Innovation & Design
Can a menu change your mind?
Project Types
Customer experience
The challenge

From our brand positioning work with Wagamama, we knew that diners perceived the restaurants as places to socialize, recharge, and feel reinvigorated. Wagamama wanted its menu to better communicate these brand values while still portraying the dishes as fresh, healthy, and nutritious.

Our approach

We wanted to build a set of unifying menu design principles that Wagamama could use to guide subsequent menu launches. We did that through a three-step methodology:

Expert interview on the psychology of menu design and menu engineering.
Competitor analysis to uncover trends in design and areas of untapped opportunity within the restaurant industry for Wagamama.
Tastemaker triadswith 12 diners at Wagamama to discuss its menu in-situ, followed by a co-creation exercise.

Using behavioral science and analysis from our preliminary research, we built a menu design playbook specifically tailored to Wagamama’s brand objectives. This playbook explored 15 key principles for menu design, from how the layout can encourage adventurous eating to how the language can be used to communicate Wagamama’s relationship to Japan.


The specific strategic recommendations outlined in the playbook were used to lead the redesign of Wagamama’s menu, including adding a welcome statement and freeing up more white space. These recommendations laddered up to a set of core, evergreen menu design principles to support all future designs.

Canvas8 have been an incredible insights partner for Wagamama over the years. The insight that has been provided is always clear, actionable, and well-positioned. For example, the new menu research that was completed in 2019 has been invaluable for us – it’s an excellent piece of research that we still refer to after actioning the original insight. A great agency and team to work with and we couldn’t recommend them enough!Senior insight analyst, Wagamama
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