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Laminated Printing: An Overview of Laminated Restaurant Menus

Lamination Helps Protect Menus from Spills, Stains, Tears and Wrinkles

In the printing industry, Lamination refers to the process of bonding a clear plastic film onto printed matter. When laminating restaurant menus, it is most common to bond this film to both sides of the printed piece and include a sealed edge, so that the menu is totally encapsulated in plastic.

Benefits of Laminating Restaurant Menus

  1. Lamination increases the durability of the menu, allowing it to withstand frequent use.
  2. Lamination protects the menu against spills, stains, smudges, tears, wrinkles and abrasions, as well as moisture, grease, and other contaminants. It also makes the menu very easy to clean.
  3. Lamination enhances the ink colors of the menu, making the content more vibrant and appealing. This creates a more professional appearance and grabs attention.
  4. Lamination adds strength and stiffness to the menu, providing an image of higher quality.
  5. Lamination is completely transparent and does not impair the printing in any way.
  6. Lamination has a reasonable cost. Also, because lamination increases the menu's longevity, it saves money on reprinting.

Styles of Laminated Restaurant Menus

Restaurant menus can be created in a wide variety of styles. The style chosen is usually dictated by the amount of information the menu will need to convey, as well as the restaurateur's preference.

Flat: A single flat sheet is the simplest form of laminated menu. To increase the content area, a flat menu could be made as an oversized sheet and/or be printed on both sides.

Folded: Menus often use various folds to create multiple panels. For example, the bi-fold, tri-fold, gate-fold, and double gate-fold designs are all popular choices for laminated menus.

Booklet: A laminated menu created as a booklet allows a great deal of information to be conveyed in a relatively compact and easy-to-use format. This type of laminated menu is ideal for restaurants offering an extensive food and drink selection.

Self-Standing: Some laminated menus are created to be self-standing, such as a z-fold menu or a miniature easel-type menu for table-top display. In most cases, self-standing menus are used to promote accompaniments to the main course, such as drinks, appetizers and desserts.

Other Things to Consider about Laminated Menus…

A sealed-edge laminate provides the ultimate protection against contaminants and moisture. The overhang lip created by the sealed-edge method is usually in the range of 1/8" - 1/2". This lip creates a strong bond around the menu to ensure that fluids and dirt never contact the edge of the printed paper substrate.

Also, lamination that uses heat activation is generally the preferred method because it creates superior adhesion between the printed menu and the laminate. The laminate can be glossy or matte, but glossy is more common and thus less expensive. In addition, laminated menus can be made with square or rounded corners.

Lamination film is usually measured in mil thicknesses. One mil is equal to .001" or 1/1000ths of an inch (a mil is not the same as a millimeter). Hence, a lamination film measuring 3 mil would be .003" thick and a film measuring 5 mil would be .005" thick. If you need your printed menu to be particularly rigid, one tip that can generally save you money is to use a heavy cardstock to print on and then apply a thinner laminate film…as opposed to printing on thinner paper and using a thicker laminate film. If in doubt, tell your printer what your desired thickness result is and then he can price it out with the method most economical for you.

When creating a menu with folds, in some cases the dimensions of the menu and the rigidity of the laminate may not allow the menu to fold tightly or lie perfectly flat. If this is a concern, talk to your printer in advance about ways to limit this effect.

If you have a need for custom printed and laminated restaurant or bar menus, get in touch with Formax Printing Solutions. Whether your menus print in black ink or full vibrant color, we can apply a gloss or matte laminate to protect them from the many rigors of use. Plus, we have excellent pricing and can offer you very helpful guidance and advice!

Take care! Keith

About the Author

Keith Beaty is the owner of Formax Printing Solutions in St. Louis, MO. Formax provides a complete array of offset and digital printing services. Specialty areas include book printing, full-color printing, laminated printing, map printing, plus mailing services. If you ever have a printing question or project you would like to discuss, Keith is always happy to help. He can be reached at 866-367-6221. Keith and Formax have been providing worry-free printing and related services since 1985.

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