Restaurants exist in a highly competitive industry where you always need to find new ways to stay ahead. With your menu being your bread and butter, it’s no surprise you should pay close attention to it.
Restaurant menu optimization can help you surpass the competition, improve the customer experience, and increase profits. Let’s see how!
Restaurant menu optimization refers to the process of improving your menu, from the items to the design, descriptions, and more, to increase the average check value and overall sales.
Menu optimization typically starts with an in-depth menu analysis based on your best and worst-performing items, guest feedback, and any changes you’d like to make to the menu.
Once you have that in place, you need to update the menu to reflect the changes.
A periodical menu evaluation is crucial for restaurateurs because it allows you to spot items that are not performing well, as well as areas of improvement.
Optimizing your restaurant menu gives you the opportunity to spotlight your top sellers, set yourself apart from the competition, and improve the guest experience.
Instead of having a long menu with dishes that barely sell, you can create a highly optimized list of dishes that you know customers will keep coming back for.
A good tactic to increase the average check value is to make your high-profitability menu items stand out. One quick way in which you can do that is to create a chef’s choice or chef’s recommendations category and place it at the very top of the menu.
Customers are often tempted by chef recommendations because they add an air of exclusivity like your favorite chef brainstormed a special menu just for you. Why wouldn’t the chef recommend the very best?
The dishes you select for this category should be made of the highest quality ingredients and stand out among the rest of the menu.
Another fast way to make your dishes stand out is to craft appealing descriptions that emphasize the flavor, texture, and appearance of a dish.
Your goal is to make customers crave the dish the moment they read the description.
When describing a menu item, you should also focus on the freshness of the ingredients, and mention if they’re locally sourced. This will give you bonus points and can sway customers to order.
Restaurant menu optimization is all about giving customers what they want. Instead of a long list of set dishes, you can shorten the menu and provide customization options for every item.
From choosing sizes to adding toppings, sides, extras, and more, let customers order exactly what they want to eat.
Using our online menu builder, you can create a highly customizable menu that includes a variety of choices and addons to help customers put together their desired meals. Here’s how:
To cater to a larger crowd of people, including the health-conscious crowd and people who suffer from allergies, make sure your menu contains detailed information on the ingredients found in every dish, any potential allergens, as well as nutritional values.
A quick and easy way to ensure customers are aware of the type of dish they’re ordering just by glancing at it is to add menu icons that describe items as gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free, vegan, vegetarian, halal, raw, or hot.
Small changes like these can make a huge difference in the customer experience, while for you, it’s just a few clicks in our menu builder.
Are you also offering takeaway options like pickup and delivery? Then you need to rethink your menu for those types of services.
Not all food items travel well, so you might have to condense the takeaway menu. Additionally, you need to purchase high-quality travel containers to ensure the food arrives to the customer in perfect condition.
You might also need to come up with creative ways of delivering items you wouldn’t normally find for takeaway, such as bottled cocktails.
To make your online customers feel special and motivate them to order more, create exclusive menu items that are delivery-only and come up with regular takeaway-only promotions.
Restaurant menu optimization is not limited to your dine-in menu. It also covers how you present your menu online because many people like to browse a restaurant’s menu before they visit it.
To guarantee a good user experience, make your menu responsive so it loads perfectly on all devices. Forget about PDF menus that customers need to download – those are a thing of the past.
Replace them with an online menu that is not just optimized for all devices, but also comes with built-in online ordering so customers can place orders online.
Check out this video tutorial to learn how to create your own responsive menu in just a few steps:
What can make your menu even more appealing to customers? Well, promotions and special offers, of course. Customers love a good deal, and it encourages them to order more for a better value.
The way to make your promotions stand out is to add them at the top before your menu categories. That way, they’re impossible to miss when customers are browsing the menu.
From discounts on a specific menu category to free items for big purchases, free delivery for takeaway orders, meal bundles at a fixed price, or buy one get one free, there are many promotions you can offer that will have a positive impact on your sales.
Here is a simple tutorial that shows you how to create all of these promotions and more with the promo module built into our online ordering system:
When brainstorming restaurant menu optimization tactics, you should also consider the ordering experience from the customer’s point of view.
Is the menu easy to read and understand or do customers need to ask for a server’s assistance? How easy is it to order? How long does it take for the food to arrive?
Some customers prefer to place the order themselves, especially when they want to customize it because it eliminates the risk of human error in case the server misremembers something or forgets to write it down.
You can implement a QR code menu that customers can scan to browse the menu at their leisure and then place the order and pay for it all at once.
This streamlined ordering experience will also help you serve more tables daily because you will spend less time on the back-and-forth of taking orders.
You can generate a free QR code menu in just a few steps. Here’s how:
Finally, you can’t improve your restaurant menu if you don’t pay attention to how your items are performing. Luckily, our menu builder gives you access to a detailed reports section where you can take a close look at the performance of your menu categories and individual items.
You can look at the quantity of items sold, the discounts, the profit before and after discounts, and what percentage of the total sales they represent.
That way, you will be in the loop and be able to quickly identify items that you should remove from the menu or items that you should pay more attention to.
As a restaurateur, you should conduct regular menu evaluations to ensure you are focusing your efforts on the best possible menu items you can sell. Use these restaurant menu optimization strategies to improve the guest experience and boost profits at the same time.