March 31, 2022 The Print Authority

Restaurant Menu Paper Guide: Choosing the Best Type

You’ve designed the perfect menu for your restaurant. From a font that matches your style to designs that are consistent with your branding, you’ve ironed out all the details of restaurant printing, and now you have one last question: What’s the best paper for menus?

It may seem trivial, but your paper can make or break your physical menu, and you don’t want your hard work to go to waste. That’s why we’ve compiled what to look for in paper for menus and why it matters.

Why Does the Type of Menu Paper Matter?

Your physical menu is one of your customers’ first impressions of your restaurant. It’s the first item they hold in their hands, and it helps them determine what (and if) they should order. A subpar paper menu could take away the professionalism of your restaurant and possibly even deter a guest from trying your food.

Restaurant menus are handled by many people throughout the day, so the paper from a restaurant owner’s home computer printer won’t be able to withstand the wear and tear of a busy restaurant. Therefore, it’s important to work with a professional printing company that can print using the highest-quality paper for menus.

Choosing the Best Paper for Menus

Many printing companies offer an extensive selection of paper for menus. Here are some of The Print Authority’s recommendations for paper that help your menus make an impact.

Set Yourself Up for Success With Cardstock

Cardstock is some of the best paper for menus. It’s sturdy and sophisticated while still being affordable. A cardstock paper menu can be folded or unfolded, and it holds up throughout the season until the next menu rollout. Cardstock is one of the most common restaurant menu papers due to its versatility.

Increase Sophistication With Linen Finish Paper

Linen finish paper is a paper in which the surface of the sheet has embossed, crosshatched lines running in both directions to mimic the texture of linen cloth. This fancy paper style is perfect for upscale restaurants that want to impress their guests.

Survive Everything With Waterproof Menus

Waterproof paper is a sturdy paper that can withstand just about anything. If your restaurant is a family environment, waterproof paper or laminated paper, described below, are worthwhile choices. These paper menus will withstand spilled drinks or food time and time again.

Make Take-Out Menus Simple With Uncoated Paper

When you’re looking for a simple and affordable paper that’s perfect for disposable menus and take-out menus, look no further than uncoated paper. Lightweight uncoated papers are easy to fold and are extremely affordable. They’re perfect for distribution so that customers can keep a copy of the menu at home and call in their orders.

Go Green With Recycled Paper

While all restaurants could benefit from using printing on recycled paper, this is a particularly well-suited choice for health food restaurants, vegetarian or vegan restaurants, and all restaurants that want to emphasize that they’re making the world a better place –– and their patrons better, healthier people.

At The Print Authority, we offer many recycled paper options, including a range of 30-100% post-consumer waste recycled papers, as well as papers made of alternate materials such as agricultural residues, fiber crops, textiles, crushed stone, and petroleum sources such as plastics. These papers show guests that you’re doing your part for the good of the world.

Tips for Creating High-Quality Menus

Menu printing involves making many decisions and taking many conditions into account. As you’re finalizing your menu paper, here are our top pieces of advice.

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Paper

You want the guest experience with your menu to be a memorable one, and a good menu gets noticed. One of the defining qualities of a good menu is the paper that creates it. From size to weight, color to texture, your menu paper influences how guests perceive your restaurant. Therefore, take all decisions about your paper for menus seriously.

Choose Your Menu Paper Size Carefully

Be sure to consider which menu paper size works best for your restaurant’s needs. How many dishes do you offer? Do you need space for descriptions of your products or ingredient lists? How much negative space are you planning to include in your design? Do you need a custom menu paper size? All of these questions will influence your paper size.

Typical restaurant menus require a lot of room for pictures, prices, descriptions, and the many items the restaurant serves. This means that the paper will need to be larger than your standard letter size. A longer style of paper like 11” x 17” or 12” x 18” is large enough for your menu and makes a statement, without overcrowding your tables.

When deciding on a size, visit your competitors’ restaurants and take a peek at their menu designs. They might have ideas that inspire you. As well, consult with the expert design team at The Print Authority, who can help you choose a menu paper size that elevates your restaurant’s style.

Create Menus That Enhance Your Restaurant’s Style

Look for the specific style that fits best with your restaurant. Some restaurants use single-page menus while others use menus that feature multiple pages to flip through and still, others use bi-fold or tri-fold menus.

Don’t forget to think about menu inserts. These are typically smaller and feature specials or seasonal items. They should still match your menu but be about half the size so they can either fit within the menu or be given with it.

Bar menus also match your menu theme but are long and thin to let customers easily view a list of drinks. A size example would be 4.5″ x 11″.

Laminate Your Menus for Durability

Anytime you’re dealing with food and drinks, there is bound to be some spilling, and you want your menus to last. Laminated menus are extremely easy to clean, making bussing and hygiene a breeze.

Both matte and gloss lamination are great choices that create nearly-indestructible menus that can survive everything from spilled drinks to disinfectant wipes. Lamination can also create an old-timey diner feel, which brings guests back to their childhoods.

Order a Preview Print First

Whenever you’re making a big decision such as choosing a new restaurant menu paper, make sure to test out the paper before printing the whole order. Your printing company can provide a preview of your intended design to ensure that you’re receiving an order that looks even better than you’ve imagined.

Work With a Professional Printing Company for High-Quality Menus

A new menu rollout is no small feat, so be sure to partner with a trusted and experienced printing company that can produce the menus you’re looking for. With over 30 years of experience, The Print Authority can provide you with the paper and printing to make your menu delicious, and we also have expert graphic designers on staff to help you design it.

Our team will make your restaurant look great in print. Contact us today or give us a call at (615) 468-2679 to decide the best paper for menus and get started with top-notch menu printing!


Whether you need digital printing or offset printing, the experts at The Print Authority will find the right way to get your job done so it is affordable and looks fantastic! We have over three decades of experience as a business printing company printing flyers, posters, brochures, business cards, training and marketing materials, and much more. Our experts will make your company or organization look great in print. Contact us today for more information!