Alright, today I want to talk about memorizing the menu. Let me guess, this feels like being back in school? That is because it IS like being back in school. But, the question is:

have you figured out what learning style works for you when doing memorization?

The memorization method I will be sharing:

  1. Memorize an outline of just the sections of the menu.
  2. Take one section at a time and memorize the names of the items in that section.
  3. Learn the details of each item and any choices a guest will need to make.

This technique has worked wonders for me but if you have something that has personally worked well, please share it with us in the YouTube comments section.

Don’t think of menu memorization as anything different than the other subjects you have memorized.

And now for a more detailed breakdown of the three step outline/system.

Step 1 –  Outline Every Section of The Menu

The first thing I do is create an overall outline of every section. Just memorize that first. Note how many items are in each section so you know if you have forgotten one in the next step of this process.

Appetizers – 8
Sides – 4
Pasta Bowls – 6
Entrees – 5
Desserts – 4

Step 2 – Memorize The Items of Each Section

Now, you want to just memorize what items are found in the first section, then the second section, third, etc. This gives you a complete framework for the final step.

Appetizers – 8

Mozzarella Sticks
Linguine & Clams
Cheese Bread
Garlic Bread
Fried Ravioli
Spinach Artichoke Dip

Step 3 – Memorize Each Item’s Description & Choices

Learn how to describe the item in pleasing terms, what choices the customer might need to make, and any allergy info that you are given. Memorize these one at a time or in chunks, depending on what works best for you.



Our delicious calamari is breaded in panko bread crumbs and deep fried to a nice golden brown.
Choice of dipping sauce: marinara OR spicy mayo | note: shellfish allergy

Some Helpful Tips

Don’t Go Backwards

Do not do this process in reverse, i.e. memorizing items first. By the time you have memorized the whole menu, you will likely forget what you studied first. The method of memorizing menu sections, and then section items, gives your mind a place to “hang” the information. It becomes it’s own file system.

Sleep & Memory

Sleep has been shown to have a profound effect on peoples ability to store memories and improve recall. Be sure to get enough rest. You can also use the trick of studying right before bed and then refreshing yourself upon waking.

Review If Necessary

You may have a certain level that you feel less confidence about. Review as needed to keep the information fresh in your mind. You may have certain items that don’t “stick” as well as others. Keep those on note cards with you to review them. Or maybe one section, where you keep forgetting an item. Rewrite that section of items over and over until it is easy.