The menu of your restaurant stands at the epicenter of your restaurant business and is a lot more powerful than merely a directory of dishes that you serve. With digital transformation, online menu marketing is taking the forefront and has become instrumental in promoting your restaurant to your customers.
How You Can Use Your Menu as a Marketing Tool
In a pandemic-struck world, most restaurants were initially met with a flare up in transforming customer expectations. Post-pandemic, the focus on customer service became absolutely vital for the survival of restaurants who were passing off customer experience as a peripheral part of their business. Restaurants could no longer ignore the elephant in the room. Soon, restaurant owners realized that the key to their success was adapting to the digital revolution that was taking the world by storm.
Today, restaurants have become a model for digital transformation, even more so, because as an industry, they have really had to think on their feet, reimagining how customers are served. One of the first aspects that require immediate attention from a restaurant’s perspective is what’s visible to the customers within the first glance – the menu!
The rise of digital menus has opened up a huge window of opportunities for restaurants especially because an online menu doubles up as a marketing tool. Digital menus offer an elevated customer experience, streamlined operations, lowered costs and higher sales to restaurants as part of their menu marketing strategy. While restaurants can evade the cost implications with digital menus, the chances of getting it wrong have also gone up!
4 Common Restaurant Menu Mistakes
It is often debated what should and shouldn’t be on the menu of a restaurant. Truth be told, there is no set formula to master menu marketing. However, it’s possible that you still find yourself failing to make a mark with your restaurant’s menu in the digital era. You may have inadvertently committed some mistakes that are holding you back as a restaurant owner. Some of these could be that your menu is:
Hard to Read
A menu that is barely legible or hard to understand is most likely going to end up being ignored by customers who are, in all probability, hungry and impatient to try and decipher what your menu has to offer them. If your menu is unable to catch their attention, chances are that it isn’t easy to read. Imagine you actually crack the code to menu marketing and then the hard-to-read font size ruins it for you.
Take our advice – once your digital menu is ready, run it by a few different people and ensure that the legibility of your menu (or lack thereof) isn’t going to become the downfall of your restaurant!
We’re not saying don’t add prices of each item on your menu but at the same time, it can’t take away all the limelight from the real showstopper on your menu – the food! At the risk of throwing off your customers with exorbitant prices or making them second guess how much money they are spending on an item, it’s always better to place less focus on the prices.
Adding descriptions to your food items can balance it out. You still want to give the prices on your menu enough weightage so your customers have all the information that they’ll need to make informed purchasing decisions. But the key is to not make the prices a jarring addition to your menu.
Not Structured Properly
Let’s be honest – your menu is not a playground. Your customers may not seem to mind trying out the occasional bizarre dish on your menu, spawned from all those rounds of trial and error. But trust us when we say, they will mind a menu that has items randomly and haphazardly placed.
Your menu’s marketing strategy is not a place for you to experiment. Experiment with the food that comes out of your kitchen if you will but not with the menu of your restaurant.
Your menu is a marketing tool for you, sure. Take that away and it’s just a place where your customers can come when they want to order something. This is why it’s extremely crucial to optimize your online menu. Think in terms of categories, what customers like to order, bestsellers and create easily accessible search filters that make it super simple for customers to order with negligible time investment.
Complicating the Ordering Process
A menu isn’t supposed to make your customers feel like “what have I got myself into”. It should be simple to navigate, well-organized, smooth and seamless among other things. Many restaurants have fumbled and gone overboard with trying to create a cool menu. So much so, that they compromised their customer experience in the bargain. They were perhaps aiming for a unique experience and accidentally repelled customers.
Now, digital menus omit the scope for overcomplicating it because everything is already organized to simplify ordering for customers. Customers are either pressed for time or not willing to wait for their orders any longer. This also holds true for the menu they use to order. Keeping things simple with your menu, and giving your customers the option of ordering things they may like as recommendations or bestsellers is vital for restaurants who do not want to make ordering a complex ordeal for their customers. And it is likely to cut down on your restaurant costs significantly.
Psychology Behind a Restaurant Menu
It’s a widely-held belief that customers are resorting to the world of online ordering. In fact, 63% of consumers prefer to order directly from the restaurant. This means that your restaurant holds a higher probability of getting orders in the age of online ordering. And it all condenses down to the experience that you create for customers. As more and more customers make the switch to online ordering, converting the regular printed menu to a digital one becomes imperative. However, the psychology behind menu marketing remains the same.
Unlike the old school menus however, the menu aesthetics hold little value so it’s a smart move to focus on what really matters in the context of a digital menu. Let’s take the popularity of specific menu items for instance. These are likely to change and will evolve as you gain more customers. As a restaurant owner, this positions you to forecast customer preferences and accordingly show these as bestsellers or recommendations to other customers on the menu.
