Choosing Menu Covers
Ever since we created our menu software in 1994 we have been asked to recommend menu covers that compliment the menus printed from our program. There are many suppliers to choose from and, with the exception of BoxerBrand, we don’t recommend a specific supplier. But we can offer some insight on how to choose the perfect menu cover for your establishment
Café Menu Covers
Cafe menu covers are a good choice for MenuPro menus. The most popular modern style of menu cover, cafe style covers (also know as clear sewn edge covers or jackets) are also the most economical and easiest to clean. They feature clear plastic or vinyl pages that allow full display of your menu inserts and also offer protection from spills at the table.
Single pocket styles which allow you to display 2 pages of your menu (front and back) can sell for under $2 per cover, and book-style cafe covers that include up to 4 panels for an 8 page menu display can be sell for as little as $6 per cover.
While the lifespan of a cafe cover is usually less than a classic leather menu cover, the lower cost allows you to replace the covers more frequently. Sizes as large as 11 x 17 are also available and there is usually a wider variety of color choices available to go with your menu pages and the interior design of your restaurant. Cafe covers do require a little more effort than classic covers when swapping out menu pages, so it’s a good idea to use heavier paper with this style of cover to make changing and inserting menu pages easier.
Classic Style Menu Covers
Since MenuPro lets you update your menus frequently, classic style menu covers, with interior pockets or album-style corners that allow menu pages to be easily inserted, are an excellent choice. This is especially true for establishments that routinely offer new dishes and seasonal specials as they make changing your menu as simple as removing a page and replacing it with a new one.
Classic style covers are readily available in leather and imitation leather and can hold one or multiple pages. Leather is a natural choice that wears well and goes with any upscale décor, but is expensive. Leatherette (simulated leather) looks very close to leather and is usually about half the cost. Most suppliers will also imprint or emboss your logo on the front of the cover to help brand your restaurant
Single View Menu Holders
According to recent post at ny.eater.com, there is a growing trend in using "One-Use-Only Paper Menus" with single-view vinyl or leather border menu holders.
According to their site: "Not a new trend, but a growing one. Small, single sheet menus that are presented outside of vinyl-bordered menu holders are becoming de rigueur at New York’s more humble, cuisine-focused restaurants."
"It’s a necessity for places like Northern Spy Food Co. and Roman's whose menu changes daily, or weekly. But this style also eliminates the cost of printing fancy new design-heavy menus every time there's a change, as well as the time it takes to pull and stuff menu holders."
Sizes of Menu Covers
Your cover size ultimately depends on your menu size, and since MenuPro lets you design and print menus of any size, you can select menu covers that hold any size paper. However, selecting a cover that holds a standard size paper, such as 8 ½ by 11, 8 ½ by 14, or even 5 ½ by 8 ½ (half letter) will give you more flexibility in paper selection as there are more standard size papers available. Additionally, the best selling and most popular menu covers are generally the ones that hold standard size menus, so suppliers can usually offer the best pricing on these covers.
A cover needs to be durable enough to protect the pages of your menu. Ask prospective menu cover suppliers for free samples of the covers that you are interested in to make sure they will meet the needs of your restaurant or establishment.
While it may seem obvious, menu cover color is often overlooked. Try to find a color that suits the overall design and branding of your restaurant. If in doubt, black classic style covers will go with most anything. If you are using cafe covers, experiment with colored paper as an inexpensive design alternative.
There’s no need to spend a fortune on menu covers, but keep in mind that your restaurant menu is an investment in profitability and your menu covers are usually the first thing customers touch when they sit down to dine at your establishment. They create an immediate impression of the style, professionalism, food quality, and the service that will follow, so it makes sense to choose them not just on cost but on quality.