Deciding which materials are best to print your menu can leave you confused and frustrated simply due to the infinite amount of possibilities. However, if you challenge yourself to define a few goals for the restaurant and its menu, the choice may not be as difficult as you may think.
There are three key factors that you may want to consider when choosing the correct menu material. These factors include Durability, Appearance, and Longevity. These three factors will drive purpose and price of your menu.
Laminating menus is the most common method restaurants pursue in order to protect their menus from being damaged in a short period of time. Menus are laminated during the production process, which adds an additional cost to the menu, however the savings are evaluated through the added lifespan of a menu. Lamination prevents dust, water or moisture, food spills, and sunlight exposure from damaging the menus.
There are two common methods for the lamination of a menu knowns as Edge Seal Lamination and Flush Cut Lamination. Edge Seal Lamination refers to a menu that once laminated, retains a border of lamination around the edges of the menu to retain a tight seal. On the other hand, Flush Cut Lamination does not have the added border because it is cut flush with the paper. Flush Cut Lamination is preferred by some restaurant brands due to it's appearance. The Flush Cut provides a more subtle adjustment to the menu, while the Edge Seal is rather apparent. The benefit of a Edge Seal Lamination is the extra security of the lamination that is sealed tightly around the edges of the menu. This prevents water and moisture from entering the edges of the menu that would otherwise be unprotected in a Flush Cut Laminated menu. Laminated menus are usually a good choice for restaurants that do not change their menu often, because the additional lamination expense could become a burden.
UV Coated Menus
UV (Ultraviolet) Coating adds a thin coat of protective layering to the paper menu, increasing the menu durability. The coating consists of compounds that are mixed with the paper when the paper is wet. The paper passes through an ultraviolet light that cures the compound to the paper. The compounds can differ in the makeup and therefore several different coats can have different effects on the paper such as thickness, brightness, and shine. The enriched color and appearance of a menu after it has been UV coated is one reason why brands choose this route. Additionally, the coated layer is not as noticeable as the lamination, resulting in a higher quality appearance. The coated layer also protects the menu from dirt and moisture, but it is not as strong as lamination. Although UV coating increase the price of printing, it is not as significant as the cost of lamination. UV Coating menus is a great option for restaurants that want a high-quality menu, but also like to change their menu often due to seasonal offerings or weekly fish specials.
Plastic (Synthetic) Menus
When you see the term "Waterproof Menus", it typically refers to a plastic-based menu. Several forms of plastic can be used for these menus, including polyester, providing a tear free menu that is very durable. This method is relatively new in the marketplace and has been subjected to a great deal of experimentation. Brands are warming up to the idea of plastic menus because of their durability, but plastic menus do not have the same touch and feel as real paper. They also are much shinier than matte paper menus. These factors causes hesitation that the menus could come across as "cheap" to consumers. Additionally, depending on the frequency of change, a plastic menu's cost may be a burden to constantly changing menus. However, the durability of these menus is extremely high, allowing a restaurant owner to save money on menus in the long run if frequent changes are not needed for the menu.
If you have any questions regarding which type of menu is best for you brand, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at DailyMenus for help! We work with restaurants daily to ensure their menus are perfect for their business.