Offset vs. Digital Printing: what’s the best for printing menus?

Many types of businesses present their price list on a menu, not just restaurants. Spas, beauticians and leisure centres are some examples of business that use menus to present their prices to the clientele. Regardless of its content, a menu needs to look great, be easy to read, reflect the brand and, of course, to be affordable. All of those factors tie into the choice between offset or digital printing for menus.

One of the key questions to consider when planning your menu printing is how often prices and offerings change. Offset litho printing is great for doing large runs of menus that will be in use for a long time. This process uses a plate to transfer ink to paper, and the plate for each job is created individually. Digital printing has a faster set up time, which makes each unit more cost-effective. It’s ideal for smaller runs of menus that will be updated regularly.

Offset Printing for Menus

One of the major advantages of offset printing is its superior legibility. The high quality of this process means that small type and ornate scripts are sharp and easy to read. The quality remains high throughout the print run so the last looks as good as the first. If your branding includes using unusual papers or inks for your menus, offset printing is the best choice. You can use metallic and other special inks. If you want to convey a sense of luxury and elegance, offset litho printing will give you the best elements to do that.

The biggest downsides of offset are that seeing a proof before the job is done adds to the cost because the plate has to be prepared and the turn around time is longer. Offset is the most common form of commercial printing because the quality is excellent.

When to Use Digital Printing for Menus

When you need a fast turn around to keep up with rapid changes to your menu, digital printing is perfect. Digital printing also gives you an easy option for proofreading. If you only need a small number of menus, digital is likely to be less expensive. 

Digital also gives you the ability to customise your print job. For example, if you have a chain of café or beauty salons you probably have the same offerings and prices at each, but the menu could include the address and phone number of that particular location. The offerings might not be exactly the same, so you would need a slight variation in the menus. 

At Printwise, we’re proud to offer both digital and offset printing. And if you are not sure which is best for your menu, we’re here to help you understand the differences and help you make the best choice for your business.