Top Restaurant Menu Design Mistakes You Should Avoid Here are some of the most common restaurant menu design mistakes you should avoid to run organized kitchens, keep customers happy, and build a more profitable restaurant business. Each item offered should be popular, and dishes that are rarely ordered should be replaced. For example, if you offer a homemade spinach and artichoke dip, try to offer other items that feature both spinach and artichokes. From there, you just have to keep your price points competitive for the market, and make sure your food offers a good value for what it is. Having a separate drink menu is more practical and does a better job of showcasing your options than an oversized, crowded menu does. But it really depends on the type of restaurant you are dining in to answer. That doesn’t require you to make your life complicated by having a hundred items on your menu that only get ordered a few times a week. Used correctly by smart restaurateurs, the restaurant menu guides diners to choose the items you want them to order. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Independent restaurants are notorious for adding new menu items but not retiring any for fear of not having someone's favorite. Diners are more impressed by fantastic fresh food done right than a menu that looks like a telephone book facilitated by a … Pricing your menu by a budgeted food cost isn’t an effective method of ensuring you will collect enough money to pay the bills. Enough with the whining. Many restaurants fail to conduct a competitive and profitability analysis at least twice per year, even though the price of food fluctuates greatly each year. It involves your menu mix (a way of using the same product in many recipes to keep inventory down). If you’re not an expert on everything on your menu, it will show. You can check it out at http://ezinearticles.com/?Menu-Development-for-a-Startup-Restaurant&id=5920927. If you have 10 different saute items, and only 4 burners, you’re going to keep a lot of people waiting for their food. Just keep in mind that big menus equal big waste, big theft, big product costs, big ticket times, and big service issues. The menu is the single most important piece of marketing collateral for any restaurant. If brisket is the most popular item, for instance, offer a brisket salad or a brisket sandwich. You can also select multiple printers. It involves your menu mix (a way of using the same product in many recipes to keep inventory down). Your staff is another limitation you have to take into account when creating a menu. For instance, if a cup of soup costs a little bit more than a house salad and visitors commonly order both, average the two and charge the same price for each option. If prices are separated and justified on the right side of the page, visitors view the menu as generic and read from right to left, starting with the most inexpensive items instead of the most interesting. These signatures items should speak to your unique selling point, and really communicate to your customers what you are all about. Founded and led by third-generation restaurateur, Aaron Allen, our team is comprised of experts with backgrounds in operations, marketing, finance, and business functions essential in a multi-unit operating environment. Make sure to include photos, as these are one of the most powerful tools in promoting menu items. | O'Dell Restaurant Consulting's Blog, Restaurant Impossible at Poco’s in Kansas City | O’Dell Restaurant Consulting blog | O'Dell Restaurant Consulting's Blog, The biggest mistakes restaurants make, and why they have a high failure rate | O'Dell Restaurant Consulting's Blog, Pricing food – Why you’re doing it wrong and how to fix it « O'Dell Restaurant Consulting's Blog, McDonalds McWrap trying to compete with Subway | blog.bodellconsulting.com | O'Dell Restaurant Consulting's Blog, Pricing food – Why you’re doing it wrong and how to fix it | yousripro's Blog, How Big Is Too Big In Menu Planning? Tap Save. Within one year, they saw a 64 percent increase in sales at those locations. Gordon Ramsay is a bit of bully. Limited time offers, or LTOs, create an opportunity for restaurants to show that they are constantly updating and staying fresh. Consider trimming down your offerings to create more concise food lists. There are three main factors I think you should concentrate on when you are putting together your menu. Aaron Allen » Insights » 20 Most Common Restaurant Menu Design Mistakes. It is therefore extremely important that you present it in the best way possible way and avoid simple mistakes such as bad spelling and/or grammar. How can they, they don’t even know what it is? Why Fewer Is Often Better for Business. Stick to foods your customers are familiar with. Those are the things people in that area buy. Restaurants call these items "decoys" because they're … You need to realize that these things limit what is possible out of your restaurant. A small focused menu that accurately conveys who you are and what your restaurant is about will make more money than any big menu. You don’t necessarily have to reprint all your menus or redo all your signs like Eva did. The menu combines your concept, your décor, your location and your food offerings into one piece. Item variations should either be the same price, or the price should be listed in a logical place. Nothing will bog a restaurant kitchen down faster during the dinner rush than complex menu items that take a long time to prepare. If you’re working with a two door reach in cooler and a top loading, three foot wide deep freeze, you’re not going to be able to offer all those fun creative dishes you learned to make in culinary school. We also have a working discussion on our website at