chalkboard menu board at a cafe

Chalkboard Menu Ideas

As a restaurant manager or coffee shop owner, the idea of having a trendy chalkboard menu outside your establishment couldn't have more appeal. But with so many other restaurants using the same tactic, you're probably wondering what you can do to create the best menu on the block.

Luckily, designing a chalkboard menu that attracts customers couldn't be easier. With our ideas, tips, and tricks, you can make your designs come to life in a matter of minutes. But let's not get ahead of ourselves...

Let's simply start with some inspiration to get your creative juices flowing!

Chalkboard Menu Ideas And Inspiration

Chalkboard menus are incredibly versatile and look absolutely stunning when they're done right. But how exactly do you make yours stand out? Well, with some fun and interesting menu design choices, of course!

Once you have a high-quality chalkboard, like the Rustic Chalkboard A-Frame Easel, you can get to work on creating a masterpiece that will blow your customers away! No matter what you pick, just be sure to choose a chalkboard that suits your needs and will match your restaurant's aesthetic.

Now, grab your chalkboard markers and colorful chalk, and let's get to work.

Draw attention to your daily specials

Why not bring even more attention to your daily specials using multi-colored chalk markers? Whether you want to add a few doodles around your special of the day or make it stand out with bold, artistic lettering, you can add some unique flair to your chalkboard with just a flick of your marker.

Before you get started, though, you'll want to spend some time learning how to use chalk markers to nail your designs. Remember, practice makes perfect, so be sure to spend some time perfecting your technique before you create your final menu design.

Illustrations of your signature dishes

If you've used chalk markers for crafts before, you may be a little more confident about the process. Creating an illustration of your signature dish or the special of the day can add intrigue to an otherwise dull chalkboard.

If all you do is write out your dishes and add no visual appeal, you're hardly going to attract any attention! Having something interesting and unexpected like a well-drawn picture of a menu item can also encourage your customers to interact with your board. They may ask about the item on display or even take a few pictures for social media (did you say free marketing?).

Seasonal themes and menu items

Does your restaurant offer any seasonal dishes or specialty items? Then why not capitalize on that idea and use it to your advantage? You can do this by creating a themed menu board that correlates to the holiday or time of year your dish is inspired by.

For instance, using Christmas-themed doodles and colors can help to draw attention to your menu around the holidays. Or, if you have a seasonal offering in the fall, why not decorate your menu board with fall-related images and colors? And if you're looking for inspiration, you can always check out our fall decor ideas!

Show off local ingredients

If your restaurant sources local ingredients, this is a great excuse to add some interest to your board. Not only can you add the fact that your ingredients are locally sourced (write this in color to make it really stand out), but you can also add small illustrations of these special ingredients.

For anyone who has the artistic flair for it, it may also be a cute idea to include illustrations of the local farmers who supply your establishment. Alternatively, you can draw up their logo (if they have one) to market their services. It's a total win-win.

Daily fun facts

Let's be honest: even the most intricately designed menus can become boring after a while. So, why not liven it up by writing daily fun facts on your menu? You can even tie it into the dishes that you serve by having fun facts about the food itself!

A good example of this may be something like: 'Did you know? We make all of our sauces in-house, with a fresh batch made every day!' Not only will this become a point of interest for your customers, but it can help to keep your menu from getting stale.

Leave room for customization

Be sure to leave a little room to edit and customize your menu if and when it's needed. You may want to update your chalkboard to let your customers know, for example, that you've run out of tofu. Or perhaps you want to add a limited-edition dish to your board. Either way, leave yourself some room to add or remove things as needed.

How To Create Your Chalkboard Menu

Now that you're feeling inspired, it's time to turn the chalkboard menu of your dreams into a reality. Follow these easy steps, and you'll be attracting customers in no time at all!

  1. Gather your materials: Have everything you need on hand. This includes your chalkboard, markers, plain chalk, and an eraser or damp cloth for cleaning.

  2. Choose where you want your menu to go: There's no point in making your board more visually appealing if it's in the wrong spot! Be sure to pick a spot that is easily visible and accessible.

  3. Plan your layout: You don't want your menu to look sloppy! That's why spending some time planning its layout is crucial. Choose where you want your drinks, appetizers, and mains to go. And don't forget to leave room for specials or signature dishes you want to promote.

  4. Write or draw your menu items: Now it's time to add your lettering or artwork to the board. If you need a little inspiration or help with illustrations, you can also always download free-to-use images and use transfer paper to transfer them onto your board. Then, all you need to do is trace over the outlines with your chalk markers - and voilà!

  5. Review and revise: Sometimes you just need a little perspective. Didn't notice that your lettering was lop-sided? Now's the time to fix it up! Take your time with this step to make sure that everything is just right.

  6. Seal the deal: Since your board is likely to be exposed to the elements, you may want to seal it with a chalkboard sealant. This is optional and works best only when you're planning on keeping your menu design for a long time.


How can I make sure my chalkboard menu attracts customers?

There are a few elements that every chalkboard menu needs to attract customers. These include:

  • Visual interest through illustrations or colors.

  • Readability and visibility.

  • Regular updates to keep things fresh and new.

  • Proper maintenance and cleaning to ensure the board looks great at all times.

How do I maintain my chalkboard menu?

The best way to maintain your menu is to clean it regularly. If you're planning on leaving it unchanged for a while, you can also keep your board in tip-top shape by adding a little chalkboard sealant over your design.

How do I choose the best materials for my chalkboard menu?

Knowing where to start when you're on the hunt for a new chalkboard can be tricky. It can be just as tricky to know what materials to use on your new chalkboard. So, if you want a quick rundown on everything you need to know before you create your chalkboard menu, check out these handy pages:

Final Thoughts

By now, you should be armed with all you'll ever need to create the best chalkboard menu on the block. Just remember: If you want to keep things interesting, having elements that can be changed daily or even weekly can help you to draw in new customers. It's all about keeping it fresh, new and exciting!