If you’re a food and beverage business, there’s no doubt your menu will be one of the first things your customers interact with. And in this industry, where competition is fierce, it’s imperative to make the most of every opportunity.
What if you can impress potential customers, and make them think “wow” and went home happy because of a unique experience you offered? What if they told their friends about it and got them excited to try out your restaurant too? Suddenly your menu isn’t just a piece of paper on a table—it’s a marketing tool that draws in customers and works in your favour.
If you’re looking for ways to use your menu to market your business more effectively, keep reading for some great tips.
Use Your Menu to Build Brand Awareness
Your menu is a great way to build brand awareness and promote your business. If you have a logo or tagline, include them on your menu to increase recognition among customers. You can also use colours and fonts that align with your brand to help reinforce it.
Simplicity is key when it comes to branding — less is more. Too many colours or fonts can cause confusion and distract from the content of the menu itself.
Your Menu Should Be User-Friendly
You don’t want your customers struggling with your menus, so make sure they are easy to navigate and read. Use categories to group dishes together, making them easier for people to find what they are looking for.
Keep font sizes consistent throughout, and use a font that is easy on the eyes. That means clear font choices and lots of space around each text item; easy-to-follow organization and categorization (e.g., appetizers, salads, main courses, dessert); and a balanced look with no overcrowding or odd spacing between items. It also means not overwhelming your customers with too many options; generally speaking, studies have found that people feel less stressed when presented with fewer choices.
Use Your Menu to Target Key Customers
Understanding your target market is the first and foremost step in creating an effective menu. This helps you eliminate items that may not be of interest to your target customers, while also helping you add new products to your menu that they will love.
It is also a great way to target specific customer segments — particularly if your customers are niche-specific (e.g., meat lovers, vegans, gluten-free eaters).
Don’t be afraid to push your best sellers. If you know you have some dishes that are amazing, but people just aren’t ordering enough of them? It might be time to do something about that. Putting them in a different colour or font can help draw attention to them, or consider highlighting them in some other way at the top of each section (ie, “Must-try!”).
Showcase Your Brand Personality
Are you loud and proud about being family-owned? Do you have a strong focus on locally sourced ingredients? Whatever makes your business unique, should shine through on your menu. The more customers get to know your brand personality, the more they’ll feel at home when they come to visit.
Give It a Refresh Every Now and Then
You should regularly clear out items that aren’t popular or aren’t pulling their weight in profit margins. Your menu should reflect all the changes that happen within your business. That might mean adding new items (or deleting those that weren’t exactly hits), or changing up descriptions as you start serving different dishes.
Make sure your photos are high quality, look tasty and mouthwatering. Your menu is the first impression a customer has of your food, so it’s important that it makes a good one.