Your restaurant menu is so much more than just a listing of your appetizers, meals, desserts and drinks.
The menu you provide your customers defines your restaurant. It speaks to your customers and draws them in to dine. As such, it needs to entice your customers on a regular basis, whether they are brand new or repeat customers.
You want to strategically design your menu to not only reflect your brand but to reflect the tastes of your customers.
Your menu has the ability to propel your restaurant into the future and bring you much success.
In this article, we look at why you should be re-imagining your menu, and then we discuss some suggestions to make it work for you.
Dining is changing in the 21st century. Your customers’ needs have also changed and evolved.
Not only are costs increasing, but demand is propelling customers to rethink their dining choices.
You may have noticed creative concepts, pop-ups, food trucks and other innovative ideas in your hometown. This will continue into the future, and because of this, you want to take a long hard look at your menu.
It’s up to you to provide new, innovative and unique dining experiences to your customers. You want to provide an experience they can’t find somewhere else. (tweet this)
Consider EatWith. This is an innovative concept in dining and is more like a home restaurant than anything else.
EatWith hosts dining experiences either in someone’s home or a communal dining space. Not only do they rotate experiences, but they rotate chefs.
This is the kind of innovation facing restaurants today. It’s up to you to compete in this arena by offering this type of modernization in your own business.
How can you compete? Here are some ideas.
Diners want a real “experience” these days when eating out, so provide it to them.
For example, once a week you might offer an international menu.
Let’s say you just took a trip to the south of France and encountered real French cuisine. Bring it back to your restaurant and give your customers an authentic experience.
Or, perhaps you visited the best restaurant on a recent visit to Guatemala. Offer this to your customers as well.
You’re basically bringing the vacation right to your customers and helping them to enjoy the cuisine of a country they may not ever get to visit.
In the same vein as the dining experience, once a week or once per month let your chef experiment and offer a special menu.
This not only highlights the versatility of your chef, but it offers your regular (and new) customers something unexpected.
Your potential for marketing is huge when you let your chef experiment as you’ll draw the interest of many foodies.
Vegan, vegetarian, paleo, gluten-free, lactose intolerant. The needs of your customers are wide and varied.
Do your best to meet their needs by offering healthy alternatives on your menu.
Acknowledge the wishes of your customers and offer a variety of items for your diners. You’ll encourage more repeat business in your restaurant if you offer a menu that provides for the needs of your customers.
Today’s diners are demanding quality in restaurant menus.
They like to see that your menu has sustainable offerings. They appreciate the farm-to-table movement and are drawn to it.
Do your best to find local suppliers, and when you do, make note of it on your signage and on your menu.
For example, if your vegetables and herbs are grown in your backyard veggie garden or your meat is sourced from a local organic farm, make sure your customers know it.
Food quality is of the utmost importance, so do your best to meet it with local options.
Your diners, and especially Millennials, want digital options. They want to bypass your written menu and go straight for the iPad or touchscreen to not only read your menu, but to order and pay.
There is a fine line between going all digital and still offering a personal experience. So, while you can offer digital options, be sure to keep the human touch for those customers who have no interest in “digital dining.” (tweet this)
If you don’t already offer online ordering, it’s time to consider it. Not only should it be on your website, but social media is a great place for it, too.
Social media is the way of the future. It’s a great place for your restaurant to build relationships with your customers, engage them and offer them something of value.
You may be providing your customers with great social media content, but do you give them the option of ordering right on social media? Why make them leave the place they’re most comfortable online?
Social media ordering makes dining and enjoying your food so easy for your customers. They don’t have to leave their favorite platform to place an order. Then, they either have you deliver it, or they pull up at your take-out door.
Offer your customers an easy online ordering system on your social media accounts so they can order with ease.
You may have a terrific menu now, but it may be time to re-imagine your menu to meet the changing needs of your customers.
It’s up to you to make your menu relevant to our changing times and to improve the quality of your overall dining experience.
As you work to re-imagine your menu, have a clear focus and a plan. Create a strategy, stick with it, and make sure that your staff is on board with your changes.
Aim for open communication and consistency as you bring in your innovative ideas.
Do your best to find the sweet spot for your guests – this is the place where your regular menu and your innovations meet. It’s that instant where your diners think to themselves, “This is my favorite place to eat.”
At Restaurant Engine, not only do we create great, responsive websites, but you can count on us to create a website that drives business to your restaurant and edges you above the competition by using mobile-friendly design with a terrific user experience. Ready to take the plunge and create a website with an online menu, blog and beautiful photos? Get your free website consultation today!