14+ Vintage Restaurant Menu Designs and Examples – PSD, AI

People love to eat. They especially love it when they eat out. With a wide variety of different types of restaurants present around the world, either cheap or expensive that caters all the needs of every social and economic classes, it’s near impossible for anyone to starve to death these days. You may also see examples of a food menu.

There are also a vast and diverse variety of cuisines and menus in every different restaurants that anyone could eat with their heart’s desire.

Vintage Inspired Restaurant Menu Design Example

vintage inspired restaurant menu design example

Cardboard Inspired Restaurant Menu Design Example

cardboard inspired restaurant menu design example

Old Photography Restaurant Menu Design Example

old photography restaurant menu design example

However, as people eat away in restaurants, it’s nice to have a trip through time on what were restaurants like a hundred years ago, how some food places originated, and what a simple menu do the hundred year old restaurants served back then? From Jan Whitaker’s research of the rise and fall of restaurants by the past decades, she detailed out the highlights of the restaurants of each decades starting from 1870s-1970s, a century history of restaurants and how it shaped today’s current dining places.

Western Inspired Restaurant Menu Design Example

western inspired restaurant menu design example

1870’s Restaurants

Depression was vast during the 1870s. High rates of unemployment, business failure, and the destruction of Chicago because of fire, this decade was full of tumultuous events and this was a horrible time for the development of the restaurant trade. However, as restaurants tried and failed, the field widens for these entrepreneurs as new types of markets emerged. Despite of the fact that the unemployment rate is high, the appeal of dining out grows. You may also see sumptuous seafood menu examples.

With the abstinence from alcohol movement, this helped introduced innovation of cheap coffee houses. The all time low of economic instability put American-plan hotels under financial pressure. Formerly providing limitless amounts of food with the price of a room; these hotels shut down their dining rooms and in result, expanded the number of customers for outside restaurants. Some restaurants open special rooms for un escorted women in response to this growing demand. You may also like chinese food menu designs & examples.

Back then, refrigerated railway cars had made it easier to ship meat, oysters, seafood, fruits, and vegetables to all parts of the country, now bringing luxuries to the tables of restaurants in out of the way places like in most rural areas. Because of the fire in Chicago that left it in smoldered ruins, they put their culinary operations on wheels and toured around the city supplying the long queues of hungry people with fried fish, sausages, coffee, and pie. This is how the first American diners originated. In the same city, about one third of the patrons are women. However, liquor was not served in these restaurants. You may also check out dinner menu samples.

70s 80s Menu Design Example

70s 80s menu design example

1880’s Restaurants

In the 1880s, wider range of foods became available to people living in cities, that allowed restaurant menus to be more varied. Cold storage warehouses and refrigerated rail cars brought cheaper Chicago beef and out-of-season produce. Mechanically frozen ice also became available. Cheese and butter now came from factories, instead of being mainly available in farms. However, fresh fruits and vegetables remained luxuries for most people and meat and potatoes dominated menus. Bigger and better capitalized restaurants now installed electricity lines that provided brighter lighting and the most essential ventilation systems. You may also see takeaway menu designs and examples.

The public now have their most coveted lower restaurant prices, that they all demanded, alongside with quicker service, and more flexible meal times. The dining public increased in number. Boarding houses that prepared meals as part of the rent bill were quickly replaced by kitchen less boarding house whose tenants went to restaurants for dinner. More hotels now switched to the European style, in which guests has the liberty to eat wherever they prefer rather than they pay for an inclusive charge for room and meals. You may also like examples of lunch menu designs.

New types of ready-to-eat food peddlers also became more common, with the likes of night lunch wagons and dairy cafes that focuses in simple, inexpensive meals such as baked beans and cereal with milk. Immigrants also brought along with them their own cuisines from their native countries and this brought new variety of cuisines in US. Coffee houses and soda fountains still continue to thrive in most states as well as the rise of department stores and downtown retail shops also brought more women in city centers and restaurants catering to their cuisine needs. You may also check out menu card samples.

In other large cities, customers flood into cheap restaurants around railroad depots and wharves. Attractive menus are usually chalked up on boards. Salmon is the most often listed from all the menus across US, as identified by one menu collector.

