The search for the perfect menu cover is a quest that will take the discriminating owner or manager on a mind-numbing journey.  There are so many little points and differences in the different styles that sometimes it can be hard to choose.  One of the best things to do first is to decide on what you want to portray with your menu.  This will ultimately come down to being a reflection of what type of restaurant you have.  Luckily, you’ve already done the legwork of deciding all of this.  Your dreams and ideas have all come to fruition in this place of yours, now it is time to highlight what I hope you think is the best food around.

It doesn’t matter the type of menu cover you choose so long as it is congruent with what your guests are expecting.  If you have a family-friendly local mom and pop type of restaurant, you can get away with a less we’ll say glamorous cover for your menus.  What you need in this type of restaurant is function first and looks second (at least as far as this aspect is concerned).  Don’t fool yourself, people still want to dine in style, just because they have children, doesn’t mean they want to be picking crumbs up off their seats and reading a greasy, sticky or cracked menu.  In fact, you could argue that they are going out to eat exactly to avoid this type of stuff at home.

However, where your menu covers will come into more sight and need to be a class act is if you have a fine dining establishment.  This is where the discriminating tastes in decor, food choices and service will all make a world of difference in the success of your restaurant.  It is one thing to talk about all these facets of a congruent and well-blended experience, it is quite another to actually implement policies and design choices that take these things into account.  This is where getting very good quality menu covers will make the difference.

If you have the choice of sitting down and holding a nice solid, well made and smooth feeling leather menu cover or some cheap menu cover, which one impresses you more?  Of course, right!  But even the most intelligent owners and managers sometimes miss these basic points.  When it comes to the expenses of opening and running a restaurant, there is always a pressure to reduced overhead, costs and other variables that can boost profits.  So, even though this whole cover issue may seem like a minor point, it can make a big impact.

How Do You Know What Type of Menu Cover To Choose?

Well, as was alluded to above, there are several styles that make this whole process a bit more daunting.  Keep that original point in mind, let your restaurant theme and image dictate the details.  You could see this as being the other way around, regardless, the details matter.  A brief list of restaurant menu covers would include leather, metal, fabric and even plastic menu covers.  Also, keep in mind that whether we are talking about a restaurant or a café menu cover, the same ideas apply.  Let’s discuss these different styles briefly here, though they are discussed in more detail on pages dedicated to each type elsewhere on our site.

Let’s start with one of the most elegant or substantial and work our way through the other styles from here.  The leather menu cover is likely the most common type to be used in the higher end restaurants.  You will, and should expect, find these covers used in more expensive establishments relative to the menu pricing.  These are possibly the finer steakhouses in town, the classy ‘go to’ places for special occasions and anniversaries.  If you want to be known as a nice place in town, leather will make a big impact as your choice here.  It has properties that allow it to be both functional as well as aesthetically pleasing.  The knock-off version of the leather style is the leatherette or faux leather menu cover.  This one would be more like what you might expect for the check presenter.  It simply doesn’t have the same feel and impression factor as the real leather cover.  Not a poor choice for certain restaurants, just a different one that should be treated as such.

So, this is a bit more of a trendy cover choice for your menu.  Metal will be found in restaurants that have a bit more modern edge or feel to them.  Food choices will typically be more geared towards eclectic preparations or a modern twist on an old dish.  New up and coming chefs like to prepare foods in a non-traditional way and these metal menu covers will give a little insight into this break from conformity.  Typically, the metal choices will consist of aluminum, stainless steel or even copper.  The aluminum and stainless steel styles will often have a brushed appearance, softening that hard metal feels.  Copper can make a great statement on its own and now there are even metals, like copper, that has a chemical patina added that creates a very unique and artistic feel to the look of the metal.  Metal is a great choice for the more modern feeling restaurant.

Plastic Menu Covers

More than a specific type of cover, the plastic menu cover is more of a class or category of covers.  This is due to the fact that the plastic styles can encompass thin, clear plastic to the more heavy duty variety.  The thinner type is more common with the menu that is printed on an 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper and then inserted into the cover.  These covers are designed really more for function.  They are helpful in that they can be cleaned easily with a damp and soapy rag and will provide a minimalist function.  Because these are the cheapest types of covers, it is less important to worry about them.  The restaurants and cafes that use these types are usually offering food choices that would be more for lunch or breakfast.  You will still find some restaurants serving dinner that uses a plastic menu cover, but it will not be found in a fine dining establishment.  This is fine.  Not all restaurants aspire to or serve the same customers and guests.  People looking for a spaghetti meal with the kids are going to have a different expectation than someone going on a date and looking for the chef so and so’s handmade pasta with squash flower appetizers.  So, don’t feel like you are being judged for your choice in covers, they all have a purpose and function.

This category was necessary as there are some special types of covers that could only be called custom or designer.  These would include woods, corks, and even some fabrics.  A custom menu cover is nothing more than a style that is designed for your particular restaurant’s needs or qualities.  For example, a restaurant known for its great wine list might opt to go for a cork cover for the wine menu.  This is one example of how you can keep the congruence that we mentioned earlier.  Similarly, you might opt to have a wood menu cover.  Fabrics such as linens and even silks could be custom designed as well.  These special or custom covers would really be used in a restaurant that isn’t doing a high volume type of business.  Not that every restaurant doesn’t want to be full all the time, it is just that these custom styles are a bit more prone to faster wear and tear and would cost much more to replace.  So, if you are able to serve your guests with more care and attention in this way, your pricing can be reflected here as well.  Of all the types of menu covers mentioned here, the only ‘right’ one is the one that fits the needs of you, your restaurant and ultimately your guests’ needs.