Online Menus: Making Menus as Enticing as the Food You’re Selling
In today’s world, now more than ever it’s important to put key information in the hands of your customers, both internal and external. This is especially true when it comes to food. If you’re interested in trying a new restaurant or café what is the first thing you do? If you’re like most people you will immediately open your favorite web browser or app to see what you can learn about the establishment and their offerings. Visibility is something that can be the difference between keeping your business in-house or losing it to your competition.
Online menus are on the rise, and for good reason. The adoption rate for digital browsing and ordering has increased year over year at rates much higher than what was predicted 5+ years ago. People all over the world are choosing time savings and convenience wherever it’s an option, and especially when it comes to meals and retail.
Here are some things to think about when presenting food and meal information online:
Which grilled cheese sandwich name sounds better? “Grilled Cheese” or “Warm, Grilled Aged-Cheddar on Homemade Bread”? The latter name paints a picture of a delicious lunch you might’ve eaten in your youth, though it’s clearly just a grilled cheese sandwich. You might think that this kind of marketing is a matter of opinion, or even silly. In fact it capitalizes on emotional triggers that subconsciously lead consumers in one direction over another. If it were me, I’d opt for the superfluously named “Warm, Grilled Aged Cheddar on Homemade Bread” over the generic-sounding “Grilled Cheese”. Don’t be afraid to market the meal. You work hard to make sure your grilled cheese is served fresh and warm, so don’t hesitate to show off a little. Consider this when thinking of a longer description of the product as well. If your ingredients are sourced locally, fresh, healthy, and/or homemade, emphasize that in the description! This will help your audience connect with your offerings.
Make sure you organize your products into easy-to-use groupings on your menus. Would you look for a burger in a sandwich group or would you rather see it in its own category? This can be personal preference of course, and it might depend on how many different burgers you offer. Depending on your offerings, I would also consider a Hand-Held or Eaten-by-Hand category. These are good options depending on the size of your menu. Another common scenario is Hot Beverages, Cold Beverages or All Beverages. Coffee is among the most popular beverages in the world and might deserve its own home on your menu. There are numerous ways to organize your menu, you may change it several times through trial and error.
Make sure you have a plan for nutrient and ingredient analysis. Your customers should be confident that these listings are accurate and up-to-date as well. If your Greek Salad has black olives in it, make sure that information is communicated clearly on your menu. Americans in particular have seen a marked drop in productivity due to the time spent picking unwanted ingredients out of their food. Okay, that’s probably an exaggeration, but boy can it be annoying! A lot of people are starting to keep a really close eye on the nutrients they consume on a daily basis. Make sure to disclose this information clearly so your customers can make informed decisions when viewing or ordering from your menu. Some may pass completely over your offerings if they don’t know what’s in them, and instead go elsewhere where the nutrients are published. This can happen even if your food is more nutritious than the competition’s.
Take Feedback and Have Fun
Listen to your staff and customers. Don’t be afraid to make incremental menu changes in order to make people happy. If you’ve applied the right strategy to the project, this won’t make people mad. This, in fact, will reassure them that you’re listening. Online offerings should be an evolution, not a static list that becomes boring and underutilized.
Trust the skills that have put you in a position to be great food ambassadors and remember that if you need help, Computrition is just a call, click or email away.
Article by: Tom Blackmer - SuitePoint! Point-of-Sale Product Manager; Fusion, 1st Quarter, 2018