Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, your restaurant may have had an extensive menu selection as a means to stay innovative and stand-out from competitors. However, once the pandemic struck, the restaurant industry took a big hit. If your restaurant was one of the lucky ones, you probably stayed open for takeout and delivery. With takeout and delivery comes shorter menus with core dishes that are easy to execute.
Now that states are reopening, restaurants are beginning to open for dine-in at low-capacity. With proper reopening comes action items. These include social distancing techniques, new cleaning procedures, and lastly, menu changes.
It’s important to prioritize your customers’ health and safety. Increasing your cleaning procedures and sanitation efforts are critical. Think of innovative ways to decrease contact points, minimize time spent in the restaurant, and, overall, protect your customers’ well-being.
Changing your restaurant menu may not have been on your mind before. However, with these new innovative techniques, you may be pushing menu changes to the top of your list.
Digital Contactless Menus
Menus are one of the most frequently touched items in your restaurant, and can easily pass germs. Additionally, the usage of menus increases direct contact between wait staff and customers. To minimize the contact between staff and customers, while also eliminating frequently touched menus, consider digital contactless menus.
NextGuest launched a restaurant technology platform called FleXi Contactless Menu. The platform enables restaurants and bars to provide customers with contactless menus that they can access from their phones.
The process is seamless, as customers can simply text a code to a phone number or scan a QR code provided at the table. This product eliminates the use of germ-carrying menus and benefits restaurants by enabling them to update menus more efficiently.
Reduce Menu Offerings
You may be hesitant to reduce your menu offerings, especially because your unique and extensive menu helps you stand out. However, you must consider the “new normal” post-COVID, as well as the labor challenges you may encounter.
When sticking to core menu items, execution is smoother, requiring less staff and more time to prioritize health and safety. Instead of completely erasing innovative menu items, use them as daily specials. However, if there is an item on your menu with ingredients only used for that dish, it would be wise to remove it altogether.
Streamlining your menu saves time, money, and convenience, and also frees up time for more necessary actions such as improving the health and safety procedures in your restaurant.
Consider More Plant-Based or Seafood Dishes
The disruption in the nation’s meat supply is causing the price of meat to rise. To save money and avoid raising menu prices, try adding more plant-based or seafood dishes to your menu.
Although you don’t have to remove meat from your menu altogether, maybe add smaller meat portions to the dish with a more substantial portion of innovative plant-based sides.
Another thing to consider is that restaurant diners may seek out healthier options after being in lock-down for months. If you didn’t have healthy options before, consider adding at least a few now.
Although menu changes and simplifications aren’t exactly ideal, it’s crucial to prioritize the health and safety of your guests. Utilizing contactless menus, narrowing down your menu items, and adding healthier low-cost dishes will help your restaurant in the long run. Once your restaurant bounces back, and the economy stabilizes, you can reassess your menu with new brand innovations.