Are You Making the Most of Your Menu?Print
A big part of dining out is the experience. After a long day, I know I just want to sit down, relax and enjoy the atmosphere. The last thing I want is to be confused or frustrated over what the restaurant is offering me. Here are some tips on how to make the most of your menu and increase sales.
Too many items.
This will not only increase labor and food costs, it fatigues your customers and makes it difficult for them to make decisions. Plus, it decreases quality when you try to provide 100+ dishes to please the masses instead of focusing on 10-15 really good items.
Manage your ingredients.
Add a few different toppings or a new sauce and you quickly have a new menu item without adding much cost. Also, use your proteins wisely. If you offer a chicken salad, you can create a chicken parmesan, grilled chicken sandwich and chicken flatbread to get the most of your expensive proteins.
Don't lock yourself in.
Menu's don't have to be laminated and bound in fancy binders anymore. Keep your menu on paper where you can edit quickly and fluidly if you need to. If you have a slow moving item or need to change pricing you can do it on the fly instead of having to edit, send to printer, wait for it to return....blah blah blah. If you need a fancy presentation, buy some leather covers that allow you to slide your paper menus in.
Don't hide the star of the show!
Put your most profitable and popular items front and center. Outline with graphics and place these items in the top right corner or center of the page. There's an entire science based on how customers read menus and how their eyeline reads the page.
Get jiggy with the names.
There's no reason why a hamburger should be named "Hamburger" on your menu. How about "The Kitchen Sink Burger" or the "Filthy Andy"? People like to be entertained and if you have crazy or humorous names on your dishes your customers will be intrigued and curious to read more.
Fonts are your friends.
Use them wisely! Don't choose a font that's hard to read. You may have a fancy french restaurant and want a cursive font that flows across the page, but if your customers can't read your menu, they won't order from it. Instead, pick a nice, clean sans-serif font that matches your style and can be easily read.
Lose the dollar signs.
Try not to ever bring attention to pricing on a menu. By using dollar signs or adding cents ($12.50) to a menu, you're drawing the eye to what your customer's eyes are trained to see. Try to use rounded pricing with no identifiers (12) so people focus on the item and its ingredients. If pricing is predominantly listed on your menu, diners tend to order the least expensive item listed.