Guests won’t try every item on the menu, but every guest uses the menu. The restaurant menu is the single most important marketing collateral you have (website is second). It’s amazing how much can be spent on design and decor for new restaurants but then the menu is often just a blip if at all identified in the new restaurant opening budget. Menu investment and budgeting are important. Your menu is your best salesperson and should function as a tour guide for all of your customers. Whether you serve 5,000 customers per week or 5,000,000 per day there is no one talking to more of your guests than your menu.
Menu Investment and Budgeting
For large chains, a slight shift in menu preference scores can mean millions more in net profits. For regional chains, a innovative new idea incorporated into the menu can catapult a well-loved regional player into a nationally recognized emerging brand. For high-volume independent restaurants, a professionally engineered and designed menu can keep you head and shoulders above the local competitors too lazy to invest in sophisticated new approaches today’s competitive restaurant landscape requires.
Undoubtedly, the restaurant business is one of the most complicated and difficult to manage. It requires so many different specialized disciplines to work together in harmony and there is seemingly never enough money to go around for all of the various internal investments that are needed. That said, there are a few that always trump budgeting concerns. Those issues impacting the employee morale, guest experience, and certainly issues that can have quick and measurable impact on sales and profits – those all go to the top of the list. Menu engineering and design is one of those issues that can address all of those issues collectively so when viewed in this light it is much easier to justify internally the budgets required to develop a superior new menu.