Choosing a restaurant is becoming more and more of a difficult task with inventive cuisines, out-of-the-box venues, custom server costumes, and innovative decor competing for a customer’s attention. But at the end of the day, while a funky theme may nudge a client through the front door of a restaurant, it will be what’s on the menu that will convince them to stay. Since menu design is essential for a restaurant to succeed, check out the following pointers which are sure to make your clients wanting to not just look at the menu, but order what’s on it.
Lose The Confusion
Just because you are a fine dining venue doesn’t mean that you have to rub it in your patron’s face. People love to eat food from all over the world, but hesitate to order dishes written in a foreign language for fear of embarrassment due to mispronunciation. This is not just true for expensive establishment but even for family-run operations like a Vietnamese pho joint or a Lebanese manakeesh hangout. Don’t go ahead and assume that all your diners will comprehend the traditional terminology. Be sure to add a short description underneath in the language which is widely spoken.
Creativity is Contagious
Clearly Einstein knew what he was talking about. Don’t just write a run-of-the-mill description to your dishes. It’s all in the details. If your meat is freshly ground, mention it. If your fish has been flown in, go ahead and show off a little. If your pasta is hand-rolled, lay it out there. Family recipes are always a big winner. If menu writing is not your forte, don’t be shy to hire menu design consultants who can provide you with accurately creative and grammatically correct copy.
More Is More
Minimalism may be a worthy trend when it comes to interior design, not so much when crafting a restaurant menu. Provide a range of options from appetizers to mains and beverages to desserts so that you increase the chances of your customers finding a dish (or several) which peaks both their interest and appetite. Just to clarify, don’t go overboard with the variety angle because you don’t want your clients feeling overwhelmed with choices and taking an unnecessary long time to decide. A safe bet is to have more than 5 options but less than 10.
Food Costing 101
The way pricing is depicted on a menu matters quite a bit as well. It may be your desire to offer competitive prices for potential customers, but it is your need to stay profitable as well. Menu design consultants can help you take into account the expense of ingredients, rent and wages before you finalize the cost of each dish. Just because you paid a large sum for the fresh lobster doesn’t mean you have to retrieve the entire amount from your customer. Balance high and low food costs by charging a premium on other items like alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Keep an eye on market competition and adjust prices accordingly.
Keep It Simple
You may be a Greek restaurant, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your menus have to be scrolls. And it’s not written in stone that just because you serve vegan fare that you need to read about the offered dishes on a giant leaf. Some of the best restaurants present simple menus made out of paper (albeit luxury finish) which are only a couple of pages long, where the dishes are written in an easy-to-read font with clearly written prices.
An ideal menu is one where the customer will be able to visualize the deliciousness of the dish even before it gets served to the table. It needs to subtly sell the entire selection of items the restaurant has to offer. Too many options can end up causing more stress than happiness. Hard-to-read print, larger-than-life pages and difficult terminology can end up being turn-offs as well. Nail down the menu and wait for the customers to flock in.