New Year Resolutions Means New Menu Items
When, why and how you should change menu items to attract business
Resolve to Make Your Menu Better!
‘Tis the time of last-minute gym membership renewals, nicotine patches and fad diets. A new year means a new beginning and new resolutions. With the mindset of the average restaurant customer likely to be altered during the start of the year, restaurants need to make their own new year's resolution and change their menus to reflect the changes in their customers. In this article, we’ll take a look at the type of menu changes a restaurant can make, how menu changes can be done easily and why they are necessary to attract business.
What Kinds of Menu Changes Exist?
1. New Menu Item Additions
If your menu is a little bare-bones or in need of new life, there’s nothing quite like making valuable new additions. This type of menu change is solely to add a bit of intrigue and interest rather than to serve as a total overhaul of a menu.
2. Total Menu overhaul
Speaking of total menu overhaul, if you find that your menu isn’t drawing attention from customers or isn’t as profitable as you hoped, you can opt for a total shake-up. This involves chucking every (or almost every) dish from the old menu in the bin and starting from scratch. This type of menu change will help to totally redefine your restaurant, so it should only be undertaken if your menu is really failing to meet expectations.
3. Menu Item Switches
Switching out old items for new ones is a way to ensure your menu doesn’t grow in size, but rather gets rid of poor-sellers or economically unviable items and replaces them for something better. Again, this is the type of menu change that is designed to add a little splash of excitement while also helping with profitability.
This is a little trick that involves no actual changes to menu items, but rather a total overhaul of the menu presentation. Rather than changing the menu items, themselves, revamps change food descriptions, pictures and the overall design to add a touch of dynamism and class to your menu.
All the above types of menu changes can be accomplished much easier with a PhotoMenu (e-Menu) since descriptions, pictures and items can be changed on the fly and across all restaurants from one location.
Reasons for Menu Changes
1. Based on Your CRM Reports
Your POS (point of sale) should have a CRM (customer relationship management) module that allows you to view important statistics like how often a menu item sells, how popular it is and which seasons it sells best in. By using this type of data, you can discover which menu items are your best-sellers, and which items are dragging your business down. For example, if you stock up on ingredients to make an item that simply doesn’t sell, the cost of those ingredients will never be recovered (unless they can be used in a different dish) and this will bleed the company money.
2. Your Menu is Not Profitable
In a similar vein, if it’s not just a few items that are losing money, but your entire menu, then it might be time to opt for a total menu overhaul. Though it’s always good to have CRM and accounting data to point you in the right direction, if your menu isn’t profitable, the signs should be obvious even without having to analyze data.
3. Meet Market Trends
Having a stagnant menu means you aren’t moving with the times. There are always new trends that come into play as the times progress. As we’re right at the start of 2022, this is the season of new year resolutions, which means it might be prudent to sell items that play in on this period of time. With people looking to stick to resolutions and eat better, it stands to reason that your restaurant should offer healthier options to cater to these people who are trying their best to stick to their new year goals.
4. Boost Image and Attract Customers
As your restaurant grows and develops its image, your old menu may not reflect the prestige that your restaurant may have acquired. This is also another reason to revamp your menu and ensure that it meets the standards that your customers expect of your restaurant.
When is it Profitable Change Your Menu?
You may be surprised to hear that there is, indeed, such a thing as changing your menu too much. Your menu serves as a strong pillar of your restaurant’s image and how customers define and experience it. When deciding on menu changes, they should only be undertaken if there is a valid reason - and even then, if you are going to see valuable gains from it. Seasonal menus can be presented in addition to your traditional menu, and adding trendy items can be a great way to add excitement and intrigue. But at the end of the day, if your menu is profitable, there is no reason to remove top-sellers. Below are some general tips to consider when deciding how often to change your menu:
- Do not remove popular / profitable items
- Seasonal promotions are a great way to keep with trends without altering your original menu
- Always alert customers when dishes are being replaced or new ones are being added
- Test out new dishes with promotions. If they are not successful, do not keep pushing them on customers
- Keep your restaurant theme and identity consistent throughout all dishes
Top Tactics to Make Successful Menu Changes
1. Use PhotoMenus
PhotoMenus (e-Menus), as mentioned previously, are one of the most efficient methods of implementing menu changes. Not only do they save a ton of paper and ink, but they also allow for menu changes to be implemented seamlessly across all other PhotoMenus. Not to mention, the changes will also be reflected directly to your POS, so your wait staff won’t forget about the new menu changes.
PhotoMenus also let customers have a more interactive experience as they can see high resolution pictures, explore detailed descriptions and learn more about items that interest them.
2. Use Digital signage
If you’re running a fast food restaurant, digital signage is one of the most eye-catching ways to engage with waiting customers. Why not pop a few of your new menu items on your digital signage to drum up interest? Things like a Queue Ticket Kiosk, e-Signage and even a Customer Facing Display could serve as great advertising tools for your new menu.
3. Social Media Promotions
Engage with your online following and let them know that you’re doing something really special for them. As long as people are aware that you’re trying to push the envelope and improve your menu, you will definitely gain interest. You can even encourage customers to leave positive reviews and offer them freebies as encouragement.
Change Your Menu With Confidence
Now that you have the information and tips at your disposal, you should be able to change your menu confidently and with great results. Just remember how, where and why you should change your menu so that the end results boost your business performance!