A menu and knife and fork cutlery laid on a restaurant table

How To Make A Menu That Leaves An Impression

As a restauranteur, you may think crafting the perfect menu is little more than selecting what dishes your establishment will offer. The reality is that your menu is your first opportunity to present your brand to the world.

How do you craft a menu that represents your restaurant’s identity, but also helps to ensure maximum return on your investment? Take these thoughts to heart:

Smart Design Makes Your Menu Sing

Intelligent menu design is dependent on a savvy layout. When reading a menu, most people will start at the top right corner – this is a great place to list your most popular items. And whether your design is subtle or overt, use eye-catching graphics (think call outs, chef recommendations, most popular, boxes, borders, or icons) that highlight menu items you feel deserve the customer’s attention.

Tip: Avoid listing menu items by price. Per section, list moderately priced items in the centre, and don’t end the column with your most expensive item. Your second-highest priced item should be the best seller.

Shine A Spotlight On The Specialities

Crafting a successful menu is more than providing a standard selection of dishes that fits a common theme. Think outside the box and really showcase spotlight dishes that show off your talent and cause a little intrigue. Feel free to revisit these regularly, adding new items to your roster keeps everyone on their toes and generates the electricity of expectations.

– What are current food trends, and how can you put a unique spin on that?

– Can you take advantage of seasonal produce and meats? Are there local suppliers for your dishes that you can partner with (even on a branding level)?

– How are you fixed for holiday-inspired dishes?

– Do you offer a signature dish that stands you apart from your competitors?

– What do you have in inventory? Efficient inventory handling is important for your bottom line. So you’ll want to promote—in an appealing way—items that need to move out the door.

The Devil Is In The Details

How do you get a customer to choose a dish, sight unseen? Provide a well-crafted description full of sumptuous detail.

Dining is ultimately a sensory experience, and a menu that endeavours to appeal to the senses will prove most successful in the long run. Gooey, ripe, aromatic, seared – adjectives are your best friend. Infuse your descriptions with passion, and your diners will be inspired to try. In addition, investing in high quality images to showcase key items on the menu is a proven technique to sell.

On the other side of the spectrum, many restaurants describe their more expensive/exclusive dishes in very obscure ways. A name that doesn’t blatantly describe the details of a dish offers 2 benefits. It offers a sense of intrigue and mystery, and it is an opportunity for a customer to ask you about the dish – a friendly conversation about your food is always going to be a stronger brand experience than reading a menu. However, you cannot use this tactic too often as it will only frustrate customers if they have to figure out what every single item on your menu is.

Be Savvy About Your Pricing Structure

It seems obvious, but before you set the price per dish, take into account your operational and inventory costs.

Always consider including extra funds in your budget for fluctuating market prices and unforeseen issues related to product availability (i.e. if you run out of popular item at the last minute, how are you going to replace it?). If you specialize in meat or seafood, how much do you need on hand to offer daily “Market Price” specials?

Other savvy tips include pricing a la carte items in a way that encourages customers to order side dishes. Offer tasting menus or happy hour pricing to speak to a different demographic.

The successful menu is more than a list of the well-prepared dishes coming out of your kitchen. It exists as the face of your restaurant, almost always the first interaction a hungry client has with your brand – the representation of your establishment’s identity in the palm of their hand. When you want to get your name out there and get customers in the door, give your menu the time and consideration it deserves.

Looking for more advice on how to grow your restaurant business? Contact the professionals at Capify today!

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