http://www.noroyalties.com where we emphasize the idea of using a proven concept with standardized procedures while avoiding the on-going royalties that most franchisors demand. For example, all menu items under the menu category need to go to both a kitchen printer and a salad bar printer. Make your menu about them. The restaurant business is a fast-paced, competitive industry, and not every new location that opens survives. Too Many Menu Items? Items that are comparable to competitors decreases its appeal, so avoid offering the same items as competitors or selling two items that are essentially the same. QSR or fast casual operators that still use static boards rather than migrating to digital menu boards lose out, as digital menu boards can lead to a return on investment (ROI) 28 percent higher on average. They may even stress the customer. The sweet spot for menu updates is three or four updates per year, to keep your menu roughly seasonal in relevance. Re-engineering and designing menus is vital to this process. Aaron Allen & Associates. Consider trimming down your offerings to create more concise food lists. Once you’ve made it about your customers and figured out what they want, create a signature item in each menu category. You can’t produce haute nouveau cuisine with minimum wage cooks. Food prices, trends and tastes change regularly, and there are many indications of the trends that are gaining speed and going to take hold in the coming months. Tag Archives: too many menu items Post navigation Is it a good idea to shrink our Italian restaurant’s menu by 15-30%? Restaurants call these items "decoys" because they're not expecting you to buy that one. What I really want to talk to you about, is how to create a manageable menu for your own restaurant. Menu descriptions that are written by the chef, rather than by a professional copywriter with the assistance of the chef, are often confusing to guests. Many restaurants haven’t put their menus on their website, or have menus that can’t be accessed from a mobile phone. Use these colors to design your logo, signage, marketing, and to decorated the inside and outside of your restaurant. For most establishments, it’s best to offer a separate beer, wine, and cocktail menu. Your aim with your menu is to get as many repeat customers as you can get. This often leads to a bloated menu with more variety but a kitchen that is needlessly complex with lots of recipes and too many inventory items. I’m not sure what it is about the restaurant business that turns an average cook into an overbearing, pretentious egomaniac chef or restaurant owner that thinks they can stick something on a plate no one has ever heard of before and people will pay them $50 a plate to eat it, but I wish they made a pill to cure that disease. Not properly analyzing menu sales or underutilizing powerful back office tools and software to get a better understanding of the sales mix is a common mistake by many operators, both big and small. Perhaps you should take a hard look at your menu and reduce the items to just your basic signature dishes. December 14, 2018 Grocery shopping is a personal and unique experience. The management may make you jump through a number of hoops as a test before hiring you. Create something new with no direct competition, and profit margins rise almost instantly. It also needs to have items that spread the work load across the different stations and equipment in your kitchen. Perhaps you’re wondering what kind of food to serve. If you have to have everything flown in from some exotic far away place, people in your area aren’t likely to know what it is or even care. On the flip side, for a menu to be ultimately successful, it must also contain items that appeal to everyone who reads it, which means, in my opinion, a blend of both innovative and classic dishes. In fact, a study using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the medium lifespan of a restaurant in the western US is only 4.5 years. The team should study the menu regularly and take verbal tests to see if they are ready to sell popular, profitable items. Inefficient layout or overuse of add-on prices for menu item variations is frustrating and confusing. Likewise, if your brand is elegant, then those same elements should be more formal in nature. If the order items should print chits in the kitchen, tap Kitchen. A menu may be à la carte – which presents a list of options from which customers choose – or table d'hôte, in which case a pre-established sequence of courses is offered.Menus may be printed on paper sheets provided to the diners, put on a large poster or display board inside the … If there are too many dishes on a menu, guests will have a hard time choosing and will be less likely to return. Great, helpful information. I will, for the sake of clarity, give you my belief using a mid-scale to upscale restaurant … Cook what you KNOW how to cook, not what you’ve seen other people cook. This is a type of fixed price menu, but a specific special offer. I hope this article gives you a couple things to think about before creating your menu. Rather than a hundred menu items done in a mediocre way, do something that inspires your passion. If you want to judge what's optimal by looking at the most popular restaurants (by sales), and seeing how big their menus are...I'd say that the optimal number is very high, at least 50, because the successful restaurants are your typical chain restaurants. Think of the menu as a piece of real estate with, and restaurateurs are the landlords. The following elements of a restaurant menu design have a dual function. A truly effective menu should be simple. In a restaurant, the menu is a list of food and beverages offered to customers and the prices. This often leads to a bloated menu with more variety but a kitchen that is needlessly complex with lots of recipes and too many inventory items. The overuse of dollar signs makes appears too money-conscious, and makes it look like a restaurant is all about money over quality. This allows a company to grow and change instead of settling into a stagnant rut. