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Restaurant Menu Design Tips to Drive Sales and Increase Profits

Restaurant Operations - October 01, 2020 Written By: Krista Dinsmore

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There are plenty of ways that you can increase profits at your restaurant. Implementing effective beverage and food inventory management systems, reducing the amount of deadstock you keep in storage and offering a takeout service are some of the ways that your restaurant can improve its bottom line.

Many restaurants, however, are forgetting one incredibly important component when it comes to increasing profits - their menu.

Building your menu isn’t easy. A carefully thought out menu can increase sales, improve the guest experience and strategically drive customer buying decisions by emphasizing your more profitable dishes.

In this blog, Sculpture Hospitality has created a list of tips and tricks that will help you design a superior restaurant menu that drives increased profits for your business:

Emphasize your most profitable dishes with menu design tricks

Your menu isn’t just a list of dishes that your restaurant serves. It is a marketing method to guide customer buying decisions and increase the likelihood of them choosing your highest-profit dishes. That’s why you should use your menu to emphasize the items that you want your customers to order.

Design elements such as bold text, italics, ribbons and boxes around specific dishes or comments such as ‘chef’s special’ all have a drastic impact on what your customers order. For example, drawing a colourful box around a featured item with a little asterix and the words “Our Favourite”, will naturally draw the eyes of your customer to that particular dish.

By attracting customers to your most profitable dishes, your business will become more profitable.

If you are including photos, choose them wisely

Having a bunch of photos will only clutter your menu and confuse diners. If you make the choice to use photos, you should instead use them sparingly. Perhaps put one on the front cover of your menu, or maybe just use one or two on the inside.

Whatever you decide, it’s incredibly important to choose high-quality photos. Poor quality images will create a negative perception of both your dishes and your brand. If your menu photos are not appetizing, then your customers aren’t going to order those dishes.

Design more than one menu

If you serve different meals throughout the day, let’s say lunch and dinner, having all of these dishes on one menu can overwhelm and frustrate customers. In fact, long and complicated menus in general often make for a poor guest experience.

Where possible, break down your offerings into different menus. Print a lunch and dinner menu, and only hand out the menu which is relevant at the time of your guests arrival. This way guests know exactly what they can order and aren’t overwhelmed by a huge list of dishes.

The best menus are simple and focus on what the restaurant does well. Limiting your customers choice not only improves the guest experience, but it also guides buying decisions so that you can maximize your profits.

Want more information on simplifying your menu? Check out our recent blog, ‘How to Simplify Your Restaurant or Bar Menu for Optimal Profits’.

Write powerful menu descriptions

Good menu descriptions lead to higher profits, there’s no doubt about it. There’s three main reasons why:

  1. they allow your restaurant to differentiate itself from others;
  2. they entice guests into your restaurant;
  3. and they lead to guests ordering more during their visit.

How you present and describe the dishes on your menu can help build anticipation for your restaurant's food and convince hesitant customers to try something new. Your menu shouldn’t be a lifeless list of ingredients, bring your dishes to life with powerful descriptions that help you sell more.

Include a high-price item on your menu

Most diners are reluctant to purchase the most expensive item on a menu, no matter what the price is. By including a higher-priced dish on your menu, you can sell more of your mid-priced dishes that yield high returns. The higher priced dish will give the illusion that your lower priced dishes are better value.

Let’s say you introduce a $50 steak to your menu, but your $30 steak has a higher return for your business. The idea of introducing that $50 steak isn’t to sell out of it, it is to put the focus back on to your $30 steak and encourage diners to buy that instead of a lower priced option.

Are you interested in some more tips and tricks to help you boost profitability at your restaurant? Contact Sculpture Hospitality today. Our team of local hospitality experts would love to help.

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