How important is your Restaurant's Menu? Very Important!

A Restaurant's menu is its business card.

A menu is essentially a list of food and drinks that your restaurant is offering to it's customers. There are various types of menus to select from based on your restaurants concept/theme. A few menu formats that are popularly used are A la carte, Du Jour, Prix Fixe, Table D'hôte and Cycle menus. What you decide to use for your business can and will affect your profitability.

A menu is the single most important marketing tool for any restaurant. When designing your menu and picking out your menu options, one must put careful thought into what ends up on the menu as well as paying careful attention to the lay out (color, wording, lists etc. ) of the menu. Many restaurants have an overall theme in mind. All restaurants should have a concept. Your menu should reflect this theme/concept.

What you must remember is that your menu should always reflect your restaurant's personality.

Here's a few tips to consider when putting together your menu (or creating a new menu for your existing restaurant):

1. Don't spend too much money on printing out a menu when you first open a restaurant - as we said in our previous article on Soft Launches, your menu offering will probably have a few changes based on the feedback you receive from customers. It is advisable to print a low cost but well planned out menu for the first 1-6 months of your business opening. This way you can reprint when you make changes, at a lower cost, until you are sure about what items will remain on your menu.

2. Keep it simple - Do not clutter your menu by listing every single dish or drink you would like to offer. Focus on top menu items that increase your profitability. Focus on items that are unique to your establishment. Keep the layout clean and easy to understand. Remember, if your wait staff cannot explain/understand an item on the menu, your customer probably will not as well.

3.Constantly improve your menu - management/business owners should never forget the importance of the menu. It is important to work closely with the head chef as well as making it a habit to get feedback from your wait staff and customers. Feedback is crucial. Feedback and collaboration with the head chef will give you all the data you need to ensure that menu items lead to the success of your business.

4. Keep your menu clean and in good condition! (Very important) - I find that a lot of restaurants (In Accra) will literally wait until their menus are falling apart until they stop using them. As stated, a menu is a very important marketing tool. In the same way you would not give someone a ripped up business card, restaurants must make sure to check that all their menus are clean and in good shape before presenting them to customers.

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