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How to Make a Take-Out Menu Template in InDesign

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Difficulty:BeginnerLength:LongLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial, we show you how to easily create a take-out menu template in InDesign.

Restaurants invest a great amount of their budget on printing and reprinting take-out menus. These menus can make or break what customers might order for their next night off. Selecting the right menu can make a difference to the customer experience your clients are providing. 

In this tutorial, we'll show you how to easily create a food menu template. We'll show you how to set up a trifold brochure menu template, complete with beautiful illustrations. You'll learn how to successfully insert tables to add menu items—this will make your template super easy to edit!

In a hurry? We’ve got amazing InDesign templates and menu design templates over at Envato Elements and GraphicRiver. Go check them out!

What You Will Need for Your Take-Out Menu InDesign Template

You'll need access to Adobe InDesign and Adobe Illustrator. If you don't have the software, you can download a trial from the Adobe website. You'll also need these assets:

Download the assets and make sure the font is installed on your system before starting. When you are ready, we can dive in! 

1. Setting Up a Take-Out Menu InDesign Template

A common trifold dimension when open flat is letter size or A4. We will be using a letter size page for this tutorial, but feel free to use an A4 page if you prefer. As trifold brochure dimensions will vary depending on your needs, I’ve created an equation chart that you can follow below:

trifold brochure equation

Step 1

The take-out menu template size for this tutorial is a letter page. First, we need to divide the final width (279.4 mm) by 3 (93.13 mm). To this new width, we need to add a buffer for the fold (1 mm). The width of the two panels is 94.13 mm. 

Later on, we will modify the size of the shorter panel. We need to subtract 2 mm from the panel to accommodate the fold (91.13 mm).

In InDesign, go to File > New. Name the document Take Out Menu Template. Set the trifold dimensions to the following:

  • Width to 94.13 mm
  • Height to 215.9 mm 
  • Units to Millimetres
  • Orientation to Portrait
  • Uncheck Facing Pages
  • Pages to 6
  • Margins to 10 mm
  • Bleeds to 3 mm (although it's best to seek your professional printer’s preference)

Click Create.

create a new document

Step 2

A trifold brochure has a flap that folds in; this is the shorter panel. We will create a second Master Page with this new size. 

Head over to the Pages panel. If you don’t have it active, head over to Windows > Pages. The top portion of the panel contains the Master Pages. 

Right-click on A-Master > New Master. In the New Master window, make sure Based on Master is set to [Master]. Set the Width to 91.13 mm (subtract 2 mm from the 93.13 mm). Click OK.

create a new master page

Step 3

On the Pages panel, right-click on the B-Master we just created and select Apply Master. In the Apply Master window, under To Pages, enter 1, 6 (this is to specify that we are changing Pages 1 and 6). Click OK.

In the Master Page Size Conflict window, click Use Master Page Size.

apply master pages

Step 4

Now that we have the page sizes set up, we can move the pages to set up the spreads. Pages 1-3 will be the outside spread, and Pages 4-6 will be the inside spreads. 

On the Main Menu of the Pages panel, make sure that Allow Document Pages to Shuffle is unchecked. Drag Page 2 towards Page 1 to combine them. Combine Pages 1-3 as one spread and Pages 4-6. Make sure that you have the BAA and AAB Master Pages configuration.

To exit Master Pages mode, double-click on the regular pages thumbnail.

merge the pages to form a trifold brochure

Step 5

For this take-out menu template tutorial, we will work with three layersThis will make it easier to update the template when it needs to be updated with new information. 

Bring up the Layers panel by going to Window > Layers. Double-click on Layer 1 and rename it Background. 

On the Layers panel main menu, select New Layer. Name it Illustrations, and click OK.

Add one last layer and name it Copy. Click OK.

create new layers

Step 6

Before we start with the design of this menu template, let’s add some color swatches. Head over to Window > Color > Swatches to expand the Swatches panel. Choose New Color Swatch button from the main menu. Add the following colors:

  • Light Yellow: C=0 M=35 Y=90 K=0. Click Add and OK.
  • Medium Yellow: C=0 M=35 Y=90 K=30. Click Add and OK.
  • Dark Yellow: C=0 M=35 Y=90 K=55. Click Add and OK.
  • Red: C=0 M=100 Y=100 K=0. Click Add and OK.
  • Grey: C=5 M=5 Y=5 K=0.

Click Add and OK after you input each of the color values. 

add color swatches

Step 7

Paragraph styles allow us to add formatting attributes to be applied to large amounts of text. This is useful if you want to maintain the same type settings throughout your menu template design. Therefore, the styles will keep your template flawless and cohesive. For this tutorial, we will create two styles: Section Title and Menu Items.

Head over to Window > Paragraph Styles. On the Paragraph Styles panel, select the New Paragraph Style option from the main menu. 

