties" crutch.
This a brewery's menu. But in order to know what seasonal beers are available, customers must ask a bartender. This shouldn't happen.
Frequently asked questions
I’m considering a digital menu board—does BeerMenus create digital menus for restaurants?
Yes, absolutely! You can create your own menu from scratch (which allows you to include your own branding, your own images, etc.) or rely on an existing menu theme (e.g. a “chalkboard” theme).
You can also add “Specials” slides to your digital menu. Many businesses include specials that message upcoming events, bands, or even food photos to entice guests to order more food.
How many different menus can I create with BeerMenus?
As many as you’d like.
From standbys like food, drink, and cocktail menus to completely new menus designed specifically for special events, you’re free to create as many menus as your heart desires.
Best of all, we’re here to help you every step of the way.
Who is BeerMenus?
We're a group of beer loving folks who connect bars, restaurants, beer stores, and breweries with local customers from across the world, through customized Print Menus, TV Menus, and online marketing tools.
If you want to read more about how and why we got started, check out our founding story.