Menu Design: Highlighting Restaurant Specials

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Limited Time Offers and menu specials are a great way of testing new items before they go on the full menu and also testing different price points and other menu engineering strategies. But how do you go about highlighting restaurant specials?

Menu Design: Highlighting Restaurant Specials

Customers Can’t Buy What They Don’t Know About

As my friend Jim Sullivan famously said, “You can have the best product in the world but if nobody knows about you’ve still got it.”

It’s true; customers can’t buy what they don’t know about. Limited Time Offers and menu specials are a great way of testing new items before they go on the full menu and also testing different price points and other menu engineering strategies. But how to you highlight what’s special?

Highlighting Restaurant Specials

Well, one of the biggest things is to make sure you’re not highlighting too much at once. If everything is important nothing is important. We’ve all felt a smile slowly fade as a waiter droned on and on about tonight’s specials mentioning 2 soups, 3 appetizers, 4 entrées with multiple preparation styles. They might as well just read the whole menu to us, right?

The More You Focus On One Item, The More Special It Is

Well, look at how the big guys do it – whether on the QSR side like a Starbucks or the high end of fine dining. If Starbucks has something special, every bit of in-store marketing is focused on that one item – from the bathroom posters to the window clings. And in the fine dining restaurant industry, if the chef has much to be proud of, he doesn’t have all the items listed off, he instead creates a very special chef’s tasting menu. The more you focus on one item, the more special you make it.

Restaurant Consultant

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