Is Your Menu Ready?
4 Tips to Make Your Menu Sales-Friendly
Your menu matters. Whether you run a concession stand, food truck, café, or another foodservice venue, you want your menu to make a positive first impression on customers. Plus, you want it to encourage sales. As you create your menu, realize that it is more than just a list. A well-planned menu is a tool that will benefit your business.
Some menus can come across as messy or confusing. If it doesn’t follow your customers’ thought process, it can actually discourage sales. Structuring your menu by category is one option. It makes it easy for guests to see similar items grouped together. At a concession stand, for example, you may push salty snack foods like popcorn and chips in one group and sweets and candy in another. You also can choose to make a category of best-sellers or signature dishes to bring attention to specific items. If customers standing in line have to squint to read your menu board, that’s not a good sign. So, make sure it is easily readable with large, legible text. And don’t forget to proofread so there are no typos!
It’s a Numbers Game
A menu that’s too long can be overwhelming. While a menu that’s too brief may steer guests away. Finding the balance is key. (Check out this article about Concession Food Choices.) A good place to start is to serve items that can be complementary. For example, you can pair nacho cheese with nacho chips, hot pretzels, and even hot dogs. Don’t have too many items that are prep heavy. Instead, make sure you have a good balance of foods that are already prepared or require less labor-intensive processes. A final tip is to be aware of what items are performing well versus those that are not. By tracking your sales, you can fine-tune your menu to meet your customers’ expectations.
Explore Your Options
Size it up or down! Offering multiple sizes can really work to your menu’s advantage. You don’t have to add to your inventory, but your guests have more options. Larger sizes of foods like popcorn can seem like a greater value to customers when priced right. (See the Popcorn Pricing Strategy section of this article for more details.) Plus, it is fun to see the reactions to a jumbo-sized bag of cotton candy! This strategy also can work well in the opposite direction when offering smaller portion sizes on a kids’ menu for example. Additionally, you can look at ways to enhance your existing selections with toppings or dips. For instance, customers will love choosing between nacho cheese, mustard, or icing for their hot pretzels.
Go beyond your standard menu with these ideas. If you’re promoting something new, don’t be shy. Put up signage, hand out samples, or offer coupons as a means to drive more sales. Combos are another way to capture more customers. Give guests a package deal on a drink, hot dog, and popcorn sold together. Seasonal items allow you to offer variety without committing long-term. It adds intrigue by giving customers something special they can’t get year-round.
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