A well-designed menu has the potential to make a real impact on the guest experience and your overall profits. A poorly designed menu, on the other hand, can hurt you in multiple ways. Here are 5 common menu mistakes that plague restaurants and diminish their profit margins:
While you may be tempted to offer your guests the world, it is possible for your menu to be too long. At a certain point, additional menu items stop improving the guest experience and start hurting sales. When the menu is too long, guests take longer to decide what they want and it slows down table turnover times. The result is that you end up serving fewer guests during each shift. Keep your menu simple. If there are items that aren’t popular, remove them.
A menu should avoid listing menu items with drastically different price points together. This causes guests to more frequently select the lower priced item, hurting your revenue. The menu should also not make price the focal point. The prices should be the same size and font as the rest of the text. Prices should also be aligned with the rest of the text so the prices are not the first thing guests see when scanning the menu.
Menus should be organized logically, with items listed by menu groups. All appetizers should be in one section, all burgers in another, etc. The desserts should not appear before the appetizers. Menu groups should be listed in order of course. By following these rules, guests are drawn to the appetizers before the main courses. If guests find the main courses first, they may ignore the appetizers section entirely.
While your servers are likely trained to upsell certain items, the menu can also play a role. All potential modification add-ons should be listed on the menu. If there is a burger on the menu, note the option for bacon, mushrooms, and other offerings and the additional price associated with each. If it’s right there on the menu, you won’t have to rely solely on your servers or risk missing out on easy upsell opportunities.
With a basic understanding of ordering psychology, you can take advantage of opportunities to highlight high-margin dishes on the menu. For instance, the top right corner of a menu is typically the first place guests look. Make it an ideal place to feature those items. The use of photos to promote dishes is another very effective menu engineering tactic. According to FSR Magazine, photos can upsell an item three times more often than items that are not featured in photos. Understand, however, that featuring too many items in photos or calling them out through various design tactics can take away attention from the dishes you really want to stand out.
Among a variety of menu options, these examples of menu designs are particularly inspiring. Perhaps they could inspire you while updating your menu.