Judging a Restaurant By Its Menu
Judging a Restaurant by Its Menu
First impressions count for a lot, especially in the restaurant business. With so much competition to contend with—and trends to keep up with—it can be difficult to attract new patrons to a restaurant. Effective advertising can go a long way in giving your eatery the exposure it needs to draw in your clientele; though, it’s often the menu itself that can either make or break that all-important first dinner date with you and your customers. By implementing a few thoughtful techniques into the planning and construction of your restaurant’s menu, you can help to ensure your guests come, sit, and savor all you have to offer time and time again.
Know Your Surroundings
Before you can begin to compose your restaurant’s menu, it is important to have a clear understanding of such components as your location and competition. First off, the location of your eatery may potentially influence numerous aspects of your business. If your Italian bistro, for example, is situated in the heart of a residential community, you might consider offering family-style entrees and more kid-friendly options. Similarly, what’s listed on your rivals’ menus may help decide what you put on your own. Familiarizing yourself with the competition’s prices and other details can keep you ahead of the game attracting business. It might be unadvisable to list a large variety of burgers and sandwiches if your neighbor is an acclaimed specialty hamburger joint, for instance.
Know Your Niche
Now that you recognize the business landscape around your restaurant, you can decide how your eatery will fit into the picture. Everything from your menu’s layout, length, and listings depends on the overall theme of the restaurant. Ask yourself questions like will you be a fine-dining establishment complete with romantic lighting and white linen tablecloths? Does your sports bar feature a selection of craft beers and/or other locally sourced items? The style and arrangement of the menu can complement these and other restaurant features to create a cohesive image for the patron. That is why the desired tone and vision of your eatery should be well-defined so that it can be reflected and reinforced in the menu you create.
Know Your Kitchen
Not only is it helpful to consider your restaurant’s theme when working on your menu, but it’s equally important to factor the kitchen into the equation. You may be inspired to fill your menu with a grand selection of dishes ranging from appetizers to desserts to aperitifs, but it will be difficult to carry through if you have neither the resources nor the staff to support such a menu. If this is the case, it is possible to make the most out of what your kitchen has to offer by building a menu around fewer, more memorable dishes. Likewise, the strengths and skills of your kitchen’s staff and chef should be taken into account so that they can be showcased on the menu as well. If your chef prefers to frequent farmers markets and use seasonal ingredients in his or her dishes, say, you might like to highlight that somewhere on the page.
Know Your Food
At last, it’s time to fill that blank menu page with the fine offerings you have to share. It’s at this point in the process that you must remain objective and selective about which items make the cut, and which ones must be sacrificed for the greater good of the list. Once you’ve divided the menu into appropriate sections like Starters, Salads, Pizzas, and Paninis, it’s important to commit to how many items you will feature in each area. Striking a balance between offering variety and keeping the focus on your finest dishes may be challenging at first, but can help to influence how the kitchen functions and how customers order. It is likely that some dishes will be more popular than others, so you may find that omitting certain items saves from wasting ingredients and vital menu space. And just remember, many quality dishes that do not end up on the page can always be introduced as specials.
There’s much more that goes into constructing an effective restaurant menu than most people realize. And never skimp on the menu cover, always buy quality products. After all, the contents and design of that one document can either attract new business for your eatery or push it away. Showcase the finest aspects of your cuisine, style, and overall experience by building a thoughtful and cohesive menu that is easy to understand, and indulge in.
We are available to help you place your order, discuss your custom needs and recommend covers that are right for your business. Call us at 1-888-222-7796 or contact us with your questions about our restaurant menu covers and related products.
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