Today, we’re talking about an essential topic : creating your restaurant’s menu. We all know that the menu is one of the most defining elements of any restaurant, for several reasons…
- …it’s the most powerful marketing tool there is for finding and retaining customers .
- …it is the object that establishes the strongest link between the kitchen and the customers from the very first moment.
- …it ‘s the communication bridge between customers and room staff.
- …it is the medium that sells the most valuable asset of the establishment , namely its gastronomic offer.
To make sure your establishment has a great menu, we’ve listed the most important points for creating a truly effective menu. So take note!
Perform preliminary analyses: customers, competition, trends
Customer preferences: If you know what your customers’ favorite dishes are, based on their lifestyle and tastes, and include those dishes in your menu, then you are sure to please them. Use TheFork Manager’s database to save your customers’ preferences and put them to use in your menu. The menus of the competition: By knowing the offer of other restaurants, you can get an idea of what works or not in your area, and exploit this information in your favor.
Gastronomic trends: If you know consumption habits inside out and especially the changes they are undergoing, you can take them into account to create dishes that will mark your customers and that will please them.
Create a one-of-a-kind concept: original, different, special
Think about what your restaurant really represents in order to define what makes its very essence, by answering questions such as: What is the specialty that sets us apart? What do we want to convey through our dishes? What is the company philosophy? A family restaurant, an organic restaurant or a restaurant of high gastronomy are of different natures. Your menu should reflect the personality of your restaurant. When you’ve defined your concept, add information about your customers, competition, and new trends to create a menu concept with unique dishes .
Choose the right number of dishes: favor quality over quantity
Then comes the time to apply rigorous selection criteria to your offer in order to end up with a refined list that retains only the best dishes in terms of quality, profitability and popularity.
In this respect, it is important not to include more than 30 dishes in your menu to help customers choose quickly and without too much hesitation. Take into account the different seasons and offer classic dishes, for example, that your customers can enjoy in winter as well as in summer .
Create a profitable menu: between 30% and 35% of the total cost
When pricing your dishes, consider the following variables:
The cost of producing the products, knowing that the products are profitable as long as you do not exceed more than 35% of the total budget to make your dishes.
The standard of living of your customers to be able to adjust your prices to their means.
The prices of the competition , so as not to place you too much above or too much below their prices.
Highlight your star dishes: chef’s specialty, exotic recipes, surprising cocktails
Another solution to create a menu appreciated by your customers is to highlight your most attractive dishes. Examples: the chef’s specialty , dishes based on exotic and trendy ingredients, as well as your most original drinks such as creative cocktails . The upper right corner and the center of the map are the most strategic areas to display these dishes. Place below the other dishes you want to offer.
Publish photos in the quality that Instagram demands: professional, natural, striking
Images stimulate customers’ different senses. Take advantage of it! However, know how to respect a fair balance, there must not be too many photos in your menu, this could produce the opposite effect. One or two photos per page is enough. Of course, your photos should be of professional quality. They must represent the dish as it will be served at the table, must not create false expectations and above all must be extremely appetizing.
A good idea is to take a look at the photos of your dishes posted by your customers on social networks: it is in your best interest to retain them for your Instagram account. Preferably choose photos of dishes with light and bright colors and suggestive textures, and avoid images of dishes with dark colored ingredients or very sophisticated presentations.
Organize a tasting to test your menu: with your staff and special guests
Your restaurant’s menu is ready and your offer is ready to go on sale. Now is the time to check if your dishes are up to snuff and pair perfectly. The best strategy is to organize a tasting to test the menu and taste it with your teams and a few customers, the reviews will allow you to make changes before proposing it on the menu of your restaurant.
Update your menu: the key moments
Your menu must be versatile and must be able to adapt to the tastes of your customers as well as your profitability. For this reason, it is important to always be on the lookout for changing trends , in order to take them into account in your menu. Take into account changes in the habits of your regular customers and changes in the production prices of the products on your menu, so that it is always profitable and up-to-date . You need to be very clear about which favorite dishes are the most successful. Want to create the perfect menu for your restaurant? At work ! We are sure you will. Don’t forget to promote your menu on TheFork to expose it to millions of Internet users.