Plan and prioritise!
There IS a science to the order
The order in which you list your menu items is important.
Lists should be short. Try to put 5 or fewer items in a section, with no more than 7! More than 7 will overload the customer, who will then resort to their default order which isn’t what you want- because chances are these won’t be the most profitable ones. Small lists are nice and easy to navigate and will lead to higher profits from the purchasing of high profit items and more add ons.
Menu Cover Configuration
Your menu configuration can very much be tailored to affect your profits. Let’s break it down.
One panel menu - This type of menu will allow really fast decision making from your customers, however they’re unlikely to order much meaning lower profitability. A straightforward layout like this doesn’t evoke a full, lavish dining experience.
Two panel menu - If it’s possible, this is your best choice! It’s natural to read, simple, and still implies a fully committed dining experience.
Three panel menu - Obviously if you have a large selection of items this is a valid choice, just keep in mind that it doesn’t read as well as the two panel.
Many panel menu - Let’s face it, the more panels you have the less control you have over the menu! The bigger and more complicated it is the less able you are to influence your customers decisions.
There have been countless studies tracking the eye movements of customers on websites, books and even menus. It’s really useful to pay attention to these patterns and place menu items accordingly!
Be careful to think logically about this. You might have an expensive item that you really want to promote, but if you put that at the focal point of the menu could it make your establishment seem too expensive?
Think Outside the Menu
Obviously we’re menu obsessed, but engineering a flawless menu won’t do it all on its own. Keep your staff in the loop! Do they know what the priorities are? Do they have great insight into the decisions of your customers? They are instrumental in guiding your customers so provide them with all the right tools.
Testing your menu is only really appropriate if it is part of a chain or at least has several locations. When Gregg works with large companies he would use anywhere between 10 and 90 restaurants as a test case for a new menu. However if you’re a single unit, it’s best not to try to run two menus side by side it will get really complicated.
Gregg’s overarching message is just to continually test your designs, there is always room for profit improvement!
You’re designing the one piece of marketing that goes through the hands of every customer- make it count.