According to Global Restaurant consultants Aaron-Allen Associates: “the menu is the single most important piece of marketing collateral for any restaurant.” Because a well-designed menu can drastically and consistently increase profits, it is important to avoid some of the common restaurant menu design mistakes that may be costing you money. Here are some of the most common restaurant menu design mistakes and how to correct them:
- Haphazard menu item placement.
Your most profitable and popular menu items should be obvious and apparent. Not highlighting your most profitable items means diners will likely choose other dishes. The cream needs to rise to the top, so to speak.
- Focusing on price.
You want your menu to feel welcoming and to communicate hospitality, not to focus on business and profit. Restaurants that overuse dollar signs on their menu make them appear too money-conscious and are best left off altogether. You should also avoid lining prices on one side with dots (item on left, price on right) as it directs the customers’ eyes to the prices and can actually encourage guests to choose a lower-cost option. By incorporating prices into the descriptions, you take the focus off of the price and focus on the menu offering.
- Not ‘merchandising’ any of your menu items.
Rather than simply offer a list of dishes, highlight the ones with the highest gross margin, giving guests a “tour” of the food that make your restaurant stand out from the competition.
- Using static boards rather than digital menu boards.
For fast casual or quick-serve restaurants, digital menu boards can offer a 28% higher ROI than static boards.
- Too many … or too few items.
People like making decisions, but having too many choices can feel overwhelming, making guests less likely to return. That’s one reason why it’s important to cut items that are not successful so that only the most popular and most profitable remain. However, having too few items can backfire as it can decrease guest frequency.
- Worn or tattered menus.
Your menu reflects your restaurant; worn, tattered, dirty, grease-stained menus tell customers all they need to know about your restaurant … and it’s not good. Your menu is one of the most important pieces of marketing collateral you own … make sure it reflects your values.
- Missing specialty drinks and limited-time offers.
To boost check averages, specialty drinks should be your go-to. They also can make your restaurant more relevant and are a powerful marketing tool. Limited-time offers can create opportunities to attract new diners and show your loyal guests that you are constantly updating and staying fresh. This also gives servers something new to feature when talking to guests.
- Offering too many menus.
Keeping things simple is important, and offering too many menus can overwhelm customers.
- Underwhelming descriptions.
While your chef’s input is vital, have him or her work with a professional copywriter to ensure that your items’ descriptions sound appetizing without industry jargon that only culinary professionals understand.
- Forgetting to put your menu online or not mobile-friendly.
If your menu is not on your website or can’t be accessed from a mobile device, you will lose out to your competition. An astounding 80% of consumers say it is important to see a menu before deciding on a restaurant, and 70% of them prefer to do this on their smartphone. In fact, 62% of potential guests say they avoid restaurants that don’t have their menus available online, and 84% of consumers are likely to look at more than one restaurant before choosing where to dine.
Isn’t it time that you re-engineered your restaurant’s menu? It might just make all the difference!
Attn: Phoenixville Restaurant Owners! Are you listed in our Phoenixville Restaurant Directory? Be sure to claim your listing so you can upload your menu here!