A menu is one of the most crucial marketing tools you have to welcome customers. It’s the crux of your function and development as a restaurant. It should not only be chock-full of amazing food and beverage options for them to choose from, but it should also be visually appealing. A menu with consistency and an easy to follow theme makes a restaurant a true winner; allowing it to stand out in a very crowded, competitive industry.
As your most powerful and important communication tool, the menu has to be on point so it connects you with the ideal customer segment. It should reinforce your brand image and personality. Any mistakes made when conceptualizing the menu can be detrimental to your outreach and brand reputation. Average customers spend 109 seconds deciphering menus, which may not seem like a long time, but that’s more than enough time to determine whether your restaurant and its offerings are worth the fuss. Here are the mistakes, many of them simple, that your restaurant needs to avoid making to stay ahead of the competition.
Making Your Menu Too Extensive
Don’t cause people to read your menu for too long
It’s good to have options. But, when you provide so many that your customers can’t choose (or feel pressured to choose), that’s a problem.
A wide variety can work against you, hurting your sales if customers can’t decide what they want to eat or drink. Because some customers take their sweet time trying to determine their order, you may end up losing out on other orders, meaning your staff serves fewer customers on a given day/night. Alternatively, because customers are unsure given the many appealing options on your menu, they may just default to the cheapest option, costing you money and reducing the number of tips for your staff.
Then, there’s the issue of having enough stock to maintain a huge menu. Concentrate on the unique food options and specialties that you’re sure will retain customers for the long haul. Once you build around those fundamentals, you can add options based on customer feedback. In the meantime, take a look at your menu performance report, identify the items that simply aren’t selling, then ditch them. This allows you to reduce waste production and spares you some operational expenses along the way.
Attention to Detail
Harping on the earlier point about the average menu reading time, don’t assume that your customers will skim over details and just go straight to what they like. They look at the menu as a total package; the design, the theme, even the font of the writing. The more aesthetically appealing the menu is, the more likely customers will read through it earnestly.
Ensure you hire a quality graphic designer to create your menu. The designer will ensure that the font on your menu is clear, readable, and consistent. Make sure to spellcheck to avoid the potential snickers and headshaking that accompanies silly typos. Furthermore, make sure the pages aren’t crowded with various elements. Use a background that’s not too dark, forcing customers to strain their eyes or put on glasses every time they read. You’re not only offering good food and good looks with your menu, but you’re also providing convenience.
People should be able to visualize the ambiance of your restaurant, particularly new customers. Based on that visualization, customers will be able to tell whether you’re a fine dining or more casual establishment. The menu should also complement aspects such as plate settings and table sizes.
Customers will see how much effort you put into the details, and it will encourage them to sample your items and enjoy the restaurant experience.
Make sure your price points are ideal for your targeted customers.
Overemphasizing prices is one of the more common menu mistakes that restaurant managers make. Ensure the pricing doesn’t divert the attention away from the quality items you’re selling, dismissing options left and right. You should also ensure your pricing is consistent on each menu page because customers will opt for the cheapest item(s) every time. Make your dishes and the best beverages the focal points, not the cost.
It would also be wise to look at your menu performance reports to determine what menu items are sold at certain price points the most, running A/B tests to help you reach concise decisions. Not only do customers have alternating cruising preferences in different locations, but they also have different preferences in how much they’re willing to pay for particular items. An audience in one location may be more sensitive to the price point than another audience. Understanding your audience and their willingness to pay for your dishes will ensure you’re not incorrectly pricing items, improving your chances of customer loyalty.
Book your free demo with TipHaus today and learn how to optimize your restaurant’s performance!