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What Menus Should I Be Using To Deal With COVID-19?

What Menus Should I Be Using To Deal With COVID-19?
Which are the best menus to use during a pandemic? We take you through the pros and cons of each to help you decide...
by Philip Wilson - The Inventor - SuperTuffMenus
Is it worth changing your menus to help you do business during the COVID-19 pandemic? If you're worried about doing business in the current climate you're probably wondering just that. In this bit of our chat, we compare different menu styles so that you can best understand which is going to suit your operation.
Whatever the government decides to be required is one thing but the truth of the matter is your customers and staff won't stick around if they don’t feel safe in the dining environment you create. Make your customers comfortable and they will come back. It is more than just the menu but the menu is important.
Disposable Paper Menu
  • well, it is in government guidelines,
  • easy to keep clean - just bin it after every customer uses it
  • easy to get hold of - lots of grateful printers ready to help
  • customers will see that it is a single-use
  • hell, you can print them yourself 
  • It may not suit your style - you could always upgrade the paper but then the costs quickly climb
  • How many will I need? That’s tricky - who knows. Always cheaper to print more at once though
  • Storage - you need to keep a pile of paper somewhere - clean and dry
  • Trees! Yes, lots of trees. A lot of waste paper to be recycled or binned.
Laminated Paper or Card Menus
  • They can be wiped clean with a damp cloth
  • A bit more upmarket than a simple sheet of paper
  • Lots of willing printers ready to make them for you
  • You have them already?
  • Wiping these clean with a damp cloth is going to get them soggy at the edges
  • You will still have to buy quite a few to have enough to keep them clean.
  • They look tatty quickly
  • They cost more now that they are laminated
Photo by Hans Vivek
Laminated Plastic Menus - the ones with the clear border - aka Encapsulated Menus
  • More wipeable than a simple laminated menu. For a while, you can even put it in the sink.
  • You can do-it-yourself. Buy the printer and laminating machine online or from your nearest stationery shop.
  • Once you have the printer and the laminator it's not going to cost much, other than time.
  • Glossy plastic menus? - you can do better
  • They won’t last that long if you are washing them after every customer has used them
  • Do you have the time? Aren’t there better things to be doing?
Menu Folders with clear plastic pockets
  • A classy option. Some smart folders available at the MenuShop.co.uk
  • Tough and synthetic can be easily kept clean. 
  • Most have several pages to insert your printed menu.
  • Quite an investment if you are not going to do this for the long term
  • Wiping down the outside and the inside is going to take a while
  • You still have to print the insides yourself
Menu Boards / Chalk Boards / Posters
  • Once they are up no customer needs to touch them
  • You don’t need many 
  • Do you have the wall space and the light?
  • I suppose it is a bit fast food but with a good graphic designer you might just pull it off?
Photo by Brett Jordan
Online / Apps / Computer Screens
  • Clean - nobody touches them other than the customer
  • Flexible - you can change anything at a moments notice
  • Data - gold in them there clicks!
  • You have wifi anyway
  • You can even get pre-ordering… imagine how the kitchen will perform now!
  • check out our friends at https://hello.menu
  • Pre-ordering really? Isn’t ordering part of the fun?
  • Technology can fail and can be glitchy - how good is your WiFi?
  • Considerable investment in setting up and ongoing maintenance… probably really only for chains or operations with geeks as part of the family.
  • Nobody is ever going to leave their phone again
Conventional Plastic Menus - plastic with print
  • Washable until they wear out
  • Long-lasting
  • Not a lot of plastic printers out there - at least not many that want to print a few menus - you are not going to get small quantities.
  • plastic not to everyone's taste
  • While waterproof, the ink is on the surface and so will scuff after some time
  • We print as few as five simple menus
  • Waterproof and washable. the print is protected by the wrapping
  • Classy feel does not compare to typical plastic
  • Can be washed daily, even after every customer use.
  • Guaranteed not to go soggy or peel within a year
  • They just don’t fold nicely
  • Initial cost unit cost is very high but when compared with alternatives over time SuperTuffMenus show great value.
  • Not everyone’s cup of tea - they are not suited to changing every week or month. For these to work for your operation they need to have 3 -4 months use.
So there you have some different menu styles to consider. All these need to be assessed with your operation and service style in mind. I’ve kept the best to last but I do understand that the SuperTuffMenu is not for everyone. 
Please do post anything you felt I have missed or your alternative point of view.