We're in the midst of refreshing our menu at Standing Sushi Bar Queen Street. Photos of all the items have been taken, pricing has been determined, and the main thing left to do is layout the menu and then print it.
We've been having a lot of discussions about whether or not the menu should contain pictures for every food item. I vote against having pictures in menus. In my opinion it makes a menu unwieldy because of the number of pages and it also looks cheesy and messy. Of course the flip side of the argument is that people won't have to ask service crew as many questions as they can just assume that the item ordered will correspond with the photo. Some people also believe that seeing pictures of the food make people hungrier or want to "eat with their eyes."
I've decided to forego pictures on our main menu this time for a few reasons, the primary one being speed (trying to adjust the layout with pictures meant starting over a bunch of times) and trying to make the overall presentation look "cleaner." I also like the idea of having people be pleasantly surprised by ordering the food (in text) and being happy with the visual presentation of the food once it gets to their table.
What's your opinion? Do you prefer pictures on a menu or you're fine without it? Does it make a huge difference to you? Why do you think Western restaurants get away without having pictures on the menu compared to Japanese restaurants?