Making your menu a living and breathing proof of your customer expectations is a great way forward when you’re planning your menu’s marketing strategy. With a digital menu, your aim should be to focus on minimalism and what customers are truly seeking in terms of experience. In a nutshell – less muscle, more substance.
Creating Your Restaurant’s Menu as a Marketing Tool
Immersing yourself in creating the perfect menu for your restaurant is an intensive process, one that requires a lot of brainstorming and various checkpoints to be covered. Your menu is a marketing tool that can be effective towards the overall evolution of your restaurant business.
To empower you with the tools you need to slay your menu marketing, we have summed up a to-do list for you to consider that’ll help you with marketing your restaurant’s menu in an organized manner.
Make Your Digital Menu Accessible
Whether you already have a digital menu in place or are looking to make the switch to a digital one, you must make it easily accessible. You can’t expect customers to come looking for your menu or worse even if they do make the effort, imagine that your menu is nowhere to be found! What a bummer that would be.
Putting your menu on every online platform and making it searchable through relevant tags and on search engines is something that will ensure customers are not left looking for your menu. Adding your menu to your Google My Business listing will also work wonders for your restaurant business and particularly your menu marketing.
Keep It Accurate and up to Date
When customers look at your menu, they are not seeking a jumbled version of items that you offer and they are certainly not expecting to be overwhelmed by overly long and convoluted descriptions.This is why you must look at keeping your menu strictly to the point and not all over the place.
What’s worse is when your customers are faced with an old or outdated menu of items that you no longer serve. If you are creating a digital menu, you will most likely update it to the latest version but even then, you must stay vigilant that your menu has only items that are available in your restaurant or you could seriously lose a lot of customers!
Make Your Menu Mobile-Friendly
It’s no secret that customers have officially jumped on the mobile bandwagon and are actively seeking experiences that are mobile responsive. As of 2022, the number of smartphone users in the world is 6.648 billion, which is roughly 83.32% of the world’s population!
This means that if you want to have your menu placed across the apt channels, making it mobile responsive is something you need to include in your menu marketing strategy.
Use Vibrant Descriptions
Stepping up from the standard, mundane descriptions and pepping up your menu to give it an exciting edge is the kind of menu marketing strategy that would not only enrich your menu marketing but also make you stand out from the throng of restaurants out there.
Having vibrant descriptions that are crisp and concise yet intriguing enough for customers to order these items is how it should be done. Make sure that your descriptions are not too long or you could fatigue your customers even before they can order from your restaurant.
Integrate Your Menu for Convenience
In the current day, customers make buying decisions based on convenience. And not giving customers a convenient and seamless experience is bound to become a total failure to launch for your restaurant.
One of the things you can do to chalk out a convenient journey for your customers is integrating your menu on your online ordering platform. This is the most plain and simple way for you to get in the good books of your customers and satiate their desire for convenience and ease of use.
Lyve Order is equipped with a digital storefront that is completely customizable and allows you to sell smart to your customers.
Easy Online Menu Setup and Integration
With Lyve Order, you get the right set of tools to easily set up your online menu and ordering platform with utmost convenience and flexibility. You can add discounts, loyalty points, integrate ordering for delivery, takeout or dine-in. It’s a fully-integrated ecosystem that helps you establish your online store and streamline processes, from ordering till the fulfillment of the order.
Even when we talk about convenience from a marketing stance – to get more customers, orders and in turn sales, marketing your menu by plugging it into your online ordering is an absolute necessity. Having a fully-functional online ordering system that can facilitate this is a must when it comes to using your menu as a marketing tool.
Online ordering menus created with Lyve Order can be easily plugged into your existing channels such as websites, Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, Whatsapp and more so you can get direct orders from wherever your audience is present. This will boost your orders and direct orders without the implication of commissions which means larger profit margins for your restaurant business.
Making the Most of Your Menu Marketing
In the digital era, restaurants are faced with unprecedented challenges that can be solved with menu marketing. Menus can now potentially morph how your restaurant business operates, as well as serve customers, and tend to their needs and demands. While this may significantly improve how you market your restaurant to customers, making sure that it works for you in the long run is a challenge that most restaurants stumble upon.
At Lyve Order, a lot of restaurants that work with us, approach us as they are not sure how to leverage the online menu to their advantage. We’re always eager to successfully arm restaurants with all the essential tools in their artillery to prosper. By showing them exactly how to attain their business goals with the mastery of menu marketing, we have helped several brands elevate their brand engagement and write their own success story!