Building a menu requires much more than just choosing a font and curating some images. In fact, there are many more considerations that need to go into the document if it is going to be successful. The way you design the menu, the categories that you use, the descriptions you write, and the format that it comes in all play a role in menu optimization.

To help you create a successful menu that keeps diners coming back, read on to learn how to build the perfect menu.

1. Utilize a menu management system.

More and more restaurants are utilizing a food menu management system that enables them to adjust recipes, offer nutritional and allergen data, and determine menu pricing. With digital restaurant menu software, you can rest easy knowing that all of your menu data is stored in the cloud.

Having a menu management system improves the customer experience, streamlines your ordering process, and increases efficiency in your restaurant. Moreover, the best systems allow you to cross-sell by presenting recommendations to your patrons and also to handle your orders no matter where you are.

2. Focus on design.

In addition to the content that is on your menu, you also need to consider the presentation. Designing an appealing menu is just as challenging as curating the dishes as it needs to be an accurate reflection of your restaurant. In order to be consistent with the rest of your branding efforts, you must ensure it has the same colors and overall tone. Unfortunately, having an unprofessional menu reflects negatively on your business.

When designing your menu, keep in mind techniques that work to emphasize particular dishes or make your menus stand-out. These strategies include drawing a box around a group of items, placing asterisks next to dishes, utilizing creative typography (that is still readable), or using different colors or shading. No matter how you design your menu, you want it to be on the shorter side as customers often get overwhelmed when they have to flip through a long menu.

3. Keep it organized.

The last thing you want is an unorganized menu. Generally, the best way to organize a menu is by categorizing the items. Depending on your style of restaurant, and the dishes you want to draw attention to, you have a few options for categorization. Some of the most popular ways to organize a menu are either by order of typical consumption (breakfast, lunch, dinner), or separate menus for all meals, or different menus for appetizers, entrees, desserts, and alcoholic drinks.

A good rule of thumb for organizing your menu is to have highly profitable and highly popular dishes highlighted and featured prominently on your menu. For each category, these should be listed first. Next should be the dishes that have high profitability yet are low in popularity. You may also want to consider renaming them. Then, items that are low in profitability but high in demand should be listed. Finally, add the items that are low in profitability and low in popularity. These dishes may require updating, either by moving them to another section of the menu or modifying their cost. Follow this system for each category.

No matter how you decide to organize your menu, always think about how the customer will feel when trying to navigate it. Confusing menus annoy customers! To ensure you are keeping things logical, ascertain what you want your menu to say before you determine the categorizations.

4. Change your menu periodically.

Don’t think of your menu as a static thing. Instead, you want to be prepared to adapt and to use the data that you gather. For example, you may be surprised by which dishes turn out to be the most popular and which ones are a dud. Never be afraid of adjusting your menu periodically. Furthermore, you may want to have occasional specials or new menus for the season.

The best way to bring flexibility to your menu is to have a digital menu. By opting for an interactive food menu, you can create a tool that grabs customer attention with vibrant images while also making it simple for you to update the menu without any additional stress or extra costs. Plus, having a paperless menu is beneficial for the environment, and menu updates can be instantly synced across all your restaurant devices thanks to the cloud.

Final Thoughts

Creating the perfect menu is a lot of fun, but it also hard work because its presentation is so integral to the customer experience. For this reason, you need to make sure you are balancing your creativity with systematic categorization, proper pricing, high-quality images, and easy-to-understand descriptions of the dishes.

Foodics offers a cloud-based all-in-one restaurant management system that is designed for the iPad and comes in English and Arabic. By offering high tech solutions and real-time management, we enable our clients to provide the best dining experience possible. Talk to our team today.