Sortie Lord Restaurant Menu Design Example

sortie lord restaurant menu design example

1890’s Restaurants

As the 19th century closes in to welcome a new century, there are already over approximately 20,000 restaurants in the US. However, they are still overshadowed by salon keepers (which have a whopping number of 70,000), many of whom also serve food either for free or at a very cheap rate. Free lunches were so rapid in these times that it has become so well ingrained that industries developed to supply saloons with prepared food. As the big cities are now growing, the number of restaurants swells. You may also see cafe menu designs.

Affordable restaurants such as lunch counters, lunch wagons, and ethnic cafés are the leading types of restaurants in this era, which were kept afloat by the vast immigration of Southern Europeans, particularly Southern Italians. Chinese restaurants were getting popular in the West. More women patronize restaurants, which of whom are without escorts, and they can be particularly found in downtown shopping districts and around office buildings where they work. You may also like barbecue menu examples.

However, an the economy spiraled down in 1893, sending the country into a horrible four-year-long Depression. Self-service lunchrooms which operate on the honor system begin to notice that some restaurant patrons threw their checks away. Public interest grows in an automat restaurant which was popularized in Germany in which food is not accessible until money is deposited in a slot. One restaurant in Colorado served 5 cent meals to a huge number of unemployed men who earn their credit to pay for the meal of meat, potatoes, bread, and vegetable by cutting and stacking wood. You may also check out pizza menu samples and examples.

Also present where the competition from cafés and restaurants in Massachusetts are fierce and wiped out the old boarding houses where its renters had all their meals supplied. The reason is that people now prefer restaurants because they get to choose what to eat and when to eat. In Michigan and Indiana passed bills are to outlaw French on menus. The reason to this is one legislator was in a French restaurant and unable to understand the modern menu (since it was all in French) only got himself some bowls of soup and toothpicks.

American Vintage Restaurant Menu Design Example

american vintage restaurant menu design example

Diner Inspired Menu Design Example

diner inspired menu design example

1900’s Restaurants

At the beginning of the 20th century, so it begins the birth of the modern era of the restaurant industry. Restaurant patrons grew large in numbers. The rise of inexpensive lunch rooms with simpleton menus and fast service burgeoned to serve  the increased numbers of urban white collar workers. Women were now adventurous more than ever; they went to places they once dared not go, climbing onto lunch counter stools and went to cafes in the evening without male escorts. You might be interested in salad menu samples.

Diners now are more concerned about food safety and cleanliness. Local government in cities now mandate restaurant inspections. Spoiled meat were now eradicated rather than being saved by restaurants. They also install sanitary plain white tile on floors and walls to demonstrate cleanliness and organization. There was also the unification of cooks and waiters. Restaurant owners followed suit and they advocated the abolition of the saloon’s “free lunch,” and fighting off strikes. You may also see pasta menu designs and examples.

New and fresh types of food places become popular such as cafeterias, vegetarian cafés, German rathskellers, tea rooms, and Chinese and Italian restaurants, other ethnic restaurants, restaurants with entertainment, and many more. Adventurous, and free spirited young people seek these types of restaurants as they offer products and services that are not common such for example, ethnic restaurants serve free wines.

Restaurants also introduced live music. The snooty elite staged elaborate banquets. As restaurant patronage rises the topic of food can be found everywhere. Some hobby enthusiasts also collect menus. Frances Buttolph reportedly deposited over 9,000 menus in the New York Public Library.

1910’s Restaurants

This decade witnessed major events such as the World War I for example, but this was also the eventful period in the development of the restaurant. Social and economic  development have made the desire of the people that favored them of eating out. Restaurant patronage was on the rise and drastically, the social habits changed as people are eating out more than eating in their own homes. Urbanized and speed-up modern work regimes let people seek more outlets for pleasure. You might be interested in typography menu examples.

Numbers of single male and female white-collar workers in the cities increased as they left the traditional home-based courtship and now, the new custom of middle-class dating has brought for a longing of entertainment and this heightened the restaurant goers. With the invention of better and modernized transportation, more women visited tea rooms and restaurants around town and in department stores. You may also see coffee menu examples.