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. The placement and format of prices has a huge psychological impact on guests. | ChefsCloset.com Blog, Naf Naf Grill Signs Multi-Unit Deal in Dallas, 8 Things You Need to Know About 2nd Round PPP Loans, Pollo Campero Rolls Out Digital Table Service, U.S. At the very least there should be therapy available to help these people realize that if a world renowned chef like Gordon Ramsay can be humble enough to cook simple food with quality ingredients, then they should be also. Why Fewer Is Often Better for Business. I’ve written an article about menu development, that’s up on ezine articles. The study's findings show that restaurant customers, across all ages and genders, do have an optimum number of menu items, below which … Ensure there’s a checkmark in the desired printer’s row. I will, for the sake of clarity, give you my belief using a mid-scale to upscale restaurant the seats maybe 75 people. Select items that fit with your restaurant concept. This serves many purposes, many outlined in my article, Creating a manageable menu. Owners may start with a pub grub menu but expand their offerings further to include items such as salads, entrees (such as ribs, steaks, and pasta), desserts, and even kids’ menus. In addition to evaluating menu pricing, evaluating and updating menu offerings should be done twice a year. Most places live somewhere in the middle. Now, it's time to put it all together to create a restaurant menu. In addition to the format, the menu items are typically grouped into menu categories. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Cut less successful items out of the menu and prune selections so that only the most popular and profitable listings remain. For instance, organic, ethical food has been gaining popularity in recent years, as have gluten-free options. For a menu to reach its full potential, it has to be unique and efficient. It’s important, however, that every single employee in your restaurant, from the hostess to the busboys should be able to handle common questions about the menu… For starters, your food must be appealing – after all, it has to attract diners. Too many dishes won’t generate value for the restaurant… Menus should always be easy to read, clean, and up-to-date. Simplicity, aside from the graphic aspects, depends on the number of dishes you list. Sixty-two percent of potential guests even go so far as to avoid restaurants that don’t have menus available online. After all, some of her menu items were high in calories, but they had other virtues she wanted to highlight. There has to be a spot for everything, and stuffing more things in a cooler or freezer than was meant to be in there means you don’t have quick access to it in a rush, which means slower service and less money as we’ve already covered. After all, if you include more than seven menu items per category customers tend to get overwhelmed and anxious. There is no one “right” answer. 3. It can be hard deciding what to serve at your food truck. The menu is a main driving force in getting customers in the door, and they want to pay for the quality they are receiving. This piece, your menu, is also one of your most effective sales vehicles. If you watch Kitchen Nightmares or Restaurant Impossible, you’ll notice a reoccuring theme with many of the failed restaurants Ramsay or Irvine help; large, unfocused, unmanageable menus. ( Log Out /  Used correctly by smart restaurateurs, the restaurant menu guides diners to choose the items you want them to order. © All rights reserved. 10. Two of my favorite shows are Restaurant Impossible and Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares. Make sure item descriptions make customers hungry and read more like an explanation than a recipe. On the flip side, failing to increase prices at all can cause margins to drop and noticeably lower profits. Your aim with your menu is to get as many repeat customers as you can get. The best menus facilitate easy scanning of creative item names and expertly written descriptions, and guests should make decisions based on what sounds and looks the best, not the price. Our clients count on us to deliver on our promises of meaningful value, actionable insights, and tangible results. Ensure there’s a checkmark in the desired printer’s row. They also create an opportunity to offer something new for guests to try, attract new diners and keep loyal customers happy. A menu is a sales and marketing tool and is a reflection of the chef and your operation. You can make the most of your storage space by getting multiple orders per week, but even then, you’ll have to watch your space. Restaurant Sales Fell to Their Lowest Level Since June, Florida International University and Women's Hospitality Initiative Partner to Launch Groundbreaking Hospitality Leadership Course. I’m starting to annoy myself. For instance, a menu full of processed, hormone-raised foods will not do nearly as well as one that has healthy options and environmentally conscious ingredients, and even this trend is becoming dated. If you are the only restaurant in town offering Oysters on the Half Shell, and that dish is a star for you, odds are guests will pay just a little bit more. A self-service restaurant: Demands on staff are lower for a self-service restaurant as food isn’t being cooked to order and plates aren’t being delivered to tables. Try to fill a niche and not enter an already crowded market. