The Menu to Success

Many of the independent bar and restaurant owners I work with are surprised to learn that they can significantly increase sales by reformatting and simplifying their menu.

Because the fact of the matter is, a menu that is too long, massive, hard to read or that contains too many selections can cause a customer to feel overwhelmed. When that happens, your sales are going to decrease, and that’s when a hospitality business can find itself in big trouble.

If your menu leaves a lot to be desired, here are some useful tips that can help you re-engineer your offerings to boost sales and get the reactions you want.

Taffer Menu Design

Menu Design: If you run a bar, your menu shouldn’t be any bigger than a standard piece of paper. If your customers are sitting at a larger table – say, in your dining room – a plus-sized menu is perfectly fine. Keep the design straightforward by using 3-4  fonts to differentiate section headings. When it comes to color, make sure it doesn’t interfere with readability. The print should always contrast sharply with whatever background color you choose.

Box Items and Use a Drop Shadow to Boost Sales: Placing a box around your more profitable items can increase their sales by up to 20%. Using a drop shadow can increase an item’s sales by up to 14%.

Price Point:  There is little discernable difference in a customer’s eyes between an item priced at $5.50 and one priced at $5.95. By raising the price, you’ve just improved your sales by $.45 for every item sold. However, increasing an item from $5.95 to $6.00 will cause a negative reaction, and you’ve only raised the price by a nickel.

Beverages and Cocktails

Know Your Market: A drink’s name could mean EVERYTHING depending on your market. I had a test-tube shot called a “tooter” that would sell like crazy on the East coast, but I couldn’t move that same drink for the life of me on the West coast. By simply changing the name from Blue Hawaii to Blue Death, I sold 900 in a single night. Understand your market and name your drinks accordingly to find that sweet spot your audience responds to.

Signature Drinks with Special Garnishes: Not only are you encouraged to come up with fancy names for your drinks, but you can also put them in unique glassware to increase their appeal. But don’t stop there. Special garnishes like jellybeans, gummy worms, malted milk balls and marinated cherries can go a long way towards getting customers excited about your one-of-a-kind house drinks.

Upselling by Size: You can increase your bar tabs considerably by offering wine in two types of glasses, beers in tall glasses or soft drinks by the bottle (instead of offering free refills). Customers will typically order the larger offering, especially if you put ‘Best Value’ right on the menu.

When it comes to designing your menu, experiment with what your customers like, but always remember that effective menus are designed with science in mind. These tips should help you find the perfect design that helps to draw the eye, push your more profitable offerings and give your revenues a major boost