Below is the list of six important aspects that needs to be taken into account when restaurants create their food menu. The best part about getting a good menu is that, its never too late. There is always opportunity to make tweaks to make it better. Let us take a look at each of these individual items now.
Keep it up-to-dateWe cannot insist more on this. An outdated menu is a big turn-off. Period. Please ensure that the menu is always the latest and greatest and only items that are available to serve are listed. If something is not available, the customers should not see it - as simple as that. While updating in real-time is not possible (unless you are using www.vicemenu.com where it takes seconds to show/hide menu items, try to have a quarterly or half-yearly schedule to update the menu and give it a fresh look!
Publish it everywhere (online and offline)While some restaurants may do a good job at creating their most important document, its only as good if it can get into the hands of a potential customer. What is the purpose of an amazing dish that people can't taste? So, we think there is huge ROI (Return on Investment) made towards making the menu go as far and wide as possible. Put it on the table, but put it on your door that people who walk-by can also see. But remember, the restaurant discovery happens a lot digitally. People review your menu before even making a decision to come in person. That means having a digital version of the menu (we can help you with that at www.vicemenu.com both in terms of creating and distributing your menu very easily) is very critical and more importantly that can be easily shared and distributed across various social platforms (Facebook, Twitter etc.) and directory networks (like Yellow Pages, Yelp, TripAdvisor and so on...)
Describe your dishesWe serve "Tindora Ogilvyata". You serve what? Make the life of your customer easy so that they don't have to wait for the waiter to describe them what the item is and what everything on the menu means. It might turn potential customers away and for the ones that are already in your restaurant, it increases the dependency of the waiters and slows things down. All of this can be avoided if you could describe the items in a very simple and nice way. It is also very important how do you describe the items. Describe it in a manner that reflects the inspiration you put into your recipes. Use adjectives liberally and appropriately. For example, do not use generic terms like "delicious" but rather use terms like "succulent" , "tangy" , "hand picked" etc.
Images of items gets attentionThis is very self explanatory. Images are very powerful. It conveys the idea very quickly and gets attention. So, if you have a chance to add images to items, please do. For example, check the menu of Dominique Ansel Bakery with images on ViceMenu. A word of caution - as much as a good image does add value, a bad image is very detrimental. So, please ensure that the images are representative of the dish and the images are also of the highest quality.
Use a good font. Clearly organize categories and itemsThere are good menus. There are few bad ones and then there are the ugly ones. The ones that fall in the ugly category are most likely the ones that is very badly organized and confuses customers in making up their mind. These are also the ones where they have to depend on somebody in the restaurant to decide what they want to eat. Asking for recommendations on items is one thing... but totally giving up on it is another. Here is an example of a bad menu. Its a very old one and you might ask who has such menus these days and you will be surprised that quite a few restaurants do that. Please avoid that. How can you decide how to organize it? Here is our benchmark. If your customers cannot understand how your menu is organized and go to the right place to choose between few items to order in under a minute, you need to consider tweaking your menu.
Highlight specialtiesIs your restaurant unique? Do you have something special? If yes, why not highlight them? You want your customers to immediately know what is the best offering in your restaurant. It makes sense in so many different ways - Its special, you have exclusively stocked the raw materials for that item, you want customers to try your unique and so on. So, its important to find a way to call attention to those items. While we did not explicitly talk a lot about the detrimental effect of having too many items, its important to be cautious of that. Optimize (how to Optimize? We will write about that in the coming weeks!) you menu, both by having only the ones that mater and also by highlighting the ones that drives traffic to the restaurant.