You might have noticed in recent years McDonald’s has been tinkering with it’s menu; adding numerous limited time offers, introducing wings and so on. In doing so it angered Franchisees and alienated some customers who took their fast food money elsewhere. Even Tim Fenton, McDonald’s Chief Operating Officer confessed, “ we need to do fewer products with better execution”.
Over the years menu sections and pages have been greatly reduced by many eateries because it is found that 60 percent to 70 percent of their sales comes from fewer than 17-25 menu items. So it does not make sense to have hundreds of different choices. This will help not only to shorten your order-taking time but also reduce inventory, purchases & waste but also having fresh produce for the dishes.
If your eatery has lost customers and not making profit then you have to re-establish that trust and it has to start from marketing and a new/revised menu.
I think if the menu is overly complex start by reducing it, as it will be easier to target the customers by the marketing department and save other costs.
Simplifying the menu with certain classics depending on the (location & customer base) can help to concentrate (on existing ones) and to develop new items across the chain/brands while improve the menu sales mix and its monitoring.
Gallup survey reported that most customers would spend an average of 109 seconds reading a menu. This is the time limit you have to get your message across to them in the most effective manner.
As a result you might have to rethink the menu design psychology techniques if required and I will mention a few here and after the changes made you can see the impact on the sales mix.
Eye Magnet Techniques:
Start with the Eye Magnet Technique and the Sweet Spot on the menu is normally upper right corner where customers concentrate. For illustrative purposes try using photo of the dish, graphic illustration of any other attentions grabber like bold words etc.Use multiple eye magnets for different dishes but don’t over do it and use one per category in the menu or two at the most.
Proper Coloring & Pictures:
Proper Coloring should be used to emphasis its importance as people do tend to respond to colors in emotional ways.Make sure that pictures have to be appealing to customers by having the right ingredients, color; texture of dish, presentation and if it is then customers will buy it.
Use of Proper Descriptive Language:
Your dish should have sensory descriptors such as succulent, tender, juicy, spicy or fresh etc. Imagine if you reading a menu “beef fillet vs. succulent beef fillet”, which one you are likely to order?
But remember to keep the descriptions brief and to the point and relevant.
You can also add evoking terms like traditional, local ingredients etc., to increase the likelihood of that dish being ordered. If you have many restaurants and operate in foreign territories then you can add descriptions of that geographic location like produced from local ingredients or famous dish of certain area.
With help of managers & waiters/servers you can assess each restaurants/brands percentage of sales for the no of items sold from the menu and as a result cut on the items in the menu that have either less percentage of sales in the menu or no sales at all.
I am a strong believer that managers & waiters/servers can help and better sell any dish let alone the specials and signature dishes or the new promotions by treating each customer individually and differently with great customer service. This can act as an advantage for the brand and increase the average spend. These menu items can also be hyped by servers when asked to recommend a dish by a guest as such items should be the ones with the highest gross profit, lowest food costs and help achieve the average check needed to return the desired sales and profit.