Admit it. When you go into a restaurant and see a chalkboard menu that's been created with some artistic flair, you stop and notice--you probably order something from it, too.
So how do you create one of these menus for your pizzeria?
You can hire an artist, like this guy.
You can quiz your staff to see if anyone is artistically inclined and interesting in playing around with some chalk.
You can contact one of many companies that are now providing this service to restaurants. There are even chalkboard templates that look like chalk, but are actually vinyl.
If you want to try your own hand at chalkboard menu design, it's not as hard as it looks. You'll just need a chalkboard, chalk, a ruler, water, and a little patience.
Here are a few general rules.
1. Always have a plan. Draw out your design on paper first; once you know what you want, measure it out on your chalkboard before starting to draw.
2. Play around with different fonts. Check out font websites and books to find fonts that you like. As you can see on the board above, varying fonts and sizes can really make your board stand out.
3. Don't be afraid to make a mistake. It won't be perfect the first go around; that's why you have water and a rag to touch up any misprints.
4. Get colorful. Black and white is great, but the menu boards that really stand out also integrate some color into them. Grab some color chalk and have some fun.
5. Start small. While 6-foot chalkboard menus certainly make a statement, you probably want to start out with a counter-top specials board when you're just testing your skills. Work your way up to the full wall menu.
Send me a picture of your finished chalkboard; I'd love to see it!
Author, Pizza: A Slice of American History
Editor at Large, PMQ Pizza Magazine