Your Distributor Has Never Loved You (Sure, They Love Your Money, But Not You).

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Don’t take it personally, but your relationship with your restaurant foodservice distributor is not as good as you think it is. Which can be pretty bad, especially if you, like most restaurant operators, have only a lukewarm relationship with your foodservice distributor to begin with.

Your restaurant distributor is interested in your money, however, and they are really good at getting it. They have a lot of really clever ways of manipulating your business for their best interests. Sadly, not all of those interests are inline with yours.

What you need most in your business is an objective viewpoint. You need a marketing partner that can look at your sales, analyze your margins and come up with a better restaurant menu marketing plan than you’ve ever had before.

Call HotOperator now at 800-316-3198, or contact the restaurant marketing experts through their website here, before you are lead down the wrong path any further.

4 Things That May Surprise You About Restaurant Menu Product Prices


1 – Pricing Is A Strategy. Not all prices on a restaurant menu are equal. Certain restaurant menu price points have an effect on human behavior, and other don’t Knowing which price points matter most has a huge impact on how much money you will make. The food business is a pennies business. If you are able to attract and extra 50¢ on each item you sell to each customers who walks through your doors, you’re in a position to make a lot more money in the long run.


2 – Menu Price Focalism Is Important. Anchoring your guests on items that make other items seem less expensive works better than you give it credit for. And working with people who understand the psychology of menu price points and how to help your guests think less about what they are spending and more about the quality of what they are ordering will pay dividends in higher plate contributions and higher check averages.


3 – Ending prices in 5 or 9 doesn’t matter as much to your guests as it does to you. In fact, restaurant consumers don’t even think about the price endings. So if you want the 4¢ from each sale, take it. Nobody will care.


4 – No Dollar Signs. They make people subconsciously more sensitive TO prices. Just leave them off all together. It will help your customers focus on the things that are important rather than that they’re spending money.

Why Restaurant Buzz Is Important And How To Get It

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Two people are talking on the phone and one says to the other: “Hey, let’s meet for lunch.”

The other person says: “OK, where do you want to go?”

The answer to this question has as much to do about your immediate buzz as it does about what they are hungry for minus what they had to eat a few days before (the fact is no matter how much buzz you have, if you specialize in burgers or pizza and they just had that a day or two ago, it is unlikely they will settle on a pizza or burger place).

But everything else being equal, you’re more likely to attract a crowd if you are enjoying a high level of buzz. And buzz goes up when your marketing is coordinated.

It also has a lot to do with the types of offers you promote. Olive Garden does well on the Buzz-O-Meter but they also do well with their restaurant promotions. In fact their restaurant social media is not drilled down to the local level well at all (which leaves a great deal of opportunity open to them). But they do offer a lot of food for the money. Unlimited pasta promotions, endless breadsticks and salad, specials and money savings that keep people talking.

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 11.37.46 AMHotOperator has been coordinating restaurant social media and restaurant classic marketing for many years.

In that time it has been my experience that most restaurant operators do not know how important their restaurant marketing is, nor how powerful it can be if it is well orchestrated. Instead of having a concentrated, long-term effort, most restaurant operators waste way too much time working on short-term projects that are not executed well and never get the time they need to be effective.

Then every so often a emerging chain restaurant or a high volume independent restaurant operator will call me and tell me that they are looking for a plan that will help them get their brand and business to the next level. They want to create buzz for their concept and they want to know what it will take to build a better marketing plan over time. And that’s when real marketing magic can happen.

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 11.39.15 AMIf you’re ready to try something more coordinated and planned for your emerging brand, reach out to HotOperator. With over 30 years of marketing experience, we can help you grow your business and get you some maximum buzz. If not we'll say a little prayer for you.

Call 800-316-3198 X301 Now!

We can help you take your brand to the next level and offer restaurant marketing advice that's based on 30 years of experience with some of the most respected names in the food service industry.

Does Restaurant Advertising Work? Does Restaurant Menu Engineering Work?

The question of menu engineering is the same question surrounding advertising in general: Does it work?

