2011 Number One Resolution: Update Your Menu

2011 Number One Resolution: Update Your Menu
By Tamara Catron-Vice President Uniguest

So 2010 has closed its doors and as a restaurant owner or manager you breathe a sigh of relief to have made it through 2010, the holiday season, and you look forward to starting the New Year. You think about what you want to accomplish for 2011, the new equipment needed to help improve your restaurant, staffing issues that might need to be handled, promotions to run in 2011 to capture new customers and you continue to build your list of To-Do’s. However, if on that list you don’t have updating you menu as one of the first things you need to do for the New Year, you literally are leaving money on your table!

According to restaurant consultants interviewed by Restaurants USA a menu redesign can improve sales an average of 2-10 percent. For a restaurant operation that brings in one million a year… that could be an additional $20,000 to $100,000 a year! Made you stop and think didn’t it? If you put your menu redesign at the top of your 2011 To-Do list, just think of the extra dollars you could bring in for those restaurant improvements or other items on your list. Remember again, it can help increase your restaurant sales an average of 2-10 percent! There are few things that could give you such a great rate of return on your investment.

Now you ask yourself, “How do I know my menu is in need of a redesign?” Here are a few quick questions for you to review to see if it is time for that menu redesign:
1. A menu should be updated every six months and absolutely every year. How long has it been since you have updated your menu?
2. Your menu helps define who you are. Does your menu communicate your brand, your signature?
3. Does your menu tell your customer what you want them to buy? If you think customers decide on their own what to order, think again! 70% of restaurant decisions are made at the point of purchase by your customers!
4. Does the font on your menu, the size of the print, boxes, shading and item placement help drive your customers to your most profitable items?
5. Do you know what the most profitable items are on your menu and then place them according to how your customers read your menu? Your customers do not read a menu front to back….they scan and follow a certain eye flow pattern depending on the number of menu pages.
6. Do you… tuck your prices into the paragraph, never use a dotted line to your price (………$7.97), and make sure there are no dollar signs on your prices?

7. Have you absorbed increased food costs into price changes on your menu? I can’t tell you how many restaurant owners I work with tell me their food costs have increased only to find out it has been a year or more that they have done any changes to their menu or pricing.

If any of those questions above applied to you it is time for you to redo your menu. Your menu is your restaurants internal billboard. It is the first thing your customer knows about your restaurant and guides them to experiencing your menu. It is also one of the most overlooked restaurant items that can help increase your restaurants profitability.

So as you finalize your list for your restaurant for 2011, don’t forget to put a menu redesign down on top of your list. Otherwise, you are leaving dollars on the table instead of putting them back into your restaurant.

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