Restaurant Menus: What Not To Do!

1. Don’t make your menu look like a price list

If your menu lists all your items on one side of the page with a line of dots connecting each item to its price, you are inviting your customers to order their food based on how much everything costs. This type of menu allows customers to compare prices on all your menu items, thus unintentionally highlighting all your lower-priced items. Instead, embed the price into the description of your menu item. Don’t highlight it, or make it another colour. Bottom line, you don’t want to attract attention to the price.

2. Don’t use a menu that is out of date

Don’t use the same menu that you have had in your restaurant for the past 10 years. Update your menu regularly, preferably to fit the different seasons featuring fresh foods. Keep all your signature dishes and customer favourites, but take the opportunity to try out new menu items by first offering them as appetizers. If they get good reviews, then make it an entree on your next menu revision. You can also offer daily specials. Consider adding the specials that received the best feedback onto the menu permanently.

3. Don’t put too many items on the menu

Your menu should not read like a book. One of the biggest mistakes that restaurant and food service owners and operators make is to try to put too many items on the menu to try to please everyone. Too much choice will confuse your customers, and turn their dining experience into a frustrating one, as well as drive up your food costs.

4. Don’t forget your brand

Make sure that your restaurant’s brand and logo appear frequently on your menu, and that the menu is cohesive with the rest of your operation including decor, uniforms, other promotional materials, etc.

5. Don’t overcharge

Ensure that the prices you charge are competitive with other restaurants in your area. It’s better to raise your drink prices and lower your food prices if you want to attract more customers, as they are more likely to scrutinize the cost of the food rather than the beverages. However, don’t make your food so cheap that you don’t earn a profit on it. Customers are looking for good value rather than cheap food.

6. Don’t cram everything onto the menu

Have separate menus for your drinks and desserts. These items can get lost in your main menu, but will attract more attention on their own — especially with photos.

7. Don’t do it all yourself

If you think your menu could be better, consider hiring a consultant to look it over. Sometimes, a few simple changes to a menu could make you thousands of dollars more in profits.