How to make your menu stand out from the restaurant crowd

Did you know that the menu is one of the main marketing tools for a restaurant? Yes! It is a powerful and silent seller that if well optimised can boost your restaurant finances dramatically.

To achieve this will require research, common sense, and creativity. If the time has come to re-design your menu for your restaurant, these tricks will make you stand out.

Highlight the dishes that your customers like the most

The main idea here is that the dishes on your menu must match the buying habits of your customers as this guarantees that they will consume them. To do this, analyse your sales and determine which are your most popular and profitable dishes. Then, target them in your menu in the following way:

Place them in the upper righthand corner, the centre, or in the lower left corner, as these are the areas where customers pay more attention, according to what they call ‘The Golden Triangle’ in marketing.

Include irresistible images of these dishes but make sure they are realistic or you will face a backlash.

Keep it short

A menu with more than 4 pages has a negative effect on customers. In fact, reading more than 7 plates in a row can cause some customers anxiety because of the difficulty they have in choosing.

In this sense, you must lose the fear of eliminating the products that sell less, even if they are some of your personal favourites. If they don’t sell, cut them from the menu.  They are just taking up space on your menu and costing you money.

The best solution is to have a modest menu, but filled with the best that comes from your kitchen. This means that you’re only ever showcasing high quality dishes. Give priority to your specialities, to popular dishes, to simple and profitable dishes and don’t forget to highlight the best of your children’s menu too. Also, give thought to having a cheaper value day menu. Customers like these.

Post detailed descriptions; Sell more!

Encourage your customers with detailed (but not lengthy) descriptions, where you use evocative and tempting words. This trick helps the client make their purchase decision, gives them more information and feel more secure that what they’re ordering is something they are definitely going to like.

Customers always order more of the dishes with detailed descriptions than the dishes without.

Take advantage of marketing trends for restaurants

Not that you need to change your menu constantly, but there are marketing techniques for restaurants that you can apply according to the time of year. Hiring a professional to give you some tailored advice on this could be a good use of your money.

Choose colours well

Do colours produce different effects? Absolutely! Therefore, it is important to think carefully about the colours of both your brand and your menu. Choose colours that evoke wellbeing and freshness like green, that are appetising like orange or fun like yellow. If you’re a fun, family friendly restaurant then steer clear of dark, moody blacks and browns.

Give visibility to your menu on digital channels

Today, customers are able to access restaurant menus through the internet. So, it is essential that your menu and all offers are posted on your digital channels: on your website, Facebook and Instagram. This will also offer you the possibility of advertising discounts and promotions to attract new customers.

Be creative

Do you have a hamburger on your menu? Add different ingredients or a new secret sauce and you already have an option in your menu completely different without adding much cost.

And if you offer a shrimp salad, create a plate of shrimp pasta or a pizza, to have more variety and thus get the most out of your ingredients.

Create a special dish

Many menus offer pizzas, sandwiches, or salads, so make your dish stand out. Create a classic your way that fits the brand of your restaurant. Create a dish that distinguishes your restaurant from others with its special way of cooking or by its presentation.

Location of wines and desserts

Whatever type of restaurant you run, you will need to separate out the drinks and desserts on your menu. If your restaurant is a fine dining establishment, it is essential to have a separate menu for the wine and desserts.

Review and Improve

Learn from the mistakes you have made in the past, stick them on paper to keep them in mind when you renew your menu. Ask for the opinion of your employees and your trusted clients and take advice by a good graphic design professional.

The design of a restaurant menu is an ongoing process which gives you constant opportunities to learn and make improvements.

Don’t overprice your dishes

Do not set your prices too high. If they are too expensive, customers often make decisions based more on price than what they really want to eat. Place them strategically; give priority to those dishes that you are most interested in selling.

Important: Do not forget the VAT! It is illegal not to include this tax in the prices of your menu. It works better to put the prices in simple, round numbers, without pence, and without the pound symbol present. Interestingly, psychology tells us that with the pound symbol in front of the numbers, your may customers have the feeling that your dishes are more expensive than without.

To make a perfect menu from start to finish, it is also essential to observe and analyse your client’s reactions while reading your menu. You can look at their behaviour and detect, for example, the areas that most attract their attention, those they ignore, the time it takes to read and if it is attractive, etc.

You should always make sure that the menu of your restaurant looks as good as possible. Taking these simple tips to plan, organise and design your menu, you can make a big difference to the success of your restaurant.

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