The Better Restaurant Menu Quiz

A lot of restaurant operators rely on online menu services because they’re cheap. That or their distributor, again because they’re cheap. Or a server with some art skills, or a niece or nephew, all because they’re cheap. And when restaurants operators do that, they do get a menu, but not necessarily a better menu.

Is a cheap menu a restaurant menu that will help make the restaurant more money?

Let’s say you make a menu yourself. Your initial thought might be: “how hard can it be, it’s just a menu” and so you bang away at it on your own. Then, after a dozen hours or more, you get to a place where you think: “I just need to get something on the tables, this is ridiculous” and so you compromise. You finish the menu up, take it off to a local printer, or print it out on your HP in the office, and slap it on your tables without much fanfare.

What most restaurant operators don’t realize is, the menu they just launched is actually hurting their business with lost revenue. The restaurant is letting cash slip off the tables and out the door with their customers because the menu isn’t set up correctly.

Here is a 7 questions quiz to know if you need a better menu for your restaurant. Add up your score and see if you need a new menu.

1 – Was your menu designed exclusively for your restaurant?

If it was, great, that’s the first step. The worst thing you can do is have your menu look just like the menu across town (which happens a lot more than you might think, especially with so many restaurant operators using an online, plug-and-play menu). If yes, add 10 points. If no, you get nothing.

2 – Is your menu a price list?

This is where your menu items are all lined up and the prices are all lined up and everything is lined up. It’s the stupidest thing you can do with a menu. Price list menus tell your guests to buy on price rather than what’s good to eat. If your menu prices are tucked into paragraphs on your menu, add 10 points. If not, you get a goose egg. 

Menu Price List

3 – Do you have descriptions for your product offerings?

A lot of restaurants operators don’t. They just have a name for the item and a price. Each product should have some form of description to tell people what they are ordering. If you have descriptions professionally written add 10 points. If you have descriptions you or someone on your staff wrote themselves, add 5 points. If you just have product names without descriptions you get 0 points.

4 – Was your menu designed by a professional designer?

And by that we don’t mean administrative staff at a distributor or something you downloaded off the web. We mean a menu that was designed to enhance your brand specifically for your restaurant. If you had a menu design-engineering company make your menu, give yourself 10 points. If it was done by a freelancer or advertising agency, give yourself 6 points. If you had a distributor make your menu, give yourself 3 points. If you downloaded a menu from a menu template resource and worked on it yourself you got what you paid for – nothing.

Menu Highlights5 – Are your best products (items with above average popularity and profitability) highlighted correctly?

There is only one way that menu highlights work (see example), and if your highlights don’t look like those, you are not doing it correctly. And if you’re not highlighting anything on your menu you are doing a disservice to your guests. When a customer goes into a restaurant, they want your advice on what to purchase. If you are not highlighting, and doing it correctly, you are missing a great opportunity. If your products are highlighted similar to the example, give yourself 10 points. If you are using logos or other call outs to certain items, give yourself 5 points. If you’re not highlighting anything on your menu, you get ZERO points.

Mental Anchor Points6 – Do you use mental anchor points on your menu?

A Mental anchor point is a higher priced item that is added to a menu to make other items on the menu look less expensive by comparison. So maybe you have a combination dinner of some kind that you don’t sell very often, but that is priced high enough to make the next highest item look like a bargain. If you have an item that fits that descriptions, give yourself 5 points. Or maybe you got creative and have a diamond encrusted muffin for $12,599.99. If you have a creative price point like that, give yourself 10 points. If you don’t have any mental anchor points, you get nothing. 

7 – Are your menus in some kind of quality menu jacket or cover?

HotOperator research shows that menus presented to guests in a quality menu cover bring an additional 2% in revenue to the restaurants that use them. If your restaurant is using a quality menu cover add 10 points. Using a quality paper menu with expert printing add 7 points. For laminated menus add 3 points. For menus printed on bond paper in black a white off of a printer in your back room, you get ZERO points.

Okay, tally it all up and see if you need a better restaurant menu!

60 – 70 Points – good job. You’ve done the best you can by using pros to help with your menu and you take pride in your restaurant menu. Keep up the good work!

50 – 59 Points – your menu could use improvements, but you’re doing some things correctly. Have an analysis done on your menu to see if it can be improved and make your more money.

40 – 49 Points – you can improve your menu and make your restaurant more profitable. At this moment, your menu is costing you money everyday. Money that should be yours. Do not wait to get a better restaurant menu for your business. You are probably looking at 2.5 to 5% in added income for your restaurant, day in and day out.

0 – 39 Points – your menu sucks. It sucks so badly you would be better off not having a menu at all, but just letting your servers tell customers what they should order. With the right menu, you could see an additional 7 to 12% in added income for your restaurant. Contact someone as soon as possible.

Allow HotOperator to give you a free analysis for your menu. Maybe you need a better menu, or maybe not. But if you do, it could be worth many thousands of dollars for your business to have a better restaurant menu. Contact HotOperator here. 

Schedule a meeting today!

Mark and Kelly Laux have been working in the food industry since the mid-1980s, developing award-winning, profit-generating marketing and advertising programs promoting national brands to foodservice companies and restaurant operators all over the country. 

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