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restaurant menu

How much thought have you put into engineering your restaurant/bar menu? Yes, I used engineering (not designing) because a menu needs to function and perform at a high standard; it needs to be profitable! Long-time friend of Upserve and menu engineer, Gregg Rapp, dropped in last week and shared some knowledge with the team. 

3 Quick Menu Tips to Boost Sales:

woman reading menu Remove Leader Dots – If your menu has these small periods………..leading from the item to the price, guests will look for the cheapest items because they know these point towards $$$! Instead, remove dollar signs and bury the price underneath mouth-watering descriptions. Use rather expensive items as decoys. For example, if you have a $1000 sundae like Serendipity in NYC, place the $20 scoop of ice-cream next to it and people will think, “This is a good deal”! Price items based on: the type of ish it is, what your neighbor is selling it for, and what makes yours different from similar dishes.

menu eye tracking

Organize Your Menu Like a Magazine – Think about it, these publications are engineered to sell. Did you know that people almost always look to the upper right hand side when they open your menu? Put your most profitable (and ideally delicious) items in this section. If you really want these dishes to stand out, maybe even put a box around them. The image shows the common path of glances on a 2 column menu. You want to place the profitable entrées in section 1 and 2 (then move to 3 for appetizers etc.). If you have 3 columns, people generally first look at the top half of the middle page and then the path/formula remains the same.

restaurant menu

Less Is More – Too many different items in a specific category can be overwhelming and will often result in the guest going for the cheapest or most familiar. Gregg shared a short story of a woman who was selling 30 different flavors of jelly at a market. When she cut the flavors down to her 6 best, sales went up 30%! 5 items is the optimal number with 7 being the max. Therefore, choose your best and most profitable items and slash the extras off the menu. 

Extra Tips:

beer neon sign

Design Your Menu/Restaurant Around Profitability – Did you know that those generic “Beer” neon signs and coasters you use are helping sell your least profitable beer?! Get rid of those and replace them with some custom signs/coasters that show off your unique and profitable beverages; these catch the eye and taste of the guest. Also, add prices to your drinks; you’re guaranteed to sell more (studies show that 32% of guests are upset when they see no drink prices).

restaurant menu for menu design Up-sell (but not too much) – Add your logo next to some of your best items on the menu; telling the guest these dishes are unique to your restaurant and can’t get them anywhere else. Use lots of descriptive copy to really get the guest to taste what they’re reading; people want to know what they are ordering. If you can paint a picture in their mind you’ll have an easier sell. Utilize segmentation to get those profitable menu items to really stick out, whether that’s a box around specific items or create some white space; the guest’s eyes will be drawn to these dishes.

If you want to learn more menu secrets, check out our 8 Simple Menu Design Tweaks to Boost Sales that we made in partnership with Gregg Rapp!