Hi All,

I'm opening a small coffee shop in SLC, trying to decide whether to go with a chalkboard menu or a printed one.

Any opinions based on experience? What are the major advantages & drawbacks to each? Also, I've tried to find examples of really awesomely drawn chalkboard menus, and I've found some, but I'd love to see what else is out there. Just to give me some ideas.

Thanks in advance...

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Brady,

Sorry I'm just now replying, wanted to thank you for the suggestion on the menu; printed vs chalk. I like what you had to say, and i just might give that a shot.

Cheers!

Brady said:
Here's another thought - picture frames. Our menu boards are giant picture frames that have been fitted with non-glare glass and just a plain black matte board inside. The menu is written on the glass with those wet-erase liquid chalk markers. Since the base is glass the marker wipes right off with a little water. BUT since the base is black the contrast is really good and colors are really vivid.

If you wanted something with more personality you could use a more ornate frame and more interesting matte board. We went with basic black.

Benefits: You can put the glass on a grid board when you first do the menu so things are nice and straight. The other real upside here is cost... a big frame is maybe 50 bucks at the craft store, the glare-resistant glass another $50-$75, 5 bucks in matte board... compare that with a large blackboard.

Downside - there is just a little sheen to it, which can somewhat impeded readability if the lights are aimed wrong.

There is a pic that shows these a little bit on my page.

Good luck.
I use a plasma screen with a custom menu I design....looks awesome and different and easy to change and add screens for specials...designed a few for some other businesses, as well!
Here is our menu that I made from recycled windows. Just painted the glass with chalk paint (about 4 coats) and used chalk paint pens.


And here are some shelves I made - also from old windows with plexiglass added on top:

Walt Geminn said:
Here is our menu that I made from recycled windows. Just painted the glass with chalk paint (about 4 coats) and used chalk paint pens.


And here are some shelves I made - also from old windows with plexiglass added on top:


Wow, those are some great looking menus. I think that's a great use of recovered building material. Good work.
Me likey chalkboard as long as it's neatly done, and easy to read. If real professional is the look you are going for, obviously that won't work.
We owned and operated the Indonique Tea & Chai cafe in New Orleans before being forced closed by Hurricane Katrina. We used a chalk board to be consistent with our tea importer feel. Chalk boards suggest fresh off the boat daily - too fresh and too current to warrant a printed menu. I would however, use painted headings to draw attention as chalk can be a bit dull. We also think that printed signs are a bit cold and corporate.

That's my 2 cents
George Constance
Indonique Tea & Chai
www.indonique.com
Ben,

We have chalk boards and I love the look and feel they create. But we have been in business 15 years and while prices are easy to change, the rest is not. If I had to do it over again I would not choose chalk.
I'd love to see the plasma screen menu. Could you post a pic of it? Do you transmit the image from a computer program, or what?

Exspressoyourself said:
I use a plasma screen with a custom menu I design....looks awesome and different and easy to change and add screens for specials...designed a few for some other businesses, as well!
We simply painted the wall with chalkboard paint and did our menus right on the wall. It took a few hours to completely redo the menu, but we didn't have any artwork or such like Heather.

Later we framed the whole thing by staining and nailing some trim around the perimeter.

i am glad you can spell "Consistent"... I always spell it "Constant", hence my hesitation to print menus as my bad spelling would bankrupt us! In NZ many cafes also paint a blackboard floor to ceiling on a wall. It is quite effective if you have sopace for it!

The Barista Formerly Known As JavaJ said:
We simply painted the wall with chalkboard paint and did our menus right on the wall. It took a few hours to completely redo the menu, but we didn't have any artwork or such like Heather.

Later we framed the whole thing by staining and nailing some trim around the perimeter.

I always try to spell check everything first. But it's really embarrassing when you misspell "macchiato."
I am a Habitual Mizspeller!

The Barista Formerly Known As JavaJ said:
I always try to spell check everything first. But it's really embarrassing when you misspell "macchiato."

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