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Menu Marketing: Small changes that can make your menu your number one marketing device.

As a member of the restaurant community, you are constantly looking for better ways to market your concepts and to increase your profit margins. There is an overabundance of information and advice about employing various marketing strategies and design concepts in order to increase your sales, but have you thought about simply making a few changes to your menu? Before investing in a shiny new (expensive) advertising campaign in order to boost your profits, consider making a few small modifications to your menu. Here’s how:

1. Keep it simple: If you are particularly passionate about your food, it might be tempting to employ elaborate, flamboyant language. Don’t. Keep your menu descriptions brief and to the point. Use language that is straightforward, clean, and that aptly describes your dishes.

2. Don’t be afraid of blank space: It can also be tempting to max out your margins, filling your menu to the brim with words, colors, pictures, and boxes. This is yet another pitfall to avoid. Leaving clean, blank space on your menu allows the eye to rest, whereas too much information crowded onto a small space leads to mental fatigue and indecision.

3. Use inserts: Inserts give your servers concrete talking points while allowing you to market specific items and specials. They also give guests the impression that whatever is being advertised will only be available for a limited amount of time. These elements, in combination, have been proven to increase sales on specific items.

4. Placement: Research shows that the average consumer most clearly remembers the first and last two items on a menu. Positioning your most profitable items in these locations allows you to increase the sales frequency of these high-profit items, thereby increasing your overall profit margin.

5. Determine which items bring home the bacon and highlight them accordingly: Use boxes, bold fonts, and eye-catching formats to draw your guests’ eyes to the items on your menu that tend bolster your profits.

6. Arrange menu items by price: It might seem like a good idea to list menu items by price, from lowest to highest. It’s not. Instead, keep in mind that consumers tend to remember the first and last two items most clearly. Therefore, in order to increase your profits, list your most expensive items at the top and bottom of your menu, with your lowest priced items scattered throughout the middle.

7. Leave out the dollar signs: Leaving out the dollar sign next to your price leads the consumer to focus less on the price and more on the description. Similarly, moving your prices closer in physical proximity to your descriptions will lessen the likelihood that your guests will base their choices solely on cost.

8. Keep it Clean: No one wants to sit down for supper and be handed a menu with a complimentary smear of ketchup on the cover. That’s downright unappetizing. Make sure that your wait staff takes the time to wipe down each and every menu before handing them out.

9. Be true to yourself: At the end of the day, your menu is a reflection of you. It should embody everything that you and your restaurant aspire to be. (No pressure!) The best thing you can do for your menu is to make sure that it is a thematically appropriate reflection of your restaurant’s character.

Whether these tips have encouraged you to rearrange your menu or to redesign it entirely, be sure to check out KNG’s broad selection of menu covers and accessories for further inspiration: KNG Menu Covers.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Are you currently employing any of these strategies? What sort of results have you seen? Please feel free to leave a comment below.