Analysis of Current Menu
Take the time to understand which of your items are the “all stars.” Depending on your successes and failures, you might need to tweak your menu. Menu engineering is critical to a restaurant’s success. Customers could demand a seasonal item. If so, it gives you – the owner – the opportunity to test new things out in the kitchen, but you also allow yourself the chance to open doors to new customers by adding new items. Your menu, and what you put on or remove, is one of the most effective sales tools to get customers in the door or ordering. Have fun with your menu and how your customers experience the ordering process at your restaurant. Instead of your regular “Fish Sandwich,” – change the name to “Hand-battered Crispy Fish Sandwich.” According to a Cornell survey, people chose the descriptive menu item 27% more than the normally labeled menu choice. Additionally, be cognizant of your pricing. If you end your prices with the number 9, customers might get the feel that the item is “cheaper” and not as good of quality. If you end your pricing with a number like 5 or 0, your menu will be easier to read and friendlier to the customer to make their purchase-decision. Using a tool that easily tracks and shows you this information can get you one step closer to better understanding to your business.
If you are THE “local” pizza shop everyone knows and loves, you want your branding to communicate that to your customers. Keep the whole experience of purchasing food from your restaurant parallel to whatever your brand might be – fast and casual, fresh and organic, etc. You also shouldn’t compromise any online branding to a third-party service that doesn’t support customizing your own brand. Your website, colors and content should all be consistent with your print materials, logo, and outreach efforts. Use online tools and systems that support your vision and brand so your customers get the same “feel” from your restaurant wherever they experience your business.
Eat with Your Eyes
In a world where everyone has access to social media at their fingertips, restaurants have to ensure they’re on the pulse of using these services. Investing in a tool that allows you to post pictures to your social media pages will help you stand out. Instead of promoting a deal that could be similar to another restaurant’s, include a photo that entices customers to order from you. According to a recent menu study at Durham, if a restaurant wants to make use of imagery and visual prompts on their menu, it needs to be combined with commonly used and “accurate” food names to increase marketing power. If a burger is juicy – make sure it looks juicy in the photo you post!
If you have an online presence with your restaurant (website, online ordering, or social media pages), you are responsible for providing accurate restaurant information to your customers at all times. Knowing how to navigate through your online presence can be a daunting task if the responsibilities are unfamiliar. When using an online ordering tool, find one that’s easy to use and allows you to build out your menus on your own so you can include important items such as add-ons, toppings, drinks, and sides to each item. Giving the customer the option to pick and choose gives your customers more freedom to choose items they desire and maybe weren’t anticipating. In fact, by increasing each meal ticket from $2 to $5 dollars with additional ingredients, a restaurant can add $8 to $20 (or more) to the customer’s total check. Give your customers options they may not find elsewhere to keep them coming back again.