In the New Paragraph Style window option, select Basic Character Formats in the left menu. Set the Style Name to Section Title. Use the following settings for the Basic Paragraph Formats options:

  • Font Family: Carters
  • Font Style: Regular
  • Size: 16 pt

Click on Indents and Spacing from the left side menu. Set the Alignment to Right. 

Click OK. 

create paragraph styles

Create a new Paragraph Style and name it Menu Items. Use the following settings for the Basic Paragraph Formats options:

  • Font Family: Carters
  • Font Style: Regular
  • Size: 9 pt

Click OK. 

add a menu items style

2. How to Use Tables in Your Take-Out Menu InDesign Template

For this food menu template, we’ll start by designing the inside of the menu and finish the design with the cover. 

Step 1

Select the Background layer from the Layers panel.

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a rectangle that covers all three panels. Make sure the rectangle also covers the bleeds. 

On the Swatches panel, set the color to Grey. 

Lock the Background layer and select the Copy layer.

add a background using the rectangle tool

Step 2

Using the Text Tool (T) from the toolbar, create a small text frame. In it, add the title of the section—in my case, it is Our Specialties. 

On the Paragraph Styles panel, select the Section Title to style the text frame. While selecting the text frame, set the color to [Paper]. Press J to change the color of the text and select the red color. 

Select the Rotate Tool (R) from the toolbar. Rotate the text frame 90° and place it in the top left corner of the first panel. 

add a text frame to add a section title

Step 3

Using the Text Tool (T), create a text frame that measures 6 cm in Width and 9 cm in Height.

Double-click on the text frame. Head over to the menu bar and select Table > Insert Table. In the Insert Table option window, set the Body Rows to 24 and the Columns to 2.

insert a table

For the Table Style, select New Table Style. 

In the New Table Style option window, set the Style Name to Menu Table. 

Under Cell Styles, set the Body Rows to New Cell Style. 

create a new cell style on the body rows option

In the New Cell Style option window, set the Paragraph Style to Menu Items. 

Select the Text option from the left side menu. Set all the Cell Insets to 0.

Select the Stroke and Fills option from the left side menu. Set the Color to [None]. Click OK. 

create a new cell style

For the New Table Style, select the Table Setup option from the left side menu. Set the Table Border Color to [None]. Under Table Spacing, set the Space Before and After to 0 cm. Click OK.

Click OK in the Insert Table option window. 

set the table setup option

Step 4

Head over to Window > Type & Tables > Table. Using the Text Tool (T), select the table we just created to activate the options on the Table panel. 

On the Table panel, set the Row Height to At Least 0.36 cm. 

Select the first column only, and set the Column Width to 5 cm. Select the second column and set the Column Width to 1 cm. 

edit the table on the table panel

Step 5

Now you are ready to add content to the table on your InDesign menu template.

Using the Line Tool (/), create a stroke that extends from the top of the table to the last item. Head over to Window > Stroke and set the Stroke Weight to 0.5 pt. Place the stroke between the section title and the table. 

add a stroke between the section title and the menu items

Step 6

Duplicate the section title, stroke and table by selecting all three items. Press Option-Shift and drag to the lower section of the same panel. Leave a gap between the two sections; we will add an illustration in a later step. 

Using the Text Tool (T), select the section title to change the name. On the Swatches panel, change the color to light yellow. 

Using the Text Tool (T), select all of the duplicated table. Head over to the Table panel and set the Number of Body Rows to 20. This is how you’ll be able to lengthen and shorten tables. Using the Selection Tool (V), shorten the stroke to match the table. 

duplicate the three elements to place on the bottom portion of the panel

Step 7

You can add a special note by using the Text Tool (T). Create a text frame that matches the width of the table. Open the Text panel (Window > Type & Tables > Character) and set the Font to Carters, Size to 8 pt, and Leading to 8 pt. 

add a special note by creating a text frame

Step 8

Duplicate the section title, stroke and table to fill up the rest of the panels. Select all three items and press Shift-Option and drag. Use the Table panel to add or delete rows on the tables of the menu design template. 

duplicate the table and section title multiple times throughout the brochure

Step 9

To finish off the inside of the panel of the restaurant menu template, open the Hand Drawn Asian Restaurant Menu in Adobe Illustrator

Select the items and Ungroup them by pressing Shift-Command-G. If necessary, Ungroup the subgroups by using the same shortcut. 

Select any of the illustrations, press Command-C to Copy, and head over to the take-out menu template in InDesign. On the Layers panel, select the Illustrations layer. Press Command-V to Paste the illustrations

open the illustration on Illustrator and copy and paste items onto InDesign

3. Designing the Outside Panels of the Take-Out Menu InDesign Template

Step 1

Select the Background layer from the Layers panel of the food menu template.

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create three rectangles that cover each panel. 

On the Swatches panel, set the color of the first and third rectangle to Yellow. Set the second rectangle to Grey.

Lock the Background layer and select the Copy layer of the Chinese take-out menu template.

