Most customers will spend an average of 109 seconds reading a menu.
That means you have less than two minutes to both intrigue and convince guests that your restaurant is going to meet and hopefully exceed- their expectations. Why is this important? Because you care about increasing your return on investment.
Slight changes to your menu can result in over 27% increase in sales, by solely changing the way your menu is designed.
Let’s explore some simple ways, rooted in human psychology, to get the most out of your menu:
1 – Be more descriptive with your language
Look at how you describe items on your menu and try to pinpoint dishes where you could push the language you use. Menu engineer, Gregg Rapp gives the example of changing menu name item from “Crab Cakes” to “Maryland Style Crab Cakes” and using a description like, “made by hand with sweet jumbo crab meat, a touch of mayonnaise, our secret blend of seasonings and golden cracker crumbs for a rich, tender crab cake.” Using sensory words in your description will leave your customer’s mouths watering.
2 – Rethink the materials you use
What is your menu currently printed on? Large paper, a small folded booklet, a clipboard? Consider what effect changing the material or size of the menu could have on guests menu browsing experience. Thicker paper or the use of leather is a great way to suggest the food is of high quality. Another aspect to consider is how many pages your menu is, but we’ll talk more about that on #5.
3 – Create eye-magnets
Guests don’t read your menu, they scan it. Because of this, you want to make sure your best dishes stand out, especially to first-time customers. Interrupt the natural eye movement patterns and create magnets that draw out a particular section of your menu from the rest. Doing simple things like using a larger or different color font or adding a star next to popular dishes instantly brings positive attention.
4 – Showcase your menu digitally
Technology has created a rapid shift in the way guests make decisions about where to dine. Creating a visually appealing digital menu can be extremely powerful in swaying prospective customers. Having your menu online also lets customers explore it before they come into the restaurant so they can make quicker decisions, resulting in faster turnover time on tables.
5 – Limit their choices
The optimum number of menu items is seven-ten items per category. The best menus use the paradox of choice, which says the more options we have, the more anxiety we feel. Multi-page menus can both overwhelm customers and increase turnover time. With this in mind, look if there is a way to re-organize menu items or limit their selection.
Slight updates to your menu can make a radical difference in how guests both perceive your restaurant’s quality and interact with it. Beyond that, these updates will make a positive impact on your bottom line.