For menus, restaurants have to find the perfect balance between variety and simplicity. Too much variety can be confusing for customers, while too few choices might not appeal to all of them. So, how do you create a menu that’s both appealing and effective?
One tool to consider is the menu engineering matrix, which helps you place items in terms of popularity and profitability. This system analyzes both the cost and revenue of each menu item to identify which ones are most (and least) profitable.
Of course, there’s more to a great menu than just profitability. Here are four categories to look into to help you create an irresistible restaurant menu.
Color: Different colors can evoke different emotions in people. For example, red is often used to stimulate appetite, while blue can have a calming effect. Also, highlight items you want to sell more of by giving them a “pop” of color. It increases the likelihood of those items getting ordered.
White space: Too much text on a menu can be overwhelming for customers. Incorporate white space to make your menu appear cleaner and more organized. It will also help customers focus on the items you want them to order.
When it comes to the items on your menu, you can use the menu engineering matrix to place them in terms of popularity and profitability.
Starters, for example, are typically less expensive and less popular than main dishes. So, you might want to put them at the bottom of the menu or in a less conspicuous location.
Another thing to consider is the way you describe your dishes. Be as specific as possible without using too much jargon. Use descriptive language that will whet your customers’ appetites. And, if you’re using ingredients that are unfamiliar to most people, be sure to explain what they are.
Pricing is one of the most critical aspects of menu design. Prices should be clearly stated and easy to find. They should also be in line with the cost of your ingredients and the perceived value of your dishes.
Restaurants that use an “anchor pricing” technique—in which they list one high-priced item and several lower-priced items—have been shown to have increased sales of the lower-priced items by up to 18 percent.
Also, to maximize profit, you should consider the “menu pricing sweet spot.” This is the price range where customers are willing to spend without feeling like they’re being overcharged.
How do you structure a menu? The layout of your menu is essential for both aesthetics and functionality.
Items should be grouped logically, and the most profitable items should be given prime real estate. The layout should also be easy to read and understand, with plenty of white space and clear headings.
Should you use photos?
Studies have shown that photos can increase menu items sales by up to 30 percent. But, before you start adding pictures to your menu, there are a few things to consider.
First, make sure the quality of your photos is high. There’s nothing worse than a grainy, poorly lit photo of food. Second, only use pictures of dishes that are available. Nothing will frustrate your customers more than ordering a dish that’s no longer available.
And finally, be sure to use photos sparingly. Too many pictures can make a menu look cluttered and unappetizing.
So, there you have it—four tips to help you create the perfect menu. By taking the time to consider each of these elements and leveraging tools like the menu engineering matrix, you’ll be sure to create a menu that will appeal to your customers and maximize your profits.
But remember, the most important thing is to have fun and be creative. After all, your menu reflects your restaurant’s unique personality.