The answer to this question is much easier to ask than it is to answer. And the answers are varied depending on what it is you’re advertising and to whom you are directing your advertising.

But here are a couple of important points to remember from studies that have been done over the years on advertising. According to Kaul and Wittink (UCLA School Of Management), 1995, price advertising increases price sensitivity and leads to lower prices, which explains the price lists effect on menu items and relative check totals dropping as a direct result of leading a menu with a price; conversely, point-of-purchase materials tend to decrease price sensitivity when properly arranged.

All this is dependent on the product itself. According to no less than half a dozen experts on the subject ranging from Olson and Dover, Smith and Seinyard, Tellis, Wright and Lynch, all point out that product usage experience dominates advertising influence on beliefs, attitudes and behavior. So while you can offer a wonderful story about a product along with a photograph, if the actual product doesn’t resemble the description and photo, the patron will not believe you’re telling the truth in future instances.

Think you can write descriptions yourself? Maybe you can, but then again, is it worth the risk? A well-written product description can increase sales of an item by 30%, according to NBC Today. By any measure, this is a lot of potential income for your restaurant that cannot be left to chance.

And while you may think you know your products better than anyone else, and that may even be true, the fact is, you don’t write as many menus as a professional design-engineering firm like HotOperator. With several thousand menus of experience, they have written menus for every restaurant style in more than half a dozen countries, all with a high level of success. Beyond that, the experience has been tested by the results of the success of the menus that have been placed on tables. In those cases, HotOperator menu descriptions, when coupled with proper highlighting and in some instances photography have resulted in significant increases in popularity of purchase.

The results vary from a low end of about 5% to a high end of more than 35%.

Menu Design-Engineering - Marketing Communications - 800-316-3198 X301

Professional Restaurant Menu Design Engineering From HotOperator

The science of our professional menu design and engineering systems is what we call PHAN: Positioning, Highlighting, Anchoring, and Numbers.

1. Positioning.
Eye movement and menus have been studied for decades. At HotOperator, we use the latest techniques to make sure we position your best items in the hottest spots on the menu. Just as your restaurant is all about location, so too are the items on your menu.

2. Highlighting.
When you were in school, and you got the teacher's book and she had some stuff highlighted, did you pay attention? It's the same for the customers in your restaurant. When a patron comes in to your restaurant, he or she is trying to decide what's good to eat at your restaurant. We help by calling attention to certain items over others.

3. Anchoring.
The one time a person is most likely to purchase the most expensive item on a restaurant menu is the day he or she buys a house. The thinking is: "I'm already hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt," so that makes everything on the menu seem inexpensive by comparison. One of our techniques for helping your customers get over their price blocks is by using simple comparisons.

4. Numbers.
There is a lot of research that shows consumer behavior doesn't change unless there is a noticeable effect on price. So $5.29 and $5.49 is essentially the same number to a consumer. Knowing that, we can help you price your menu for maximum plate contribution without upsetting the delicate balance with consumer behavior.

There is a lot that we can do to enhance your menu. Most important from your perspective is the reassurance of knowing that our staff is all trained in these techniques and ready to help you grow your business.

Two Ways to Grow Your Business
There are only two ways to grow a business. One way is to get your current customers to buy more and more often. The other way is to get more customers. HotOperator offers programs to help you do both. Our system is unique in that we start with the engineering process to build your menu and increase foot traffic. We're the only company using your most important information as the basis for building your brand story.

Your Best Five:
Once the menu-engineering is complete, you'll have a better understanding of the items that provide the best plate contribution. HotOperator recommends developing your own point-of-purchase materials to enhance the sale of these important offerings. We'll help you choose your best appetizer, three or four entrées, and a couple of desserts to put on table talkers. These materials can be coordinated to match your brand essence and will stimulate purchase. (Samples)

HotOperator is a menu-engineering and design team that was built out of an advertising agency. Our credentials include more than 20 years of experience building traffic for restaurants, manufacturers, and distributors.

HotOperator Professional Restaurant Menu Design & Engineering 1-800-316-3198

HotOperator Professional Restaurant Menu Design & Engineering 1-800-316-3198