Key Elements of Communicating Cuisine on Your Menu

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The menu can be a powerful tool in marketing your restaurant and setting tone and ambience expectations. Use these helpful tips to use your menu as a marketing tool.

Naming Menu Items

Menu item names should attract attention similar to a headline or advertisement. Keep in mind that customers may be discouraged by titles that are hard to pronounce.

Menu Item Descriptions

The description may identify the basic form of the item (e.g., medallion, kabob, filet, slice, piece, cup, bowl, glass, etc.) and quantity measurements such as portion size or weight.

Ingredient Descriptions

Create a visual image to convey a menu item’s presentation by using illustrative adjectives (e.g., geographic origin, variety, brand, growing conditions, harvest method, etc.) to expand and complement the ingredient description.

Preparation Method

Describing both the raw product and the cooking technique itself contributes to the flavor profile of the menu item. Common and unusual preparation methods (e.g., baked, wood-grilled, wok-seared, etc.) and techniques (e.g., particular cuts of meat, marinating and basting ingredients, glazes, rub, etc.) are easily recognized by customers and can enhance anticipation.

Menu Item Price

In terms of menu and flavor marketing, pricing may have more to do with expectations than food cost, profit margins, and competition. When flavor meets or exceeds the customer’s expectations, price becomes value and satisfaction.

Note: Menu marketing requires a degree of straightforwardness with the customer. Using unfamiliar language, over-emphasizing, and using excessive adjectives creates confusion and clouds imagery rather than enhancing it. The menu is not only a link between the customer and the kitchen, but it provides an opportunity to convey a certain attitude. A well-designed menu marketing strategy will create menu options that will meet or even exceed your customers’ expectations and ensure return visits.

Design & Layout Tips

  • Place most profitable dishes in the first and last spots.
  • Separate courses into different sections to encourage diners to order more.
  • Keep the menu looking consistent with the restaurant concept.
  • Dollars signs are not necessary.
  • Ensure that all spelling is accurate.
  • Keep desserts off the main menu.
  • Use large font size, but avoid using all caps.

Source: UniPro Daily Planner & Resource Guide

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