KEY ELEMENTS TO CONSIDER IN THE DESIGN OF A FUNCTIONING MENU
Your menu is an often understated key player in your branding/marketing armoury, a well designed menu can
help you to increase sales and maintain profitability
Research has proved that colours can affect our moods and even our appetite, however, it's now revealed that it can affect what food we order. Green on a menu implies the food in question is fresh and may encourage us to make healthier choices.
The colour orange is said to stimulate the appetite, while yellow will catch a diner's attention.
Red encourages action and it used to persuade us to by the more expensive dishes
THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE
The way our eyes travel across a menu has been analysed by experts and the findings have been dubbed the 'golden triangle'.
The results found that our eyes typically move to the middle of a menu first before travelling to the top right corner and then, finally, to the top left.
Menu engineers usually place the dishes with the highest profit margins in these areas, so they are the first things a diner sees.
FEEDING THE IMAGINATION
Careful consideration goes into each meal description on a restaurant's menu. Strong claims such as 'the world's best burger' are usually dismissed by diners.
However, enticing adjectives, like 'line-caught' or 'sun-dried,' will feed the imagination and get the taste buds tingling.
Some restaurants try to deceive their diners by placing a slightly more expensive item at the top of the menu.
This makes all the other dishes appear to offer more bang for your buck.
It also gives us the impression that as diners, we are getting a bargain, encouraging us to spend more money than we had expected to.
Food selection from a menu may seem random, or what you think is based on your preferences, however, results shows that diners subconsciously order the two top items on the menu more often - so this is where you often find the dishes with the highest profit margins.
Some people, however, are more inclined towards the very last item on the list. This means the third most lucrative dish is often found here.
Too many choices can overwhelm diners. Clever restaurants stick to seven dishes per section
Paying for a meal is the biggest pain point for diners when eating out. Crafty restaurateurs, of course, know this - so the trend now is to remove currency signs from the menu to take the emphasis away from the cost of the items you are ordering.Beware of prices written out in letters - this tactic can encourage us to spend up to 30 per cent more.
No matter how tempting each dish may sound on a menu, diners still take the price into account. Restaurateurs use this to their advantage - for example, a meal priced at £10.95 makes us feel like we are getting a good deal.
Exclusive establishments tend to use round numbers, adding an air of chic sophistication.
A huge menu might seem like a good idea for establishments as it offers plenty of choice, but, from a diner's point of view, being forced to choose between hundreds of options can make us feel stressed.
Savvy restaurant owners list just seven dishes in each section - enough to make us feel like we have plenty of options without overwhelming us.
A BLAST FROM THE PAST
Nostalgia is a powerful force. A carefully worded description can load almost any dish with an emotional resonance that is hard to resist.
Diners beware - that tempting slice of 'Grandma's Apple Pie' you're about to order has probably been languishing in an industrial freezer for months.
Most items on a menu will have descriptions of a similar length to fit in with the general layout of the page. Something that doesn't fit the pattern will stick out like a sore thumb and catch our attention.
Knowing this, restaurant owners tend to write longer descriptions for the dishes they want to sell more of - which, unsurprisingly, are items with the highest profit margins.
EMPOWERING THE CUSTOMER
Restaurant wine lists can rival the average novel in length, especially in high-end establishments.
This is a deliberate marketing tactic designed to empower guests to make a decision.
The more information listed about each vintage, the more likely we are to choose the wine.
If a menu is crammed with text, the eye will naturally be drawn to any open spaces.
Menu designers use this to their advantage - items with the largest profit margins are often set in their own space, away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the descriptions.
The material of the menu is used to communicate the brand image. High-end restaurants use leather and thick paper to suggest their food is of a similar quality (and, therefore, worth ordering), while a cheaper restaurant might use vinyl to communicate a menu that represents good value for the money.
Look out for a glossary section on the menu. You're more likely to order the pricey steak tartare if you know exactly how it's prepared (and produced).
This is also why restaurants sometimes list their fancy-sounding wines by the number, so patrons don't feel intimidated by the unfamiliar names.