André Pellerin has over 25 years of expertise in the food service industry. Being a former Marketing and Sales Associate, and a previous restaurant Owner/Operator, André has knowledge from both the Food Establishment and Supplier sides of the business.
No matter how successful your restaurant seems to be, you often are missing out on potential profits in an area that is often neglected – your menu. Streamlining the design and layout of your restaurant’s menu can lead to an increase in profits of at least $1000 per month (per million dollars in revenue).
These adjustments do not necessarily entail significant costs. By planning for success and following this guideline, you can create a terrific menu that leads customers to the purchases that will make them happy and boost your bottom line.
No matter how your menu is laid out, readers will logically look at the top third of your menu first, in the center. Too many menus don’t adequately consider where a reader’s eye naturally drifts; use this information to your advantage for optimal placement of your signature dishes with the highest profit margins.
Place your ideal entrée prominently in the top third of the menu, then place the next-best purchase for your profits to the right. Menu items further down will be purchased with diminishing frequency.
Don’t fall victim to the tradition of ordering your menu items from least to most expensive. Successful restaurant menus do not emphasize price at all, so menu-scanners fall in love with the dish first then rationalize spending, however much it costs.
Don’t order your menu items by price; in fact, include some of the most expensive options at the top. Also, avoid discussions of price by removing dollar signs from your menu altogether. By using non-standard representations of a menu item’s price, the focus goes squarely to the food.
Images on a menu are not in themselves a bad thing. But when a menu becomes cluttered with images it can look cheap and lose its elegance. In addition, no matter how much you spend on fancy food photography, some images may backfire. An image may turn off a customer from purchasing an item they might find delicious.
If your space is limited, try to avoid images altogether and rely on a descriptive copy. You want to evoke the senses and tantalize when possible so a menu reader is intrigued. One solution to this quandary is to use a digital menu, where lengthy copy and images can exist side by side as diners flip through pages.
On that note, customers typically know what type of food they want when they sit down. Though you shouldn’t direct the eye to the prices, youshould get each customer to their preferred section of the menu as quickly as possible. Even with entrées, you should divide options up by type: including a pasta, meat, and vegetarian section speeds up the ordering process and makes customers happy.
One way to effectively guide a reader’s eye and organize your menu is to use boldface type for menu subheadings and entrée names. With a quick scan, they can locate staple dishes they depend on or zero in on something brand new that whets their appetite.
Menus should be regularly updated. A redesign and incorporation of new menu items should occur roughly every four months. On top of that, promotions should be featured that entice customers to purchase certain menu items or opt-in for email updates and other marketing efforts.
The simplest and most effective way to constantly update your menu without printing new menus is to make the transition to digital menus. In addition to the customizability, digital menus can allow patrons to order from their table, freeing up servers and creating a better dining experience.
Take this advice to heart to optimize your menu for success.