You probably think this post is going to be about what you should be putting on your menu. It is and it isn’t.
It is not about what items you should be putting on your menu, but rather, how they should appear on the menu.
Spell everything correctly
I know. It seems obvious. You would be shocked at how many times I go out and find mistakes on menus and on special boards. Sure, I make mistakes all of the time on this blog. But then again, I am not charging $30 for you to read it, not to mention the fact that I don’t have the luxury of having someone proof-read these things–you do! At least you should.
I used to work at a place that changed the menu every week. A great idea. Especially here in Oregon where everything is about what food is in season. But, the person who changed the menu often could not be bothered to have someone look it over.
You must check it
I would always tell this person to make sure to let me (or someone) take a peek at it to catch any possible mistakes before having it printed. It was sometimes not convenient for her, and she would just go get it printed anyway. That is a problem when you spend all of this money getting it copied, and then you find the mistakes, and you now don’t have a proper menu to give to your guests.
You can’t charge $30 for food and have mistakes on the menu. I went out with my wife for dinner at a very upscale place in Palm Springs. On the menu we found a couple of abuses of the apostrophe. It bothered me, but my wife, always the more forgiving one, said, “Maybe they didn’t have anyone available to look over the menu…” To which I replied, ” If they are charging $34 for an entree, they can afford to hire someone to proof-read their menus.”
Have another pair of eyes check it. Customers are very critical. If they find these kinds of mistakes on the menu, they will start looking for other problems in your restaurant. And they will find them. Suddenly they are noticing other things like cobwebs on the ceiling, bread crumbs on the banquette, dust balls on the floor, smudged windows, food taking too long…you get the picture.
That enough should be a great motivator.
Other menu ideas
Put your highest margin items–those with the lowest food costs–on the top or the bottom of the menu. These items are usually not your most expensive items, but rather those that yield you the most profit. Most customers often can not be bothered to look at the whole menu and will be more likely to order those things.
Also, make use of white space. Don’t crowd everything all over the place. Use a good, readable font. With dark lettering, and sufficient contrast to the color of the menu. Use text boxes when appropriate to draw attention to special things.
Why make it hard to read?
I went out with my wife and another couple for dinner, but was savvy and checked out the menu online first. We arrived at the dimly lit restaurant, were handed menus with small, light font, and were expected to find the yummier items. Everyone pulled out their glasses to read and order–except me.
They struggled to read the menu, but since I memorized it before getting to the restaurant, I was okay. However, my point is that we want everyone to be able to see all of the delightful food you have to offer, not just the young people with eagle eye sight. Besides, older people are the ones with the money…