Edit

Front page news

The next time you're out on the dining room floor, watch as guests are handed your menu. Do they glance down at the cover? Open it right up to find something to order?
The next time you're out on the dining room floor, watch as guests are handed your menu. Do they glance down at the cover? Open it right up to find something to order? Do they connect with the menu in a tactile, sensory way, feeling the texture of the paper, pausing to read the copy and soak in the graphic images? While the reaction may be subtle, you'll be able to tell how your menu is perceived by your guests, and whether the purest tangible expression of your brand is doing its job.

We've talked about many techniques and strategies for designing a profitable sales tool. But a well-designed menu cover begins its magic the moment it is placed in the hands of the guest. It instantly sets the stage for both the food featured inside, and the entire dining experience to follow.

OK folks, it's time to invest in your menus. No more plastic jackets that become worn, cracked and sticky — even if they prolong the life of the inserts. I recommend a textured 60 lb cover stock or equivalent that feels rich and substantial. Yes, it will get dirty and bent. When it does, toss it immediately and replace it with a crisp, new menu.

You should plan on spending 50¢ per menu to get 4-5 uses max out of each. This may seem expensive, but 10 cents per customer to leave a positive lasting impression is a steal. And the return will be much higher than that from a 10 cent garnish...trust me.

What should you put on the front cover? I boil it down to the 3 C's: Color, Clarity and Content.

How do you know when a menu cover is just right? Much of it is gut instinct. You'll just feel it. You'll also see it on a guest's face when they look at it for the first time.

Here are examples of some of the elements that go into a great menu cover. Dick's Bar & Grill in Minnesota transformed a plain menu cover into a wonderful reflection of its brand and its history. And Harold's Inn in Pennsylvania graced their new and improved menu cover with a poem written for their 50th anniversary.

See also:
Get on the brand wagon

 


Bill Main is a nationally-recognized author, consultant and speaker. His company, Bill Main & Associates, specializes in strategic growth plans for foodservice entrepreneurs. For information on how you can grow your top line revenues through innovative marketing, menu, leadership and training systems, visit www.billmain.com.

Trending

More from our partners