Did you know, "menus" are one of the most Google-d terms when customers look up restaurants online? In a competitive world such as the restaurant industry, marketing means more than a pretty signage or distributing flyers. You will need to evolve and so does your menu! To get you covered, these 3 tips will show you how to create tasty menus that will tempt your customers more.
What is Menu Engineering?
The concept dates back to the 1970s, developed by the Boston Consulting Group to help businesses categorise their products in a way that facilitates analysis and decision-making. According to Menu Cover Depot, menu engineering is "the study of the profitability and popularity of menu items and how these two factors influence the placement of these items on a menu". Ultimately, your goal as a restaurateur is to increase the profitability of every diner that walks through your doors.
Tip #1: Menu descriptions should make your customers salivate!
A study revealed that the usage of descriptive labels can increase sales as much as 25%, compared to food items without. Sensory words such as "slow-roasted", "butter-poached" and "caramelised" often nudge customers to give the dish a try, no matter how often they are used.
Keep these guidelines in mind when crafting your menu:
- Use mouth-watering descriptors that can pique your guest's interest in a dish.
- Make your dishes sound more authentic with an ethnic label.
- Giving a dish an ethnic label will create greater authenticity. Is it your Grandma's secret recipe? A fusion of Peranakan spices mixed with Western flavours?
- What's the story behind your menu items? Humanise the dish to make it sound more than just a commodity. Did you use this recipe to fall in love? Was it your grandma's favourite desert?
- Are you using ingredients that are made by well-known and respected brands? Include them in your description. This enhances the perception of your item's quality.
Here's an example of an impressive, delicious-sounding menu by Holly Burger.
Tip #2: Find the 'sweet spot' in your menu layout
Why is this tip so important? A well-executed design effort can increase a restaurant's profit by 10 to 15 percent, on an ongoing basis.
Menu engineering studies have proven that the way you organise your menu matters. Too much information and your customer might end up ordering the most common, but least profitable dish. Your goal is to create an organised menu that's not only accessible, but encourages your customers to select specific dishes.
Keep these guidelines in mind when you are organising your menu layout:
- Customers are more likely to order the first item on your list
- The most profitable dishes should be placed in the lead position
- List the rest of your items according to the level of importance
- The last item generally receives more attention than the second-to-last item made
- Conventional wisdom also suggests that knowledge of scanning paths or eye movement patterns can be applied to place items in areas where they are likely to receive more attention
Tip #3: Always test your menu to gauge profits
Remember that your menu is an important touchpoint that you have with your customer. So it's worth investing your effort in creating a really good one! Here are some things you can consider:
Restaurant chains use a section of their locations as test cases for a new menu launch
Single restaurant chains can also perform a simple comparison test compared to the old menu to ascertain the difference
Offering portion sizes is also one way for you to create win-win situations while gauging the performance of your new menu
It costs less money for you to create smaller portions; customers assume the smaller portion is the best value
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