Ways to Grow

11 Tips to Design a High Performing DoorDash Menu

Learn how to update your menu to provide your customers with a better experience, ease the burden on your kitchen, and drive customer loyalty and growth.

14 min read
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Your menu is what sets you apart from the competition and helps you attract customers and make sales. According to our 2023 Restaurant Online Ordering Trends Report, menu selection (55%) and menu pricing (51%) are the top two things consumers look for when trying a new restaurant for delivery or pickup. By giving your customers enticing DoorDash menu options, you could drive more sales. Here’s how to make sure your menu is working as hard as you are. 

Why is menu optimization important?

How you showcase your menu can dramatically increase the number of customers who choose to order from your restaurants and how many items they will order. In fact, menus with item photos saw an increase of up to 44% in monthly sales and those with item descriptions earn up to 18% more in sales each month.

What is the best way to create a menu for my restaurant?

You can edit your menu in the Merchant Portal, on your POS system, and on your Business Manager App. Taking a thoughtful approach to your menu design and employing the following menu-creator techniques can help increase sales and drive customer loyalty:

1. Organize your menu into categories

When it comes to ordering food online, customers want a menu that is easy to navigate and helps them decide what to order. One of the simplest ways to meet this need is to split your menu into categories, much like you would do on a printed or display menu. Here are some ideas:

  • Separate out appetizers, entrees, sides, drinks, and desserts into different sections

  • Organize your menu by type of cuisine — for example, sushi and Mexican

  • Add a highlight section for dishes for special dietary needs, such as Vegan, Gluten-Free, or Keto

  • Create categories recommending meals for certain situations, like Lunch for One, Dinner for Two, or Family Dinner for Four

DoorDash will also organize your menu with a category for Most Liked Items, which helps customers find trusted recommendations from locals at a glance, reducing decision fatigue when searching for what to eat.

DoorDash also includes category descriptions, which allow you to provide more details or context. Keep in mind, categories can also be easier to navigate on small smartphone screens, and thus improve the experience of customers trying to order from you via their phone.

To learn how to organize a restaurant menu into categories, head over to How to Add Menu Items and Descriptions.

2. Price menu items for conversion

Another important aspect of a menu is pricing. While some merchants may mark up their online menus as a strategy to compensate for other costs, we’ve found that merchants who mark up their menu prices can see up to 37% fewer sales and up to 78% lower reorder rates, based on a 2023 internal study of over 4500 small business restaurants on DoorDash during a four-week period.

Marked-up prices are one of the top customer complaints we receive — so it’s no surprise that they can discourage customers from ordering and decrease order volume. Below are actual reviews left by customers for restaurants with significant menu markups:

  • “Prices [are] higher than in store…Would have ordered every day if they were the same.”

  • “I love this restaurant. They are seriously up-charging from what they charge normally and I will never order from them...”

  • “Will not order ridiculous price increases.”

Read more about how consistent menu pricing maximizes visibility and volume on DoorDash here.

If you’re a DoorDash merchant and have questions about pricing, feel free to email us at menu-pricing@doordash.com.

3. Attract hungry customers with photos

Menu photography can make or break a customer’s decision of where to order their meal.

DoorDash offers a complimentary menu photoshoot to help you show off your menu or you can check out these six tips for taking great menu photos to find out how to capture the deliciousness of your food on camera.

Once your photos are ready for upload, check out this step-by-step How to Add Photos guide.

4. Provide thorough descriptions

Your DoorDash customers don’t have one of your servers or staff members nearby to answer questions or tell them what’s special about a particular dish. That’s why it’s extra important to include thorough item descriptions throughout your menu. This isn’t surprising — if you had to choose between these two items, which would you pick?

  • Side Salad

  • Fresh mixed greens with local seasonal vegetables and your choice of housemade dressing.

Read How to Write Mouth-Watering Food Descriptions for Your Online Menu for more ways to make your delivery menu descriptions pop.

5. Add modifiers that sell

A recent analysis of DoorDash menus found that customization is a top factor for merchant success, attracting a wider range of customers who want to tailor orders to their taste.

Including modifiers on your menu — or options for customers to add to or change a specific item for an additional fee — is an excellent way to increase check size. There are a couple of different ways to incorporate modifiers into your menu:

  • The option to add a side, dessert, or drink to any entree

  • The ability to add toppings or other additions (like extra protein) to items like salads, bowls, burgers

  • Multiple size options to choose from

  • Multiple spice levels to choose from (e.g. hot, medium, mild)

6. Stand out with store branding

Your store’s branding — in particular your logo and header photo — are the first thing a customer sees when they look at your menu.

Adding your logo and a header photo is a great way to stand out and put your best foot forward.

Menus with header images and logos get up to 50% (header) and 23% (logo) more monthly sales than menus without these branding elements.

7. Create bundle packages for larger orders

If your customers are looking to order for a group, bundled options make their ordering experience much faster and less complicated. Whether it’s dinner for two, a full family-style meal for 6 or a package (like five pizzas for the price of four), bundles make life easier for customers and kitchens.

8. Think seasonally

People associate the change of seasons with different flavors and cuisines. In the colder months, customers often seek out warm, hearty dishes with a rich complexity of spices. In the summer, people lean toward lighter, brighter options, often with seasonal produce. In every season, look into what produce is available locally and how you can incorporate those ingredients into new or existing menu items.

9. Offer pre-packaged meals

Many people don’t have time to grocery shop or prepare meals, so pre-packaged breakfasts, lunches, or dinners that can be reserved and picked up ahead of time are a huge time saver. If you have the capacity, you can experiment with different options to see which your customers like best. Since these meals may be eaten over the course of a few days, it’s best to include items that keep and reheat well.

10. Sell pantry staples and provisions

If you have popular specialty retail items — like sauces, salsas, pasta, and spices — consider offering them for purchase alongside your regular menu items. This is an easy way to reach more customers and potentially increase your revenue.

11. Offer alcohol

Adding alcohol to your DoorDash menu can increase the average check size. According to the National Restaurant Association’s 2022 State of the Restaurant Industry Report, 77% of Gen Z adults say they included an alcohol beverage with a takeout or delivery order from a restaurant, deli, or fast food place during the past 6 months.

If you already serve alcohol in your restaurant and would like to add it to your DoorDash menu, visit the Merchant Portal or reach out to DoorDash Support directly.

Your DoorDash menu options are the best way to show your customers what you have to offer, from your unique recipes to your commitment to excellent service. A menu with high-quality photos, enticing meal descriptions, cohesive branding, and consistent pricing is a menu that will set you and your business apart — and set you up for success.

Ready to edit your menu? Learn How to Add Me nu Items and Descriptions.