April 16, 2019 |
According to a Gallup poll, restaurant guests spend on average 109 seconds to decide what they want to order. Smart restaurateurs therefore need to optimise their menu design to make the most impact in this time slot, so let’s look at five actions you can immediately take to make you menu an integral part of your sales strategy:
1. Highlight the best dishes
Start off with a thorough menu engineering exercise and find out which dishes are the stars on your menu. According to the BCG matrix, stars are dishes that are both very popular and highly profitable. Pulling a report of the past couple of month’s sales from you POS system will give you the answers very quickly.
Once you have identified the stars in your menu mix it is time to direct your customer’s attention to these box office hits. Studies have shown that the top corner on all right-hand sides is the focus of attention for a majority of people. Try to place your “star” products up there. In addition, visually highlight your stars, for example by adding a bold headline or an underlying shading. Also look at the pricing of these items, as they will be more attractive to customers if there are at least one or two more expensive options in each category.
2. Highlight ingredients, not prices
When looking at the menu, your guests should not think about how much money they will spend before even reading the descriptions of the dishes. Here, one trick is to refrain from the currency sign next to the price of each dish to make them look much more subtle – instead of $17, write 17. Just mention in a small footnote that all prices are in (insert your currency) and if service charge or any taxes are included or charged on top. On the same note, do not arrange your dishes in ascending order of the price. Mix cheaper and more expensive dishes so your customers pay less attention to the price and more to what you actually have to offer.
3. Sometimes less choice is better
Psychological tests have shown, that freedom of choice makes people generally happy, but having too many choices can cause the opposite. Therefore, help your guests with the decision. For example, by recommending dishes, highlighting them, or narrowing down your choices by slimming down your menu. This is especially true when running a “build your own” concept, such as Poke bowls, salads and the likes. Have at least a handful of options such as chef’s recommendations or other “most ordered” combinations. People get easily overwhelmed with too many choices, especially if they are trying a dish for the first time.
4. Make it easy for your customers
If your concept allows it, use pictures on your menu for dishes that you want to upsell. There have been many studies conducted which confirm that photos can increase the sales of the highlighted dishes by up to 70%. Colourful and authentic pictures help your guests to imagine the food and awaken their appetite. However, this approach certainly only works in a very casual context and there needs to be a lot of effort put into the design of the menu and the arrangement of the pictures in order for the menu not to look cheap and tacky.
Restaurants where the brand and concept are more elevated and would prohibit the usage of pictures can highlight their dishes with lively and descriptive texts. Especially when encountering dishes that are specific to certain regional cuisines that customers are not very familiar with, there are sometimes cases where guests feel ashamed to ask the waiter for more information. So, make it easy for them to choose from your menu by writing a mouth-watering explanation of your dishes.
5. Don’t neglect the design of your menu
The layout, font, menu holder and general design of your menu should fit your brand. Let a professional graphic designer help you to come up with the perfect look for your menu and incorporate our four tips above in order to successfully use your menu to grow your sales.
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