Designing your menu correctly is one of the most important aspects of operating a successful restaurant. When done well it is a piece of marketing and communicates your mission statement that reinforces your brand and provides the opportunity to increase profits for your restaurant. A well-engineered menu is profitable and is part of a satisfying customer experience, something that peaks interest and gets patrons excited about trying your dishes, simple to understand, and spells out costs clearly. Here we’ll look at the best way to use menu engineering to design a menu.
So, Menu Engineering, What Is It?
In simple terms it is designing your menu in a way that is appealing to the eye, conveys all the pertinent information (dishes, prices, etc), and makes sense easily. Professional menu engineers will do their work to highlight your namesake dishes, most popular dishes, and most profitable dishes.
The first step is looking carefully at your current menu to determine what is the most profitable and popular dishes. Knowing this is important because the menu will be engineered around these dishes as they are the most popular and profitable and should therefore be showcased.
Psychology is important to keep in mind. Professional menu engineers in conjunction with professional psychologists and marketers have determined specific menu strategies that encourage patrons to spend more money, all subconsciously. This can mean pointing the focus towards or away from specific dishes and is a science unto itself.
“What Sort Of Psychology?”
The average person looks at a menu for just under two minutes, so relaying information effectively is incredibly important less people order the first thing they see. Here are the straight forward basics of restaurant menu engineering and psychology to incorporate:
– Less Is More: having too many choices isn’t necessarily a good thing. When faced with too many choices human beings often find it hard to make one. Too many things on the menu are not good for the back of the house cooks and chefs as it creates more recipes to memorize and more work. The running average according to menu engineers is 6-7 dishes per menu category. This makes choices easier to make and people will feel less like they may be ordering the wrong thing.
– Eye Friendly: A menu that looks like a dictionary or encyclopedia is something to avoid. Your menu should be easy to read, easy to understand, and can be scanned over yet still understood. Guiding patrons in a certain direction on the menu from top to bottom is important. Think of how easy menus are that only go top to bottom without horizontal reading.
By keeping all these thoughts and questions in mind while performing menu engineering, you will turn out the best menu possible that accurately represents your restaurant.