The Science behind Creating Menus

28 Jan, 2014 |


Once you have won the fight for customer attention, and have people coming through your door, the next challenge is to win them over and order the higher profit menu items.  Industry experts have spent a long time trying to crack the code to consumer behavior, and have found that there is in fact a science behind menu selection. Researchers have found, based on the way your eye moves down menu, restaurateurs can subconsciously direct customers to order the most profitable items. Think of your menu as the restaurant’s résumé and most important marketing tool that you have to entice customers to buy. Below are some great tips to creating awesome menus:

When patrons look at a menu, their eyes automatically move in a crisscross pattern. Starting with the upper right hand corner, customers typically move from top right to bottom left. These are some of the prime locations for your most profitable items, followed by the top left and bottom right corners.  Highlighting items with symbols also directs the eye to those particular items, however there must be a balance. Be cautious to not add too many highlighted items, as the eye can be easily confused and difficult to distinguish top menu choices. Pictures can also be powerful on menus; however before adding images to the menu, consider the pros and cons associated with images. Remember, you want your menu to be easy to read and not overly crowded.

Another tip to make your menu great is to take your highest priced items and surround them with lower priced menu options. The close proximity will make the other menu items appear to be a good deal, and let’s face it, everyone likes to think they are getting a deal. When creating your menu, avoid a column structure, as it makes it easier for your customers to scan through the list of menu items and easily pick the most inexpensive and lowest profit items. Another way to avoid customers only gravitating toward the lower profit items on your menu is to remove the dollar sign, as well as putting the cost in a smaller font.

The way you list your menu items under headings can make a big difference in how your menu is perceived by your customers. For instance, instead of listing your Vegetarian menu items under a Vegetarian heading, list those items as meatless. Vegetarian can still easily find the items that they want, without turning off other non- Vegetarian items. Small tweaks to your current menu can quickly increase your profits.

Finally, with any menu creation you want to ensure that all employees you have scheduled during each shift are well versed, and have tried most, if not all of the items on your menu. Customers who are new to your restaurant may ask what the best items are, or even to ask about the ingredients in the dish. When you use What Time Do I you are able to schedule employees to show up earlier for their shifts, and each day review the menu, try out the specials, and be ready and confident when asked questions.

What Time Do I is web based scheduling software designed to create conflict free employee schedules the first time. Employees can enter their own availabilities or requests for time off, and they are automatically stored in the program. When creating your workforce schedules, you are automatically alerted to overtime and scheduling conflicts. A special feature of the software allows you to enter in specific times and tasks that you want each employee to be responsible for. Try it for 30 days free.