Keep Hungry Customers Happy With These 5 Appetizing Menu Ideas (That’ll Surely Hit the Spot)
As a restaurateur, you know the importance of making a good first impression. It can either make or break your restaurant before guests have the opportunity to try out your food. Knowing that 70% of sales are made up by returning customers, it’s important to have a menu that continues to keep customers interested and eager to try all of the dishes that your restaurant has to offer.
1. Incorporate Locally Grown Ingredients into Your Menu
Did you know that according to LocalHarvest.org that the average distance that your fruits and vegetables travel is up to 1,500 miles? All the more reason why going local could be a smart business move for your restaurant. By choosing to go local, you’re doing two important things:
- Serving your customers fresh food
- Supporting your local community
Even though making the switch to organic produce may seem like a pricier investment it’s not as expensive as it may seem. By working with local farmers you’d be saving money by not paying the expensive shipping fees usually charged by the large supply chain companies. Furthermore, according to a study conducted by Nielsen, it was shown that people are more willing to spend the extra money if your menu includes locally grown products.
2. Show Off What You Got
Use your menu as an opportunity to promote what your restaurant has to offer.
- Switch it up by moving the attention over from your lunch specials to having specialized services such as event specials, and announcements catch your customers’ eyes. Include your restaurant’s social media pages to increase your social media follow. For instance, offer $5 off their next meal if they follow your page and leave a positive review.
- Use your menu as a marketing tool by adding your restaurant’s events calendar to increase traffic or include your loyalty program to encourage your customers to come back. Not only will it encourage your guests to stop by more frequently but you’ll get a closer look at what your customers truly want. Apply that to multiple restaurants at a time by using products such as OrderCounter’s Multi-Unit Enterprise to simply edit your menu from any screen. The easy-to-use features allows restaurateurs to have easy access to programs that allows users to change, update and add to their menu at any point as well as from any location.
3. Make Your Menu Pay Off
Want your new menu to pay off? According to a study conducted by the International Journal of Hospitality Management, making little changes such as removing the currency symbol can significantly boost your sales. In the world of semantic salience it describes the relationship between symbols and their meanings.
- For instance, when looking at a dollar sign consumers automatically associate it with losing money. By making a little change such as getting rid of the dollar sign in front of the price, people tend to lose focus of the cost of the product and are more prone to spend more money.
- Another perk of using just numbers is that it’s harder for the consumer to price compare which results in customers spending more than what they had anticipated.
In an additional study conducted by Dr. Brian Wansink, it was concluded that by labeling your menu items with descriptive terminology it will set each dish apart by making it harder for guests to compare and contrast other dishes.
- For example, instead of saying “Salmon Filet” try describing it as “Succulent Alaskan Caught Seared Salmon.” Not only does it sounds much more appetizing but it increases profit by nearly 30 percent more. It’ll not only make your guests feel more satisfied with their dish but by adding these descriptive labels it will be sure to drive up your profits too!
4. Make Your Menu Appetizing for your Customers
Have your customers crave your new menu by freshening up your menu’s look. Make a lasting first impression by having a strong color scheme to make your guests more opt to buying your food. By using different colors it can help conjure feelings to make your guests more compelled to buy your product.
- The best known color scheme for restaurants are red and yellow. These colors work together by using red to increase appetite while yellow catches your attention.
- If you want a more calm environment in your restaurant it’s recommended to use a blue color scheme to create a calming effect on the customer.
Another way for your menu to grab your customer’s attention is by including mouthwatering photos next to the description. Did you know that including a picture increases sales by 30%? However, you don’t want to cheapen the perception of your dishes by overcrowding your menu with a bunch of images. Instead, choose two target dishes per page that you believe will help boost your sales such as displaying one pricier item while also having a picture of a more affordable dish.
One of the most common tricks in the restaurant industry is including the most profitable food item on the top right corner of the menu. Being one of the first places a customer will look at it can make customers feel as though everything is reasonably priced.
- For example, if you have your $70 lobster dish on the upper right corner then your $40 surf and turf special makes it seems as though the customer is getting a great deal.
5. Incorporate a Child-Friendly Menu
Become everyone’s favorite restaurant by incorporating a child-friendly menu to your restaurant. As a restauranteur, your goal is to have a solid customer base that could turn your restaurant into everyone’s go to eating spot. Did you know that besides for women being the best customers, children can immensely impact your business- so much so that 70% of parents will pick a child friendly restaurant? The reason is due to children always having an additional customer tagging along with them. Make those guests feel welcomed by having a customized menu for your younger customers.
- For instance, your menu design should be like your young target customer: colorful and animated. Incorporate fun games on your menu or pair a black and white menu with a box of crayons so your little guests can enjoy their time at your restaurant.
Keep in mind:
- When creating your kid’s menu be weary with what food options to include. A majority of parents want to be in an environment that encourages their children to maintain healthy eating habits. Make sure to primarily offer healthy options such as offering appropriate portions sizes, fresh juices, fruits, vegetables, organic foods, whole wheat bread, fish, chicken, and substituting regular pasta with whole grain pasta. That doesn’t mean to cancel out the classics though. You can still keep unhealthy options like the traditional hot dog, or hamburger to still have a classic variety and to not lose a potential sale.
- Most adults take advantage of the local happy hour. Why not do that for the kids? Promote your child-friendly restaurant by encouraging guests to bring their children during certain hours. For instance, organize one day a week where children get a free juice or dessert of their choice. You can also promote your menu by doing an occasional contest which you have children draw their favorite dish from your restaurant to win a gift card to your restaurant. After the contest is over make a little display of all of the artwork by keeping them hung on the wall or frame the winning picture. Another friendly weekly promotion is offering children under the age of 12 years to eat for free day. It’s another sure way to keep the children satisfied and their parent’s delighted!
In conclusion, the choice is ultimately up to you as to how you want your menu to reflect your restaurant. Just remember that when designing your menu take into account how you want your guests to perceive your restaurant. If you decide to make a new menu don’t be afraid to try out a new layout or give your menu an update by changing little aspects of the original design. Do a comparison to see which if particular food images help boost sales for those particular products. If not, try a different tactic such as eliminating the dollar sign to see if guests buy more food. Whatever you decide to do, remember to always do what you feel is best for your restaurant and it will surely be a refreshing change for you as well as your guests. Learn more about OrderCounter POS to starting using the Central Management Menu system included in our Remote Backoffice service.