Gone are the days when menus only named dishes and displayed prices! More and more restaurateurs are realizing the power of the menu as a marketing tool. Both the layout and the content of the menu promote your establishment, whet the appetite for your dishes and provide information about special ingredients or preparation methods. Depending on the concept, it doesn't have to be the classic leatherette menu either! While this menu is mainly used in traditional restaurants, there is a wide range of new alternatives for hip restaurants, cafes or bars: why not present the offer on chalkboards or wooden boards? When designing a menu, you can let your creativity run wild. But before that, you need to think carefully about what will be on the menu, in what order you will arrange the dishes and drinks, and how prices must be marked.
When a guest enters a restaurant, he or she first receives the menu. This should therefore be both an aid and an appetizer for the guest.
Guests appreciate being able to quickly find their way around the menu. So make sure the menu is clearly laid out. Hot and alcoholic beverages should each be listed separately from soft drinks and non-alcoholic beverages. The dishes can also be grouped well into different categories, be it "From the Grill", "Vegetarian" or "Fish".
Recommend to your guests a drink that goes perfectly with a certain dish! Use a "Our recommendation" note or a graphic "Our tip" button for this.
It is easier to create clarity on your menu if it is not overloaded. In addition, guests usually associate a large selection of different flavors with frozen food and poor quality. Therefore, limit your offer to dishes and beverages that are a unique selling point of your gastronomy or that are typical for your concept. In addition, your kitchen staff should be able to prepare the dishes in an acceptable amount of time. A too large selection of dishes causes extra work in the kitchen and thus automatically causes longer waiting times for the guests. Too many ingredients also increase the price of a dish or its profitability. If dishes that are costly to prepare are ordered infrequently or not at all, consider removing them from the menu.
"Minced steak with jacket potatoes" says a lot about the dish, but also about the restaurant that includes those words on its menu: Down-to-earth, direct, hearty. Depending on the concept, however, the naming of the dishes can be more unusual: a burger called "Abendrot" conjures up an image of grilled vegetable tartare, rocket and olive fritters between homemade burger buns in the guest's mind's eye just by reading it. A "Golden Grilled Chicken" is more likely to appeal to your guests than "Grilled Chicken." Make sure that no questions are left unanswered with the guest: No one will order a "hatter's goulash" if it doesn't say exactly what ingredients and preparation methods await the guest. In addition to the ingredients, additives and allergens must also be listed on the menu. In addition, it also makes sense to label vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free dishes: this way, the guest can already see on the menu which dishes are possible and does not have to ask the service staff.
Ask friends who are unfamiliar with your food choices if there is anything on the menu that is unclear to you or if the dishes sound tasty.
Do you offer a changing lunch, daily or weekly menu? Then summarize these dishes on separate insert sheets. This way you can easily replace the special menus and the guest knows exactly that it is a limited time offer.
Prices must not be missing from menus. Restaurateurs are required by law to indicate the price of every dish and every drink, including VAT. However, it is up to you to decide whether to include a euro symbol on the menu. Studies show that menus that do without currency symbols are better received by guests. The price recedes into the background and ordering pleasure increases.
Setting adequate prices is a science in itself. Calculation requires a great deal of intuition: If prices are set too low, the catering business is often not profitable; if prices are too high, guests are put off. The simplest cost calculation assumes that the selling price of a dish is derived from three times the cost of materials, with material costs consisting of cost of goods, personnel costs and profit. this approximation, however, completely ignores competition, location and demand.
For this reason, a somewhat more complicated but more accurate model is usually used in restaurant catering for the calculation of food and beverages that includes these factors and the statutory value-added tax. In addition, some goods in the catering trade are offered at a higher price in order to be able to price so-called train items more favorably. This type of mixed calculation is used, for example, for coffee, whose relatively high price helps to finance other products offered by a restaurant or café.
Observe the market price and your competition to get a feel for fair prices. If you know your patrons well, you can also gauge whether your prices are considered reasonable or too expensive. Don't skimp on the quality of your merchandise to increase your profit margin. Your guests honor good food and drink and are happy to pay more for it. If they say your food isn't worth the money, it's hard to get rid of that reputation.
Use the design of your menu and the descriptions of your dishes to focus on the food and its quality. Focus on the culinary experience - not the price!
Menus not only show which dishes are available at what price, but also consolidate your brand and image. Therefore, you should not underestimate the menu as a marketing tool! There is space in the menu to point out special ingredients or features of your location or to highlight special services. For example, do you host weddings or large birthday parties? Or is your venue a former brewery? Do you source your ingredients exclusively from regional production? Share your philosophy with your guests and create a personal, individual relationship with your gastronomy.