Admit it, we all do it…
Whether it be the brewpub with the juicy mushroom swiss burger or the upscale eatery that serves the salty, sweet cider-glazed chorizo as part of their tapas menu; we all daydream about our next chance to eat our favorite meals at our favorite restaurants!
Your grandmother's prize-winning pumpkin pie recipe may draw people in, but how do you keep your customers coming back for more? Ask any successful restauranteur how they retain customers and they'll more than likely point to their menus.
Here are four pertinent points to consider when crafting your menu:
- Picking up a menu is like a handshake with someone you've just met; it's your first opportunity to make a good impression before they even sink their teeth in. Use enticing, descriptive language to make your offerings sound mouth-watering. Patrons will be more likely to choose food that sounds delicious.
- Your menu should be an extension of your food: organized, and with a clear portrayal of your unique perspective on cuisine- your menu is one of your most important marketing tools! So, keep your offerings organized. No-brainer, right?! Unfortunately, it is very easy to get lost in all of the delicious details you want to provide your customers. The written menu should be arranged to follow the order in which meals are typically served i.e. appetizers offered first, then lunch, dinner, and dessert.
- It may seem counterintuitive to limit your menu's choices, because hey- this is America, the land of choice - but it can actually cause your patrons to feel overwhelmed if they are presented with too many items on a menu. The most successful restaurant owners stick to listing around seven offerings per menu section.
- Figure out what makes your restaurant special, find your food niche, and play it up in your menu. If you are an organic café that offers locally grown ingredients, make sure to advertise where your food has been sourced from. Let your customers know that they are supporting their community.
Below are some well executed menus we have come across:
Laney & Lu - One look at the menu and you immediately know what their niche is, and what their company values are. Laney & Lu's item descriptions are thorough and enticing.
The Balanced Bee - We are in love with their item names and captivating descriptions.
Mamaleh's Deli - A delicatessen / restaurant, Mamaleh's has a beautifully designed menu. Without coming off as too busy, they manage to communicate their company values, food quality and menu education in their well organized menu.
If you put your heart into your food and make your menu stand out, customers will be sure to return. So, keep your grandmother's prize-winning recipes and spread the word! Think you have an awesome menu? Comment below and send us a link!