Your menu is closely tied to your restaurant’s identity.
If you own a pub, then you probably have pub staples and comfort food items on your menu because this is what people expect to see.
Regardless of the eatery, your dishes play an important part in how you’re perceived and the niche you fill.
When a restaurant first opens, there is typically some experimentation that happens early on with their menu. But once they determine who their target customer is and what they want, they tend to settle into a groove and introduce new menu items only occasionally.
But circumstances change, and so do people. Here’s how restaurants are reimagining their menus.
Serving The Health-Conscious Market
More and more people are looking for healthy alternatives to the comfort, snack, and fast foods of yesteryear.
Some are vegetarians or vegans. Others are gluten or lactose intolerant. Plus, some want to lose weight or avoid illness.
A larger number of restaurants are beginning to acknowledge the significance of this change in attitude and approach towards food. If vegetarians and vegans can’t eat at your restaurant, even if they visit once, they aren’t likely to come back. The same can certainly be said for those with allergies.
Even fast food joints are beginning to offer healthy alternatives to the standard burger-and-fries fare. So, if your dishes aren’t tailored towards the health conscious, it may be beneficial to offer options for those who can’t or won’t eat less healthy dishes.
Menus On Touchscreens Or iPads
At many fast food restaurants, menus have transitioned from traditional signage to large HD screens. Some restaurants have adopted iPads or other touchscreens to allow customers to view the menu from their table, and even order without having to speak with a server.
Starbucks’ app allows you to order your drink before you even arrive, and claim additional exclusive perks. Not bad when you’re usually in a rush, right?
The use of technology continues to rise in restaurant environments. It allows for greater efficiency, and a more tailored experience for the guest because they get to choose their experience. But this doesn’t mean the experience is more personal, and that may become a point of contention in the future.
For the time being, people want to see the tech they know and love implemented into restaurants, and it makes the experience more addicting.
Social Media Ordering
Most restaurants have come to recognize the importance of social media. And while social media represents an opportunity for building a community and interacting with followers, monetization is also becoming a greater priority. Businesses want to see ROI from social media.
Social media ordering is already here, and it’s a growing trend among tech-oriented restaurants.
When selling on social media, it’s important to consider what your customers know you for. A streamlined menu system should offer customers fast access to your most common and best-selling menu items. People’s attention spans are short, and they aren’t likely to hang around on your Facebook page for hours without good reason.
Keeping it simple allows your guests to get what they want without having to click many times to checkout or navigate through a confusing checkout system.
It’s not hard to see how powerful social media ordering could be, and already is, combined with the move towards mobile devices.
It’s common practice for restaurants to keep top sellers and rotate out low-performing dishes.
While some chefs and restaurants resent having to make the same burger or bowl of ramen every time a guest pays a visit, you must hold on to your highest performing menu dishes, or you could end up losing your footing as a business, even if temporarily.
To generate revenue, you need to be sufficiently diversified. And you must experiment to appeal to new markets. But hold onto your reputation, because you can always build on it, but repairing it after making a mistake can be an uphill battle.