On the outside panel add a background to each panel

Step 2

Duplicate the section title, stroke and table from the inside panels by pressing Shift-Option and dragging. Edit the table and section title as you need through the front panel of the Chinese take-out menu template.

duplicate the text frames from the inside panel to the outside

Step 3

Head over to Illustrator and select illustrations to Copy and Paste onto the outside panel of the Chinese take-out menu template. 

copy illustrations to the outside panel

4. Designing the Front Cover of the Take-Out Menu InDesign Template

Step 1

Select the Ellipse Tool (L) from the toolbar. Click on the food menu template document to open the Ellipse option window. Set the Width to 7.5 cm and the Height to 3.5 cm.  

Select the Type on a Path Tool from the toolbar and click on the ellipse.

I added text and opened the Character panel. Set the Font to Carters Regular and Size to 16 pt. 

On the Swatches panel, set the color to [Black]. 

create an ellipse and use the type on a path tool to add text

Step 2

Duplicate the ellipse by pressing Shift-Option and dragging downwards. Change the font on the text from the Character panel to Carters Shadow. On the Swatches panel, set the color to medium yellow. 

duplicate the frame multiple times and change the font family to create shadow

Step 3

Duplicate the ellipse once more by pressing Shift-Option and dragging downwards. Change the font on the text from the Character panel to Carters Black Shadow. On the Swatches panel, set the color to dark yellow. 

Select all three ellipses and open the Align panel by going to Window > Object & Layout > Align. Press the Align Vertical Center button to align all three ellipses. 

Press Command-G to Group all three ellipses. 

align the three ellipses by using the align panel

Step 4

Using the Text Tool (T), create a text frame that fits the width of the panel on the menu template. On the Character panel, set the Font to Carters Regular, Size to 55 pt, and Leading to 45 pt. 

On the Swatches panel, set the color to red.

create a text frame to add the name of the restaurant

Duplicate the text frame by pressing Shift-Option and dragging downwards. Change the font on the Character panel to Carters Shadow. On the Swatches panel, set the color to medium yellow. 

Duplicate the text frame once more by pressing Shift-Option and dragging downwards. Change the font from the Character panel to Carters Black Shadow. On the Swatches panel, set the color to dark yellow. 

Select all three text frames and head over to the Align panel. Select the Align Vertical Center button to align the frames. 

duplicate the text frame and change the font family to create a shadow

Step 5

From Illustrator, feel free to add an illustration below the title on the restaurant menu template. Press Command-C to Copy and Command-V to Paste.

Using the Line Tool (/), add a stroke that runs across the width of the panel. Set the Stroke Weight to 0.5 pt. 

copy an illustration to include under the name of the restaurant

Step 6

Using the Text Tool (T), add an address and phone number to the Chinese take-out menu. On the Character panel, set the Font to Carters, the Size to 16 pt, and the Leading to 12 pt. 

Using the Line Tool (/), add a stroke that runs across the width of the panel. Set the Stroke Weight to 0.5 pt. 

using the text tool add an address and phone number

Step 7

Duplicate one of the menu table items to the front cover of the take-out menu. Delete all the contents and open the Table panel. 

On the Table panel, set the Number of Rows to 3 and set the Row Height to At Least 0.3 cm.

Select the first column and set the Column Width to 1 cm. Set the second and third column Width to 3 cm. 

create a smaller table to add opening times

On the Character panel, set the Font to Carters and Size to 8 pt. 

Add ‘hours’ in the first column and days in the second column. In the third column, add times. 

add opening times

5. How to Export a File for Printing

Before exporting a file for printing, it's useful to take a look around all the edges of the menu design template. This is to make sure all the images and vectors bleeding out are touching the bleeds. Press to go between Preview mode and Normal mode. 

Remember that each fold will be represented by a crop mark. Let your professional printer know to avoid confusion. It is also helpful to ask for a printer's proof to make sure the project is printed correctly.

Step 1

To export the menu design template, go to File > Export. Name the file trifold brochure and choose Adobe PDF (Print) from the Format drop-down menu. Click Save. 

export the file for printing

Step 2

In the Export Adobe PDF window, set the Adobe PDF Preset to Press Quality. Under Pages, select Export As Spreads.

select press quality as PDF preset and Export As Spreads

On the left side of the panel, select Marks and Bleeds. Check All Printer’s Marks and Use Document Bleed Settings. Click Export. You will have a ready-to-print PDF file.

check all printers marks and use document bleed settings

Great Job! You’ve Finished This Tutorial!

In this tutorial, we learned how to make an InDesign menu template. We covered key tools that will help your users edit a template quickly and easily for their ever-changing menus. Today, we learned to:

  • set up a ready-to-print InDesign file
  • create multiple paragraph styles
  • add different color swatches
  • insert and edit tables
  • use a multi-layer font to create a shadow effect

If you are new to InDesign and need a take-out menu template or restaurant menu template right away, head over to Envato Elements and GraphicRiver. We’ve got many options to explore! 

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