So Your Kid Got An ‘A’ In Art? Great, But That Doesn’t Qualify Them To Make Your Menu.

iStock_boy:backpack000006349432MediumNephew art (My Kid Art?) can be gratifying, but it can’t make you a ton of money. At least not like a professionally design-engineered menu can. And while your child or server, or wife, friend, significant other may be really good a drawing, a menu is a very complicated selling tool. So unless they have been design-engineering menus for a long time, it’s not a great idea to put your business in their hands (or watercolors).


Instead, give HotOperator a call now (you don’t even have to tell them) and hire their menu-marketing engineers to create a menu exclusively for your restaurant. You’ll make a lot more money, and you’ll feel much more comfortable knowing that your menu was worked on by professionals. Call 1-800-316-3198 or contact the restaurant marketing experts through their website here.

3 Reasons You Don’t Want Your Advertising Agency To Design-Engineer Your Menu.

1 – They don’t believe menu-engineering works (or in many cases, that menu engineering is even a thing). If they did, they would be design-engineering your menu already, and I guarantee you they’re not. Don’t believe me? Email me your menu and I’ll give you a FREE analysis. Read my report and see if I’m not right about how your menu is working (or in your case, not working).


2 – Your menu will end up in the kids department. All agencies have senior and junior designers and writers, and the senior people all work on the first round, the important stuff like taglines, and headlines and the advertising. The menu, on the other hand, will get shuffled off to some junior person. And what’s funny is, the menu is actually your most important marketing tool. In fact, it should be just the opposite. The senior people should work on the menu because the menu is responsible for serving every guess in your restaurants.


3 – It will cost you too much. Agencies see your menu as a way to make money. They’ll estimate the piece for you, and then they’ll do everything in their power to make sure the project comes in under budget. So your menu will go through the good work for good money machine, and they will give it as little thought as they can just to get it out the door.


What should you do? Call HotOperator and have them estimate your project, and allow them to go through their process. If nothing else, you’ll have an outline that you can beat your agency over the head and shoulders with to make sure they make your menu correctly. But keep in mind, when they start telling you that this menu engineering stuff doesn’t really work, look them straight in the eye and tell they their wrong. The menu experts at HotOperator have been building restaurant menus from the ground up for more than 25 years. And when you put a HotOperator menu on your tables, you will make a lot more money.


Call HotOperator at 1-800-316-3198 or connect up through their website here.

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.

The Difference Between A Cookie Cutter And A Restaurant Menu

I swear, I really don’t think many restaurant operators know the difference. If they did, they wouldn’t have the same menu as everybody else. A well-designed restaurant menu is more than just a double dip in the glitz bucket. Your menu needs to be an extension of your brand, and the only way to make that happen is to have it professionally design engineered specifically for your restaurant brand.

Our process starts with a Restaurant Menu Matrix, then we build your menu with perfect product positioning, restaurant menu highlighting, restaurant menu anchoring and strategic product pricing that balances your need to be profitable with price points hat won’t send your customers into a tizzy.

We couple our scientific menu engineering with some of the best design and writing in the business. Design and writing developed just for you. So instead of picking your menu out of a catalog, you’re getting actually designers and writers working on your business. So rather than a cookie cutter, you’re getting a hand carved, made from scratch menu.

When you’re ready to get out of your cookie cutter menu, call HotOperator at 800-316-3198 or contact the menu design-engineering experts through their website here.

4 Reasons Foodservice Distributors Make Poor Menu Design Partners

1 – They want your food business (as much of it as they can get). To your distributor, your restaurant menu is just another way to get the food business. And if they can leverage a little of their administrative staff to get it, they will. But this doesn’t make them experts in menu design engineering, so when a foodservice distributor makes a restaurant menu for you, their primary reason for doing so is to lock up the food business.


2 – It’s a conflict of interest. Your foodservice distributor has a list of food items they want to sell, through your restaurant. These are items that make them a lot more money than others, and those items are the very items that they will promote on your restaurant menu. It’s not that they don’t know how to engineer a menu, it’s that they are at cross-purposes with you and your restaurant business. So not only do you have to manage the process of your own menu design engineering, you also have to keep a watchful eye on which items your foodservice distributor wants to promote.


3 – They have an unfair advantage. Your restaurant distributor knows more about your food and supply purchases than you do. They monitor what you buy, pay attention to the prices you pay and which items you watch most closely. And there are reasons they make you agree to buy a certain percentage of your food purchases from them in exchange for a menu. They know they’ll make it back in increased prices and guaranteed volume.


4 – They don’t live or die by your menu. Unlike a professional Menu Engineering and Design company, your foodservice distributor isn’t that tied to the success of your menu. So their interest in giving you objective advice is less important than getting your menu out the door.


When you’re ready to take back control of your purchases, give HotOperator a call. You’ll get a professional menu and objective advice on how best to menu market your business. Call 1-800-316-3198, or visit the HotOperator website here.

3 Things That Might Surprise You About Restaurant Menu Scatter Graphs

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1 – Most Restaurant Operators don’t know what they’re selling most of the time. And what’s worse, they think they do. Most restaurant operators think they have a great hold on what sells because they see it go out the door. But what they don’t realize is, most of what they see is just rationalizing what they already think. The only way to know for sure what’s working in your restaurant is to create a menu scatter graph.


