Menu Engineering 101

As we mentioned in our previous post, Menu Engineering or Menu Psychology is essential to maximizing your restaurant’s profitability. With a well-designed menu you can subconsciously encourage customers to buy what you want them to buy and discourage the purchase of menu items you don’t want them to buy.

Menu Engineering

According to Must Have Menus, some of the key factors to consider when designing your menu are selecting the right spotlight dishes and having a savvy layout.

Selecting Spotlight Dishes
These are some of the things you should consider when selecting spotlight dishes from your menu:
– Current menu trends: For example, if the current trend is gluten-free foods, introduce gluten-free items on your menu.

– Seasonal hits: Highlight dishes made with seasonal produce.

– Holiday favorites: Introduce holiday-inspired dishes during the appropriate seasons.

– Signature dishes: Place your signature dishes in prime spots. People will come in looking for them, so finding them on your menu should be easy.

– Customer Favorites: Know which dishes sell best and which would be risky to change. These can be easily and quickly identified using

– Inventory: You have inventory that needs to be move out of the door? Promote these menu items in an appealing way.

Savvy Layout
Follow these tried and true techniques:
– Consumer Psychology: Research has shown that most people look first at the menu’s top right corner, so this is the best place to list your most popular items. Next, consumer’s eyes will drift down to the menu’s middle section so this is where you should place your expensive items.

– Item Organization and Order: One common way to categorize dishes is by the order that people eat them (Breakfast, Starters, Salads/Soups, Lunch and Dinner). Other organizing principles include by ingredient (pasta dishes, chicken dishes, beef dishes, etc.), by cooking style (from the grill) or by region (Mexican, Salvadorian, ethnic cuisine).

– Highlighting: Highlight menu items that need or deserve extra attention. Use eye-catching graphics for Chef’s Specials or New Items. Use special call outs, boxes, borders and other graphics to showcase your best dishes.

– Color Scheme: The color scheme of your menu should reflect the theme of your restaurant and your brand. Make sure to choose colors that compliment your theme. For example, for a French restaurant menu choose classic black and white, and for a Mexican menu choose brighter colors.

Is your menu well-designed? We’d love to hear what Menu Engineering techniques your restaurant uses so leave us a comment below!

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