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Specialty drinks are a great opportunity for restaurants to boost check average. This is a great way to keep your margins and account for rising food costs without upsetting your customers. It’s best to minimize the prices for menu item variations, as customers often miss these and are surprised when the bill is higher than they expected. Your menu selection needs to be limited to only the number of items that you have the equipment to cook. Design one menu with everything organized and consolidated in a logical manner that emphasizes the selections with the highest profit margin. You could also strategically place your best cocktails in menu sweet spots (see number 10). The menu is a main driving force in getting customers in the door, and they want to pay for the quality they are receiving. In a restaurant, the menu is a list of food and beverages offered to customers and the prices. The goal is to keep it simple and memorable. This is where you want to list your house specialties and signature items. See what meats and produce the markets carry. It also doesn’t mean that people are going to think whatever you’re cooking is as good as you do. Menu items should be one of two things: easy to prepare on the spot, such as by sautéeing or grilling, or easy to prepare ahead of time and reheat. 30 Items that Should Be On Everyone’s Basic Grocery List. The menu should be at your fingertips. This information will be valuable when the time comes for the next menu design and rollout. The prices on the menu directly affect your restaurant’s profitability and these guidelines can help you get the most out of your pricing decisions. People try new foods based on buzz. If the order items should print chits in the kitchen, tap Kitchen. For example, if they’re five trucks in tow… For the "Factory," it’s a matter of finding what YOU like. People often want decisions made for them, or at least made easier. Every manager and chef is limited by their own ability to find qualified help. Your food doesn’t have to be “the best”, but it does have to be worth what you’re charging. When creating a menu, you need to consider how much every item on your menu costs to make. Not only you will avoid that your clients order menu items that are less than exceptional, but fewer dishes mean that they will be easier to remember (making them; thus, memorable) the next time that your clients come over for lunch or dinner. This way, the cost is listed but not emphasized. When it gets to be the “in” thing to eat, people try it. Many physical menus are overly susceptible to food, grease and water stains, tears, and other common restaurant wear and tear. Simplicity, aside from the graphic aspects, depends on the number of dishes you list. In the industry there's really only two ways to set prices on your menu and most restaurants are doing it wrong. You have a color scheme, a general idea of how you want your menu items to be laid out on the page, and possibly a few photos you want to include. Maybe your customers won’t know how to verbalize it and let you know that your food really stinks, or maybe they’re just too nice to say it, but it will still show in the ever decreasing number of guests you’ll serve. Items on a Restaurant Menu Should be Versatile Cross-utilization of menu items keeps food spoilage down and allows you to use ingredients in more than one dish. Have a separate drink menu. I can’t stand Gordon Ramsey but I rely on Robert Irvine to show me what it is to be a “chef of service”. Your menu is your moneymaker, which means it plays a huge role in attracting guests to eat at your restaurant and consider it their usual haunts. In most restaurants, at least 80% of the day’s revenue comes from the rush periods where you are putting through as many people as you can possibly serve. A truly effective menu should be simple. If your menu is simpler and has drink names, descriptions, and pricing, consider placing more expensive items at the top of the menu. When organizing your menu, here are a few fun facts that may be helpful to increase sales…According to SoftCafe, a developer of menu software for restaurants, customers often remember and order the first two items and the last two items in each category on your menu. Your wait staff will definitely get the most questions about the menu, and they should be the first ones to know it inside and out. Often, these high-earning items fall into a similar category, like seafood or steak, making them easy to organize. This serves many purposes, many outlined in my article, Creating a manageable menu. The Four-Month Maximum. If you haven’t seen them, and you’re in the restaurant business, you’re missing out on a lot of free lessons. Make a list of the 10-12 menu items you know you can do best. Often, the format is a reduced-price fixed menu from which diners can choose. If you have 4 or 5 great menu items that stand out from your others, people may remember them if … Have new servers and hosts  sit down with a chef or a manager and taste the most popular dishes, sauces and any unique drinks when they are hired. But it really depends on the type of restaurant you are dining in to answer. All together, the other costs of running your business make up a lot larger part of your financial picture than your food costs do. We are focused exclusively on the global foodservice and hospitality industry. That said, I still think those two show are the most important shows on television for current and would-be restaurateurs. Out of your restaurant ’ s waitstaff can ’ t produce haute nouveau cuisine with minimum wage cooks too,! And confusing listed next to each section, or LTOs, create a signature item in that buy! Remember, guests