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Planning a menu

Instore menus are organized under three levels of detail: categories, items, and customizations. The following explanations will help you create a menu that is optimized to work with Instore. Remember that Instore was made to be flexible, and these suggestions are just a starting point for your store.


Categories are the most general grouping on Instore. Categories are meant to hold your items, and items must always belong to a category. Categories are best suited for broad groupings of similar items, for example, “sandwiches,” “hair color treatments,” “catering menu,” “wines by the glass,” or “clothing accessories.” While a category can hold unlimited items, the iPad will display about 8 items on the screen before you will need to scroll to see more.


Items lie at the heart of Instore and represent the most fundamental piece of your menu or offering. Most of your sales analytics will be based on item sales, so it is a good idea to think about what is important to track in your store — sometimes it may not even be a traditional item you are tracking. Items can have a number of options set on them including price, allergens, description, taxation rules, and customizations.

Organizing your items with sizes is often a great way to track your sales. Instead of creating two separate items for a dozen roses and two dozen roses, it is better to create one item for roses and make two sizes for that item. Your analytics will be more organized and easier to sort through.


Customizations give the finest control over item tracking at your store. Sometimes referred to as modifiers, customizations can have prices associated with them and typically represent changes a customer may make to your order. For example, adding gift wrap, including product insurance, swapping whole milk for soy milk, purchasing in-home delivery, or requesting a dish be split for two people are examples of customizations. In fact, you can turn any order- or item-level request into a customization to help you track the most about your orders. You may want to learn when customers order takeout or ask for extra toppings on food. Instore also allows you to create customizations “on-the-fly” so that you can track new modifications to items your customers may have requested at the store. These are created on the iPad and can be viewed on the office backend. It is best to think of customizations as broad modifications to more than one item, which can be applied to multiple types of items. If a customization only applies to one item, it may be better served as a size.

Common Menu Structures

The best place to start planning your menu is from your own paper or printed menu or catalog. Turn your broad groupings into categories and general modifications into customizations.

  • Do you organize your salon options by men and women? Then start with two categories for men and women. Or do you have tiered-pricing? Then create one item with the different tiers as sizes, and base your categories on different treatment or cut options.
  • Are you a bar? Create special categories for happy hour specials if you only carry a few options. If you offer many options, you can also create negative-price customizations, happy-hour discounts, or use an item size as a happy-hour size.
  • Do you offer catering? Creating a special catering category is helpful with items based on catering options. This will help to keep catering options outside the main view for regular order taking.
  • Are you a retail store? Software options, clothing sizes, and other product options are usually best turned into sizes, as they usually carry different prices. Some adjustments like color, finish, fabric, or material that apply to a broad range of items are often best turned into customizations, which can also have unique prices. For example, you may only offer a pine table in two sizes, but you may offer a dark stain finish across all your furniture options.

Spending a little time planning your store offering into categories, items, and customizations will make it easier to sell at the store and also track sales within your backend. Our trained business specialists can also help you, just email to setup a free appointment on setting up your menu.