- Cost your Menu
- Promote your Popular Items
- Effective Menu Design
- Special Menu Items on Certain Days
- Why and When you Need to Update the Menu
- Do’s & Don’ts Preparing a Perfect Menu
In America alone, there are nearly 700,000 successful restaurants. That means, diners literally have hundreds and thousands of options to choose from. With grocery prices decreasing, and menu prices increasing, what if they don’t dine out to begin with? That’s when it becomes harder to entice people to try what your restaurant can offer, right? Just like in fashion, how will you powerfully differentiate yourself? In your attempt to stand out from the crowd, for sure, you may be tempted to come up with your own restaurant concept. Asking what type of restaurant cuisines would you like to cover in one roof becomes the next target.
When starting a restaurant business, a delicious and profitable restaurant menu becomes the heart of your business, hence, it’s never easy. Dishes should be priced correctly because maximising your profit is one of your utmost priorities.
Cost your Menu
The menu & recipe cost is needed to help you prepare the accurate costing for all your menu items and recipes while a menu evaluation or analysis should be of equal importance to check if the dishes meet the standards and quality. Your menu is a major driving force to bring customers at your doorstep so don’t ever give them that chance to leave unhappy. Customers should not choose according to the price but according to what they prefer to eat. It is best that we employ the “good, better, best” method for effective costing.
Low Food Cost
Food prices fluctuate as the seasons change. It is important that you balance your menu. If you have a fresh fish that would cost high, make sure your menu has enough low-cost food items to balance everything out.
Customers are more likely to order dishes at an affordable price. You can use a relative pricing technique like placing a 10 dollar meal next to a 15 dollar meal to make the cost of the dish seem less expensive in comparison.
Well Balanced Menu
Balance and diversity are two are very important ingredients to make sure that your restaurant caters all type of customers. There are customers that prefer to eat healthy or healthier versions of their favorite cuisines. Others prefer to reward themselves with high-calorie foods. The menu should be customer-centered.
Promote your Popular Items
Here, we need engineering. Menu Engineering is basically the balance between high and low cost food items. The strategic placement to promote the food items is also part of it. Studies say that a well-engineered menu will result to 10 to 15 percent sales increase. Professionally designed menu poster to artistically feature your menu items is also a great call out.
Effective Menu Design
An effective restaurant menu should be a product a well-planned layout, colors and fonts. It should also include well-written descriptions and correct pricing for food cost presentation. A menu item quality review will help you set the standard: Never overdo your menu with too wordy descriptions, crowded layout and unnecessary graphics.
It is necessary that you keep it updated to keep pace with food costs and trends. Being aware of the similarities and differences between your competitors is an edge. The goal here is to make your menu different from them.
A good menu layout can stimulate customers appetite and enhance the dining experience. Consider some important principles and elements of designs to make sure you come up a flavor of your own.
Menu Colors and Fonts
If your restaurant offers fine dining, dark, rich colors depict elegance and professionalism. For casual restaurant concepts, the use of warm colors are advised because they look inviting. A restaurant targeting younger clientele bold or bright colors are perfect.
Your menu selection should delight your customers and tempt them to order more. The most profitable item that should be highlighted is: Something that requires low-priced ingredients, an item that doesn’t take much time to prepare, and an item that you can sell at a higher price.
Menu descriptions should not look crowded and uncluttered. The layout should be aesthetically pleasing and clearly visible. Avoid unnecessary graphics because it has the tendency to take away customer’s attention from the menu items
Special Menu Items on Certain Days
According to a research conducted by a consulting firm, Technomic, nearly 50 percent said that seasonal menu items are more appetising. In the same data, around 40 percent believed seasonal dishes are healthier. Besides getting fresh flavors, some seasonal foods are less expensive depending on your location. This is also one way of keeping up with the trends, hence, a great driver for your restaurant business.
Studies also said that restaurants which succeed at seasonality have the tendency to think outside the box when it comes to menu updates. It is great to check the availability of the ingredients so you can try incorporating it into your menu and try using them across several dishes.
Prix Fixe Menu
This is a type of menu where multi-course meals are offered but only a few choices are charged at a fixed total price. Hence, the terms set meals may also be applied.
Why and When you Need to Update the Menu
“ Change is the only constant in the world”. Tastes are changing. Food pricing is changing. The labor market is changing. Food also follows trends that you shouldn’t miss on your timeline. If it’s been six months since you last carefully updated your menu items then you’re either losing some money or missing an opportunity to make more money. Updating your menu could mean, you’re keeping up with time and analyzing what might have been mistakes. It can also help you declutter and find ways to improve your restaurant business.
Guests’ Tastes Are Changing
The best-selling item today becomes just another fad later. For example, customer’s are putting weight on wellness and healthy lifestyle these days. You might want to revisit your menu list if it does cater to such type of customers.
Food Pricing is Changing
Lets say, 2017 was a good year for your restaurant business, can we expect the same in 2018? To ensure that your pricing is optimized, it is important that you are consistent in evaluating and doing a menu inventory. This is to make sure that prices rising wont take you, and your customers by surprise.
Labor is Changing
To keep labor cost down, buy food that requires less preparation time . But also keep in mind that ready-to-cook ingredients cost more than those made from scratch. The same as preparing your own food costs less than dining out.
Do’s & Don’ts Preparing a Perfect Menu
Your menu should reflect the concept, style and the over-all personality of your restaurant. The general format is to follow the dining experience that begins with appetizers first, entrees then desserts. There is a psychology to designing a restaurant menu, and professional graphic designers apply these psychological principles. Whether you decide to hire a professional designer or not at least you are aware some of these principles below.
Keep Your Language Simple
According to studies simple yet descriptive labeling will help you increase your sales. Make sure that your staff are trained to answer questions regarding the menu.
Keep it Short
Make sure your descriptions are not too long. Keep it on the shorter side and spotlight your strong engaging points.
Highlight Special Items
It is also important highlight special items for like for its spiciness or some vegetarian options. The use of simple icons, borders, frames, and lines can help capture customers attention to menu items that you want to up-sell.
Categorize your Menu Content
Your menu items should be classified into categories that include: Appetizers, Entrees, Desserts and Drinks.You may further break the items down into sub categories like for entrees. You can have meat, seafood or vegetarian. It can also be time-based like for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Choose Appropriate Colors
The use of warm colors including reds, yellows and oranges have the most impact on increasing a person’s appetite. Red according to the psychology of colors is noted for creating a rich and luxurious environment for diners and increasing impulse eating.
Pay Attention to Placement of Profitable Items
According to a research study, one third of your customers are more likely to order the first item they see on your menu. Most of them look at the upper-right hand corner first, so put your most profitable items in that position.
Do Remember your Brand
Brands evoke feelings and emotions that customers connect with. When someone asks about your restaurant menu, will they remember their top favorites dishes and associate it with your restaurant?
Avoid indicating the exact pieces of food that comes in a dish. To cite an example, say ‘jumbo hot dog’ instead of saying ‘four jumbo hot dogs’.
Don’t use Hard to Read Font
Keep your fonts simple and easy to read. If there are items you cater for senior citizens then a larger font size would be appropriate.
Don’t Talk about Money
Your menu should communicate a tone of hospitality and welcoming, rather than business and profit. Your restaurant should be all about quality over money.
Don’t Overprice your Menu Items
Your menu item prices should be competitive with other restaurants. A high-priced food item but with low quality taste is a disaster you don’t want to happen.
A menu must sell but it should also represent your brand. It must follow the concept of your restaurant and a proactive approach to its development must be maintained. You might want to take a look at our stunning restaurant templates and documents that are helpful in conceptualizing or running your restaurant.