Menu Photos are Key to Growing Online Sales for Restaurants

The challenges of this pandemic are numerous. It is a constant endeavor for business owners to encourage customers to continue showing support. Is there truth in the phrase, "a picture is worth a thousand words" when it comes to menu design?

The addition of pictures to descriptive food names has been shown to improve consumers' attitudes towards menu items, their purchase intentions and of course, their willingness to pay. A further interesting finding is that pictures only have a positive effect on verbalizers when food names are ambiguous.

The final decision rests with the restaurant. In this industry, there are no general standards. Fast-food restaurants often display a picture of their menu for each food choice. In contrast, upscale, expensive restaurants usually do not include photos on their menus. Why is that?

So, here are a few reasons why Menu Photos have proved to drive more online sales:

Help in alleviating any potential doubts about the quality of the food

Besides appealing to a customer to click on the website, an inspiring and well-done photo is likely to help in alleviating any potential doubts about the quality of the food. It won’t be an overstatement to say that professionally-made photography makes a tremendous impact on the performance of any food delivery app. So, good photography is what gives companies an edge over their competitors, and improves their sales numbers in the bargain.

According to Grubhub, including professionally-taken photos in your menu can boost your sales by approximately 30%. A customer is more likely to order from an app or website that shows a photo of every dish offered on the menu.

Help in building brand loyalty

Some memorable photos on the menu can drive up customer traffic and help in building brand loyalty as well. Besides, spreading photos of the food menu on various social media platforms can aid in establishing a community and spreading the word around in an organic manner. It is said that a customer is likely to remember about 10% of the information when they read. However, if an image is added beside the information, this number rises up to 65%.

Brand recognition is established in the minds of a customer with the usage of memorable photos. In addition, photos can provide a lot of information related to the brand, while parallelly promoting its vision and values.

A Surge In search rankings

High order grossing restaurants, food joints or eateries are known to provide an appealing menu photo peppered with a great description of a food item listed. In addition, optimising images along with well-written content gives the website a bonus chance to be found via image search ensuring effective traction from visitors to the website.

Also, an important note: Avoid being lazy and resorting to introducing stock images at all costs. For instance, a search engine site like Google ‘abhors’ duplicate content, whether it is in the form of text or any form of an image.

How Photos Help in Quick Communicating A Message to Your Customers?

Apart from the natural appetizing aspect, food is known to have an emotional appeal, too and good photos play an important role in attracting a customer and encouraging them to explore a particular webpage or food app. An international study further points out that items that have images next to them have an average increase of about 6.5% in sales, compared to those with missing images.

The food delivery industry continues to remain cut-throat, no doubt. Restaurants, food joints and eateries need to up the ante in order to remain on top of their game and so it is mandatory to make the best of their online presence. To add to this, online ordering trends change on a day-to-day basis and customers in most cases know the cuisine, dish that they are craving for and place the order quickly. Those catering to the food business need to have their menu attractive with photos so customers place an order with them in the first go.

Examples of few restaurants who use photos in their menu

  • Applebee’s features photos in their menu. Applebee's menu restricts their photo usage to one per each category, as well as using well-planned brackets to highlight specific dishes. Applebee's menu features photographs prominently. By combining photography and graphics, they use visuals to attract the consumer's attention. They use strategically placed pictures to guide consumers to the desired flow, so they can easily find what they are looking for.
  • The menu at International House of Pancakes (IHOP) incorporates graphic and photographic elements, as well as text and white space, as well as cool and warm colors. With large pictures of food offerings gracing the menu's pages, images take precedence over text.
  • McDonald's wants its customers to know exactly what they'll be eating with their food. Customers are welcomed with pictures of the chain's new menu offerings as soon as they walk in the door. Apart from this, McDonald's knows that consumers tend to make snap decisions based on the first options presented to them when they're making a choice. That's why it places the photos near the entrance of the restaurant.


In a nutshell, if you let them visualize what they are going to see on the platter, you will likely see a surge in search rankings and orders. You should therefore provide an appealing visual cue to your customers and watch your sales numbers rise accordingly!