However, with the government worried about the influence of alcohol in the country, there was a state-wide prohibition and soon many states and areas no longer sell alcohol as this was now illegal. Bars now became lunch counters and ready-to-eat meals food places. Most restaurants who are starting up were only just self-service lunch rooms. Customers can save a lot of dough as they can avoid tipping and enjoy low prices in ready to eat meals. Restaurant owners began hiring more women as waitresses. You may also like examples of kids menu.

Cabaret and lobster palaces restaurants used to be open all night in NYC until the mayor of NYC orders them to be closed at 1:00 AM. In the late 1910s when the war flourished across nations, restaurants in the US place their glassware on tabletops to save on linens and laundry.They also removed sugar bowls, take cheese dishes off their menus, and feature more hors d’oeuvres, fresh vegetables, salads, fruits, tasty seafoods, and organ meats such as liver and intestines in their menu.

Old Paper Menu Design Example

old paper menu design example

European Inspired Restaurant Menu Design Example

european inspired restaurant menu design example

1920’s Restaurants

The roaring 20s is not just popular for no reason at all. In fact, in this decade many social and economic changes and development happened in these years. It is also an important decade as this marked the birth of the modern restaurant industry. With the advent of national prohibition that stripped off liquor profits, it helped shift the emphasis of people to low prices, but high volume food service. You may also see italian menu designs & examples.

Now people eat out more than ever. Restaurant owners had formed professional associations to raise their industry standards, counter organized labor, and lobby for their interests. Unfortunately, pre-war restaurants such as French restaurants, for example, closed while cafeterias, luncheons, and tea rooms lived and thrived on. You may also like finest wine menu examples.

Female waiters replaced men waiters. Restaurant chains incorporated and were listed on the stock exchange. In Milwaukee, restaurant owners reported that Sunday is their busiest day of the week because hoards of families eat out together in restaurants. Many women aside from being waiters in restaurants were now also patrons of it and soon, businessmen caters restaurants for women. You may also check out spa menu designs and examples.

1930’s Restaurants

While the Depression deepens in America, however, the number of full-fledged restaurants continues to rise, around 30,000 in number in the whole decade. With restrictive legislation of the late 1920s of the immigrants, this has a negative effects towards the restaurant industry as the labor of the supply of professional waiters and cooks have dwindled. By this time, more women servers make up more than half of wait staffs. The affordable value, fixed price menu, which had been replaced by a la carte service, returns to the trend. You might be interested in salon menu designs and examples.

Restaurant promotions with the likes of “all you can eat” and “free coffee/juice refills” are also featured. During the prohibition era, many diners, who are used to speakeasies, now show their preference for small, intimate restaurants. The then all white interiors of restaurants upgraded give way to art deco to art nouveau designs that gives life to restaurants and make it aesthetically pleasing.

Finances from the federal government help facilitate modernization in restaurants by adding streamlined fronts and air-conditioners. Nevertheless, restaurants have greatly dropped their prices. Different stores installed lunch counters to let shoppers grab a bite to eat while shopping. You may also see catering menu examples.

Chalkboard Retro Menu Design Example

chalkboard retro menu design example

Bon Appetit Vintage Menu Design Example

bon appetit vintage menu design example

Art Deco Menu Design Example

art deco menu design example

1940’s Restaurants

During the World War 2, many men fought and participated in the war brought an advantage in the economy of the United States. With the creation of 17 million new jobs in US, it finally pulls the economy out of the Depression from the previous decade. Millions of women entered the labor force while men were fighting. You may also see restaurant menu designs & examples.

And so, the demand of restaurant meals heightens, increasing from approximately 20 million meals served per day to over a whopping 60 million. However, supplies were dwindling out and so rationing was an integral part of their life back then. After the war, the world was still recovering from its damages in properties and so rationing still thrives on. You may also like examples of bakery menu.

However, patronage in restaurants fell when most women quit jobs and return themselves to the kitchen. Now restaurants are worried since their labor resources are short in supply. And so, they took advantage of food service methods and materials developed for the armed services. The frozen food industry supplies restaurants with fish, french fries, and baked goods. Pre-cooked entrees were now available. You may also check out burger menu designs and examples.

