When restaurant operators turn their attention to marketing, many focus on their websites, social media, restaurant apps, and loyalty programs. The benchmark for restaurant marketing usually comes in at about 3-6% of sales to marketing.
A few points to remember—new customer acquisition is 7-10 times more expensive than increasing check averages or frequency of your existing customers. Check averages can be raised through several strategies, including price increases, add-ons or upgrades, suggestive selling, and effective merchandising. Encourage customers to bring more friends and develop a loyal following that returns once a week instead of once a month.
What hasn’t been mentioned is your most prized possession in restaurant marketing—your menu. One of the best means for increasing profitability is through menu optimization. Let’s explore how to make your menu a money-maker and part of your marketing strategy.
Your Biggest Marketing Tool
Your menu is the defining aspect of your restaurant. It represents your concept and is, to a large degree, and in most cases, the reason someone chose to dine at your establishment. According to an OpenTable survey, over 90% of people view a menu online before eating at a restaurant.
If online marketing is the primary method for increasing brand awareness, then your online menu takes front and center stage in that process. It should be expertly designed, visible, and easy to read on your website. Don’t bury it on a subpage or use a font people can’t easily read on their computer screens or mobile devices. Another critical aspect is to make sure it’s formatted in a manner that enables it to come up on searches.
How Potential Guests Search for Restaurants
The Business Journals reports that 49% of people search for businesses with no particular name in mind. They might put in ‘Best Steaks Near Me’ or ‘Vegetarian Food Chicago.’ If you fit in either of these categories, you want to make sure you pop up in the search results.
To be visible, a crawler must be able to read your menu. This automated script analyzes the content of a web page and determines if it is useful to the searcher. PDFs and crawlers don’t mix, which is why your menu should be typed out directly on your webpage.
Extend the Reach of Your Menu
Make sure potential customers can find your menu on your social networking and business review sites. A few examples include Yelp, Facebook, Google My Business, TripAdvisor, and OpenTable. Whenever you make a change to your menu, make sure it’s reflected in the many places it’s located.
In our mobile world, a mobile-friendly menu is essential. Today, many people use their smartphones to look up restaurants and their online menus. Unfortunately, webpages are not always mobile-friendly or responsive. To work optimally, it needs to keep everything in proportion on a smaller, smartphone-size screen.
If not formatted correctly, viewers experience confusion and difficulty reading your online menu, prompting them to look elsewhere.
AI-Driven Menu Pricing
While there are numerous ways to market your restaurant, your menu is your calling card, and highlighting its unique attributes is a proven method for increasing brand awareness and returning guests. Another way to use your menu to increase income is to raise profits with AI-driven menu pricing.
F&B Insights, a division of EMERGING, provides a menu database that lets you keep tabs on your competitor’s menu changes and prices. Receive an alert when they make any changes and stay abreast of what restaurants charge on a local and national level. With this information, you can feel confident your prices won’t affect demand. To learn more about menu optimization and pricing or to schedule a consultation, contact F&B Insights today.
What does optimizing a menu mean?
Menu optimization is, in essence, making the most of your menu, which, as the primary driver, can significantly affect profits. Some of the many strategies include using descriptive terms, showcasing in-demand items, and dropping or rebranding items that are low in demand.
Why is mobile-friendly so important?
In 2022, over 60% of the global internet population used their mobile device to go online. In the restaurant industry, with potential guests often deciding which establishment to go to while performing other activities, this percentage goes up significantly. If they can’t view your menu clearly, they will go to the next contenders.