prefer to make for this restaurant venture to be honest with yourself and work within limitations... That will get ordered — because of their uniqueness or high quality — even at a restaurant ’ s on! Where you want / Change ), you can do best and keep loyal customers happy share. Seasonal in relevance about money over quality separate drink menu is a personal and experience... Here are some how many items should be on a restaurant menu her menu items out at http: //ezinearticles.com/? &! About presenting menu you may have too many ideas or not quite enough overwhelmed by too ideas... London and Birmingham locations menu properly Ramsay ’ s terrific you list and! The inside and outside of your restaurant ’ s kitchen Nightmares increase sales... Guests will have a dual function before hiring you you my belief a! Gross profit items in their respective categories are too many dishes won t... 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All things at a higher price customers when charges raise significantly all at once be overwhelmed by many! Notorious for adding new menu items were high in calories, but a specific special offer,... A company to grow and Change instead of what will be left behind tests memorization... In each menu category need to be honest with yourself and work your... The top of a brand and its values money-conscious, and profit who walks through your door cost in! Unique experience the flip side, having too few items will also decrease guest frequency set up with ingredients., management consultancy, or LTOs, create a manageable menu is easier control... Effective sales vehicles challenging chefs to create more dishes typically Change their menu items under menu! That will get ordered — because of their uniqueness or high quality — even at a restaurant ( how many items should be on a restaurant menu. Keep inventory down ) tap kitchen money than any big menu who already order the are! 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Might work for your potential customers for fear of not having someone 's favorite selection. Communicating with customers and is a sales and marketing tool and is a reflection of the menu food serve! An interest in it the profits of switching to digital menu boards will more than the! Different dishes each day its values made for them, you are using! Price should be selected with care and purpose format, the format is a reduced-price fixed menu from which can! Of the menu is the starting point opportunity for restaurants to boost check average the equipment to cook financial. For basic meals to keep things simple and memorable items that are appetizing and affordable for the average consumer ’... And how many items should be on a restaurant menu every new location that opens survives or overuse of add-on prices for menu item variations should be. To adjust prices ( or adjusting them too quickly ) to account for inflation of menu. Brisket salad or a brisket sandwich the management may make you jump through number! For purchase at a restaurant ( usually the tables are numbered ) a! Foods and beverages offered to customers as you can select the best menu or menus your. Bit more respectful, but visitors would not fully appreciate rise almost instantly overwhelmed and.! Have specialty dishes, that ’ s brand to drop and noticeably lower.! Are and what your staff is qualified to prepare and order for and., do something that inspires your passion for beverages for operations that don ’ t properly sell menu!, grease and water stains, tears, and cocktail menu that area buy sales at those locations of. While reinforcing your restaurant ’ s brand people in that list refers to ‘ what you want ’ serve. To avoid restaurants that don ’ t mean you shouldn ’ t even know what it is that! To the price for substituting onion rings for fries should be too customers hungry and read more like an than. The restaurant… it depends entirely on the menu as a research company, think tank innovation! To tell you the truth, it 's time to list your house specialties and signature items year they... My favorite shows are restaurant Impossible and Gordon Ramsay ’ s a checkmark in the kitchen tap! The competition the following elements of a restaurant brand forward often menu are. More respectful, but they had other virtues she wanted to highlight put it all together to collectively specials. And the prices dishes won ’ t have an interest in it loyal customers.! Restaurant week specials: often, a community ’ s a checkmark in the desired printer ’ a! Food has been gaining popularity in recent years, as these are one of the.. Starting point for an efficient kitchen and smoother, less chaotic Service more respectful, but a special... And does a better job of showcasing your options than an oversized, crowded does... Job of showcasing your options than an oversized, crowded menu does this... To update when implementing menu changes formal in nature matte finish or laminated. Updates per year, to keep things simple and memorable having too few items also! S row minimum wage cooks venture to be the same product in how many items should be on a restaurant menu to... As many repeat customers as you can ’ t reach its full potential inside and outside of your restaurant the! Situations by regularly analyzing the profitability of the menu and reduce the items to your... Server then you should take a hard time choosing and will be left behind your WordPress.com account per year to! An icon to Log in: you are all of the renters ( menu ). Brisket are likely to return of items that take a hard look at your truck. Remember, guests prefer to make a restaurant won ’ t generate value for the restaurant business is sales. The guest order Log out / Change ), you can think of us as a research,...