8 Menu Engineering Tips & Tricks

Thinking of revamping your online ordering system’s frontend menu to give your restaurant a fresh new look? Here are 8 things you need to do now.

#1 Add Photos to Your Products

Visuals are crucial in attracting consumers to purchase your products. According to a research done by 3M Corporation and Zabisco, 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text. It is therefore useful that you include pictures in your online ordering system’s frontend menu to capture the attention of your customers, especially those that are rushing for time or are less likely to read long descriptions.

It’s simply cruel to make a hungry person do more imagining work than necessary:

A picture speaks a thousand words! It’s not hard to guess the cake’s toppings and fillings with such tantalizing images:

Remember to also pay close attention to the photography direction and tonality of your food menu items uploaded through the online ordering system as these two factors are essential in determining how customers perceive your menu items and brand.

“Adding visual representations to your food items will increase the chance of your customers purchasing the product by 30 percent

— RAPP, Branding Agency

#2 Limit Your Customer’s Options

Don’t confuse your customers with too many choices when they are selecting what to purchase. Schwartz in his book, The Paradox of Choice, argues that by reducing choices, businesses can greatly reduce anxiety for shoppers. The more options they have, the more likely they feel that they have made the wrong decisions. This feeling will lead to dissatisfaction, consequently affecting customers’ desire to return and order food from the same restaurant even if your online ordering system’s frontend menu is beautiful.

“Take my son to an ice cream parlor or restaurant if you really want to torture him. He has to make a choice, and that’s one thing he hates.

— Alina Tugend, The New York Times

A NYTimes writer, Alina Tugend, once wrote in her article that the way to torture his son is to ask him to choose what food to have. His fear, as she mentioned, is that whatever he chooses, the other options will be better. This is a perfect example of too many choices:

It is a common situation in our current society where it is always tough to decide something as simple as what to have for dinner. Therefore, it is best not to overwhelm your customers with too many options and variations on your online ordering system frontend menu. Guide them through simple decisions, 3 choices at every stage is a good way to do it:

#3 Position Your Products Carefully

Make the most out of reading patterns. Eye-tracking tests have found that the best location to put your most profitable items is at the top of the page right below the header/banner. Items positioned strategically at this prime location will grab attention and result in a higher chance of conversion.

Besides, this location is also highly suitable for seasonal or promotional items. Feel free to change that as and when you detect changes in sales trends on the online ordering system backend.

#4 Use Vivid Adjectives When Describing Your Products

It is important that you inform your customers what they will receive upon ordering a certain product. While doing so, make sure that you describe the dishes using expressive and vivid adjectives to entice your potential customer. Having these descriptions will allow your customers to have a clear idea of what dish you are offering. Test a set of descriptions out over a period of time and change them easily on your online ordering system backend.

Juicy fried chicken- tender on the inside, crispy on the outside“, sounds more appealing than a plain “fried chicken“. Try it out and see what works best for your cuisine and target group.

#5 Shout out the unique origins of your dish

People love exotic food because it is different from the usual local offerings.  One way to make your dish stand out from competitors offering a similar dish is by including its place of origin. For example, Kawasaki Tonkotsu Ramen sounds more exotic than Pork Broth Ramen and people in the know might be keen on trying out ramen cooked in a certain culinary style.

Another way to make your products sound more exotic is to use the dish’s name in its origin language. Let’s take Italian food for example. When you use its Italian term on your online ordering system’s frontend menu, customers will perceive the product to be more authentic and perhaps tastes better than if it is in simple English term. Compare ravioliwith Italian dumplings.

However, always remember to provide descriptions to your food items when editing them on the online ordering system backend, especially for those with names that do not directly ring a bell. If customers do not know what that particular item is, chances are they are less likely to purchase it.

#6 Highlight products to make them special

If there is a particular item that you want to push to your customers, highlight it by describing or labelling it as “Chef’s Recommendation” or “Best Seller”. You could even create a category on the online ordering system backend and place all the relevant dishes under the category, making it easier for customers who have yet to make a decision.

#7 Change your price format

Tune down the price of your food items by a few cents in order to give your customers an altered perception of what they are paying. Many restaurants adjust their prices to a few cents lesser (i.e. turning a $5 product into $4.90).

It is all in the consumer’s mind. Seeing something slightly cheaper subconsciously prompts them to want to order the particular dish. Since payment is received through the online ordering system’s integration with PayPal, it is at a mere inconvenience to you. Offering promotions now and then is also beneficial as consumers remember that your restaurant does so. This might be a pull factor to get them visiting to check for promotional items on your online ordering system’s frontend menu.

#8 Use Colours

Different colours induce different moods and triggers people’s tendencies to take certain actions.

The most popular colour in the F&B industry is red and it is used by a number of big brands like McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, etc. According to Astronutrition.com, the colour red is an intense and energetic colour that stimulates appetite.

Another suitable colour for the F&B industry is yellow, which is a colour related to happiness and likewise stimulates appetite.

It’s no wonder that these two colours appear in many F&B brands. Various colours can bring about a wide range of emotions and therefore it is important to pick the most suitable colour for your online ordering system’s frontend menu in order to probe your customers to purchase your products.

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