I was reading an article the other day where they debunked industry old techniques of designing menu with statistical data. Like when people read the menus, they don't start in the top right hand corner, they actually start in the top left corner and read it like a book.
This got me thinking of some of the things I think about when I am designing or refreshing a menu. So here are a few techniques or things I consider.
When I write a menu I make sure that I don't put $ by the price. For example I would write " Buffalo Chicken Wings 15 ". Instead of writing " Buffalo Chicken Wings $15". I find that the dollar sign takes the focus away from the actual item and reminds the customer that it's gonna cost them and puts the focus on that.
The most important thing you can do for yourself is cost your menu properly. If you try to base your prices on what your competitors are charging it will never end well for you. Ever! If you don't know how or don't have time reach out to me as costing your menu will be the best business move you will do in your restaurant's career.
When designing your menu selections or dishes try to use ingredients more than once or twice on your menu. If you have, say, artichokes on one menu item only and not have any other use for it, that doesn't make much sense. Especially for more expensive items. For example I was working with one place that had a jambalaya on the menu. It was the only dish that had prawns on it and it didn't sell that well either. So they were bringing in a expensive product like prawns and they ran the risk of them spoiling cause the item didn't sell well.
Don't go on a journey of words to describe your menu items. On the other hand don't leave it up to the customer to "fill in the blanks" as well. If you have a bacon cheese burger put in descriptors like hand made burger, 100% chuck burger patty, alder smoked bacon, vine ripe tomatoes, ect. Don't go over board, don't write false descriptors, and focus on describing the quality of the ingredients. We don't need to know that the prime rib is slow roasted, we assume that when we taste it. Focus on it being certified Angus or Alberta AAA beef.
Have as many eyes look over it before you send it to print. There is that old saying that goes "It takes a village to raise a child"; well it takes a village to create a menu. Listen to other peoples opinions, as they might have a perspective that you may not have thought of. You don't have to take their advice but at least listen to it and then make your decision. Once you go to print there is no going back, reprints cost a fortune.
Well there are some of my nuggets that I have learned over the years. I hope they help. If you need help with costing your menu or need a refresh on the one you currently have please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org