These methods, along with fast food assembly queues and services done by the military are now transferred to commercial establishments. And so the fast food restaurant business was born. In Chicago, trade schools programs in professional cooking also enrolled war veterans to help relieve their city’s acute chef shortage.

1950’s Restaurants

In the 1950s, technology had skyrocketed and were now heading to a more modern world, leaving the old tradition and ways of the past decade. More people live in suburbs and more people already have televisions in their homes. More women were becoming independent and worked outside their homes. Separate education between the races were abolished slowly. And so, casual dining still prevailed but new interests in new dining experiences, luxuries, and a wide variety of cuisines are quickly taking place. You may also see breakfast menu examples.

The restaurant industries were off looking to a bright future ahead of them. One of the cool highlights during this decade is when pancakes were becoming a thing for the masses as the Aunt Jemima Pancake House opened their doors in Disneyland. Another highlight during this decade is the stiff competition betweeen national hamburger chains and drive-in and downtown burger shops. With hamburger chains such as McDonalds’ who offer cheap-mass produced food with coffeehouse style dining areas. You may also like examples of a drink menu.

Summer Restaurant Menu Design Example

summer restaurant menu design example

Old Paper Menu Design Example 2

old paper menu design example 2

1960’s Restaurants

On through the 1960s, not only major radical changes in counterculture took place in this decade but also Americans grew wealthier, traveled more and more to many countries, and demanded more exotic cuisine from the food they tasted from other countries. However, the major downside was that there were only few trained restaurant cooks. Because of this, convenience food offered solutions for many restaurants to survive through the decades. You may also see examples of bar menu designs.

Old formats of food places began to cease such as diners, automats, drive-ins, cafeterias, and was replaced by fast food and dinner house chains as they took over the restaurants of America. Furthermore, more black Americans began gaining their rights in many places, especially in restaurants and abolishing the racial segregation. In other major cities, menu language has become more cosmopolitan and more sophisticated wording, using French and Italian terms in the cuisine world. You may also like wedding menu examples.

1970’s Restaurants

During the 70s, the custom of eating in restaurants and the industry grew vastly. Dining out was already a part of the lifestyle of the Americans during this time. This decade is the transition to the present in terms of restaurants cuisines and lifestyles. Now more restaurants opened in suburbs, and the youth and mothers found themselves working in the industry.

Fast-food chains are continuing to grow more rapidly than ever. Along with the rise of food chains and still a shortage of cheap labor in restaurant, the use of convenience foods and microwaves upsurged in restaurants. However this started ordinances on restaurants not to fool the masses by putting false claims in their menus that misuse words such as fresh and home-made even though their meals are not.

Restaurants such as ethnic, artisanal, and natural food are also on the rise– people were now more concerned on what they eat. Salad bars became popular. Vegetables such as bean sprouts, zucchini, and even fish began being present on menus. Even Chinese restaurants, which are very popular in the West, was not only limited to Cantonese cuisine; they also served Mandarin, Szechuan, and even Hunan. You may also check out pastry menu designs and examples.

In Evanston, Illinois, the alcohol ban was lifted a bit and grant liquor licenses to a few of hotels and restaurants. The sales of their restaurants sky-rocketed to doubles. In San Diego, who was notoriously known as having bland food were specializing cuisines from around the world.

Now that you get to know the history of restaurants, you might find it easy to admire and not take them for granted. Today, the restaurant industry is booming profusely in numbers in all over the world. Ethnic restaurants have started setting up in places where a limited number of food places exists. You might be interested in printable menus.

Many people reincarnated saloons, diners, automats, fancy restaurants, steak houses, coffee shops, luncheons, food trucks, buffets, cafeterias, and etc in many parts of the world. Setting up a business in this industry can really hit, as people would always crave for food and drinks; and with the help of the new technology, it is easier now than compared before to advertise one’s restaurant and to create their own menus inspired by other regions’ cuisines. Even in the years to come, people will still love to eat out and dine in restaurants. You may also see free menu designs & examples.

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