Tips and Tricks for Restaurant Menu Marketing
The success of your restaurant is contingent on so many different variables. Some of these, like the recent health crisis, were not in your control. Other factors, such as your menu, are much more easily managed and can be harnessed to expand your growth. You may or may not have considered that your menu is much more than a list of dishes—until now. The truth is, your menu is one of your prime marketing tools. Not sure how to leverage your menu? We’re here to show you the following restaurant menu marketing tips and tricks to magnify your menu’s potential.
Show While You Tell: Add Pictures
They say a picture is worth a thousand words; in this case, a picture may be worth a thousand orders. Sometimes, descriptions of menu items can be confusing and even misleading. A customer may think they’re getting one thing and end up unsatisfied. For this reason, including pictures of your menu offerings in addition to descriptions is a crucial restaurant menu marketing method.
People react more to pictures because they can actually see what they are ordering without any guesswork involved. Visual representation can even lead customers to order items they wouldn’t normally order based on the description alone. That one dish that nobody orders because it doesn’t sound appetizing? Before you remove it from the menu, try featuring a photo of it. Customers might change their tune if they can see how appetizing it looks.
However, while adding items to your menu may be helpful, it’s important not to set the wrong expectations. Ensure the pictures are appetizing as well as realistic. If possible, it’s a good idea to add pictures to all menu items to minimize misunderstandings as much as possible. If you have a lot of menu items and need to prioritize, focus on:
- “Signature” dishes or most unique offerings
- Highest revenue items
- Most popular items for your location and audience
Recycle Your Paper Menus: Go Digital
Not a fan of only having pictures of a few popular dishes? One way to add as many photos to your menu as you want is to go digital. Unlike physical paper menus, digital menus provide convenience with how the menu is displayed and navigated through. Jump-to sections and categories can eliminate the confusing and time-consuming process of flipping through multiple paper menu pages, while providing more detail about menu items and specials.
When implementing digital menus into your restaurant, you have a few options. Customers can access your digital menu through their mobile devices by using your online app, scanning a QR code, or simply viewing your website. Additionally, you can display digital menu boards behind the counter or at the entrance of your establishment.
Digital menus offer flexibility that paper menus just can’t. For example, digital menus allow you to quickly and easily change menu items and prices without paying printing costs that come with updating paper menus. This will allow you to be more experimental with your restaurant menu marketing; you can change the layout, highlights, navigation, and specials to see what design performs the best with customers. You can even make your digital menu available online, which could bring you new customers that wouldn’t have otherwise tried your restaurant.
Keep it Fresh
If you remember one thing about restaurant menu marketing, it’s to keep it fresh. Continuing to offer the same items all the time can cause your regular customers to become bored and look to other restaurants to try something new. By updating your offerings quarterly, monthly, or even weekly, you can mitigate customer menu fatigue and keep them coming back to try your newest items or take advantage of your latest specials. By constantly refreshing your menu, you can also entice new customers to try your restaurant.
You can also keep it literally fresh by offering seasonal dishes made with local ingredients. In 2021, it’s very on-trend to support local businesses and be health-conscious. Implement these trends into your restaurant menu marketing by advertising healthy dishes made with local ingredients. You can even have a locally sourced section of your menu in which customers can browse farm-to-table offerings. This will also benefit your reputation as a community-driven and environmentally conscious business.
People often come to a restaurant looking to be delighted by you; some may be coming to have dinner after a long day and don’t want to think too hard. Luckily, you can cater to their needs through restaurant menu marketing. While they’re ordering, offer them suggestions about pairings with beverages or side dishes. Include “bundles” or meal deals for couples or families to make their ordering experience as easy as possible.
Digital menus and pictures help to convey exactly what you’re offering in these bundles and pairings, and can ultimately be the reason they decide to add more to their order. The more you can sway them with your restaurant menu marketing, the higher your revenue will be.
There are various things that you can do to ensure your menu is an integral part of customers’ decision-making processes. Your menu is a great tool to increase sales from existing customers, but it can also be helpful in reaching new audiences. Through clever restaurant menu marketing, you can get customers to spend more during their visit, try new things, and keep them coming back for more.
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