More than any other factor, your restaurant’s food and menu determine whether people will refer their friends and come back again.
Your menu defines your image and sets guest expectations. A strong one sells more product, describes your offerings in an appealing way, and reinforces your brand.
Avoid these 5 common mistakes to build an effective, money-making menu:
- Typos. Never let a typo get by you. There is no excuse for it, and it announces to your guests in a big way that you are careless. Before going to print, have several different sets of eyes proof read it. Then do it again.
- Poor design. Plan your menu to reflect your restaurant’s brand. Color and font are important, so make use of what you already know: your own restaurant decor. Just as important, don’t use your menu as a price list. Tuck the prices in a paragraph and avoid using dollar signs to put the focus on the description rather than the price.
- Placing high-margin items in the wrong place. Studies show that customers are most likely to read, or pay closer attention to, certain "sweet spots". That’s where you want to feature your most profitable items. On a bi fold menu, it’s the right-hand page, a few lines from the top. On a tri fold menu, it’s the center page, a few lines from the top.
- A large and confusing menu. This is one of the most common mistakes independent restaurant operators and new establishments make. You can’t please everyone. Stick with your favorites and stand behind them.
- Poor pricing strategy. Price is the most powerful marketing message you have, so don’t over or under value your food. Use your POS system to determine and track your margins and food cost on every item, and price accordingly. Review food costs and pricing routinely, and don’t be afraid to make changes.
A menu upgrade is an investment in the long-term financial health of your restaurant business. Consider that if you spend only a few hundred dollars in design fees to make changes such as price adjustments, adding a few new items and dropping a couple of slow ones, how long will it really take to recoup that expense? How much revenue are you giving up by not analyzing and tweaking often enough?