2 – A Restaurant Menu Matrix will always have Dogs in them. By nature of how a Restaurant Menu Matrix is created, some of the items on the menu will look like dogs. So the job of a Restaurant Menu Matrix is not to get rid of the dogs, but to better understand which items can be come stars, and how to enhance those items as much as possible.


3 – Most Restaurant Operators give way to much credit to Cash Cows. A Cash Cow in a restaurant is an item with high popularity and low profits. And we understand why that is, these items sell well, too well, in fact. And as a restaurant manager it’s your job to find ways to get people to buy the items that make the most sense for your restaurant.


You need help with your Restaurant Menu Matrix and Scatter Graph, even though you probably don’t want to admit it. Give HotOperator a call and hire them to run through this extremely important process with your restaurant. Call 1 800-316-3198, or contact the restaurant menu experts through their web site here.

8 Things You Maybe Don’t Know About Restaurant Brand Marketing

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1 – A properly developed restaurant brand can and should last indefinitely, so making a brand mistake can cost you huge headaches as well as untold millions in lost revenue over time. Make sure everything you do with your restaurant brand enhances its brand position in the markets you serve.


2 – A Great Restaurant Brand is true to itself. Make sure your restaurant brand is never asked to work out of its character or you will suffer consequences.


3 – A Great Restaurant Brand Invents or Reinvents A Category. Mc Donald’s invented fast food. Panera reinvented fast casual. Applebee’s reinvented the neighborhood bar. What has your brand invented or reinvented (and it’s OK to make that stuff up, too)?


4 – A Great Restaurant Brand Is Emotional. It’s like any other purchase, when people feel a strong emotional connection to a brand, they are much more likely to make that purchase again and again. And the emotions need to be positive (anyone can piss of a customer, which doesn’t help your brand).


5 – A Great Restaurant Brand Has A Fantastic Story. A restaurant brand can evolve, meet new challenges and even introduce new products that might otherwise seem to be out of character, with the right story to back it up.


6 – A Great Restaurant Brand is Consistent. That means the visuals, the coy, the photography, the social experience all need to share the same voice, with the same personality, forever.


7 – A Great Restaurant Brand is Relevant. A great brand personality will reflect and be relevant to the audience it is trying to communicate with. This is essential to the success of the brand over time. If your restaurant is known for polka and sauerkraut, giving it the voice of a punk rocker from Liverpool will not make sense to anyone you’re trying to sell to (and polka is really fun, especially with the right partner).


8 – A Great Restaurant Brand Creates A Point Of Difference. Your unique selling proposition is essential to your brand and how your guests perceive your business. Having real, tangible reasons to purchase a burger from you rather than someone else can make or break your restaurant.

5 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Restaurant Menu Highlighting

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1 – Restaurant Menu Product Highlights can work to slow the sale of a product if you’re not careful. HotOperator research shows that there are actually very few menu highlights that actually increase the sales velocity of a product on a restaurant menu. Not knowing how highlights work best can cost you in the long run.


2 – Restaurant Product Positioning will enhance your highlights, but only if you know what to look for. Restaurant eye movement charts are impacted by highlights, and so are menu sales and profits. Getting this part wrong can make dogs out of stars.



3 – Knowing which Restaurant Products to Highlight on a Restaurant Menu is very important. It’s not just about popularity, but instead, you want to focus on items that can become stars over time.


4 – Highlighting an Inconsistent Restaurant Menu Product will kill it quicker. Once a Restaurant Menu is properly highlighted, people will try those highlighted items more often. If the product is inconsistent or poorly made, it will drop off in sales very quickly.


5 – Restaurant Menu Highlights are not stronger than your serving staff. If you highlight a product you want to sell more of and your wait staff doesn’t like the item, it will never sell well.


Call HotOperator and hire them to review your menu. Call 1 800-316-3198 now, or contact them through their website, which can be found here.

5 Reasons Why None Of Your Wait Staff Make Good Menu Designers


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Webber's Before Menu


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Webber's After Men


1 – Saving Money Just To Loose More. You think you’re saving money by having someone on your wait staff work on your menu, but you’re actually costing yourself thousands of dollars in lost revenue because they are not menu engineers with experience in helping you create a great menu that will enhance your brand and grow your business (if they were, they would be doing that for a living instead of slinging hash).


2 – A Few Years of Schooling in Computers Does Not Make You a Designer. In fact, it takes years of work experience working with restaurant menu design engineering to master the process. But you already know this, because you don’t just take a buss person and put them on your cooking line. And it’s the same with your restaurant menu, which is just as important (and statistically more important than) your food.


3 – Better Writing, Better Experience. Writing A Restaurant Menu is as much a skill as designing a Restaurant Menu. Food product descriptions need to entice, convince and inspire. Not an easy task, and not to be hacked together by just anyone.


4 – First Impressions. Your restaurant menu is the first line of communication for your restaurant brand. You can never the chance for a great first impression back. This first impression can have a huge impact on how your guests perceive your food; it’s taste and their likeliness to return. Taking a chance on a part time person with that much power is dangerous to your business.


5 – Finding Hidden Money. A menu is a very specialized catalog that can be the pivot point in your restaurant marketing. It’s easy to think that anyone can make a product list, and that’s true. It doesn’t take much experience to put a bunch of products into a list. But if you are smart, you’ll want a menu that is designed to build your restaurant and enhance your brand.


When you’re ready to elevate your brand, give HotOperator a call. The menu design and engineering experts at HotOperator can build you a better, more product menu that will help you make more profits day in and day out. Call 1-800-316-3198 or contact them through the HotOperator website here.