Not your grandfather’s specials board

Digital-printed custom napkins offer an innovative, new way to deliver menu promotions and message guests
Specials board
Photograph: Shutterstock

Menu specials are important elements of the product mix for restaurant operators. They add excitement for customers, drive traffic and can boost both the top and bottom lines with incremental sales.

Promoting special menu items is always a challenge, however, especially with the high turnover of employees in the industry. In 2018, the turnover rate in the hospitality industry topped 70% for the fourth consecutive year, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, compared with turnover of just under 50% for the private sector overall. Constantly training new servers to promote specials in this environment can be a time-consuming process that often yields inconsistent results.

One way to ensure that menu specials are being promoted effectively and consistently is to put marketing materials supporting the items directly into consumers hands using engaging digital custom-print napkins.

According to research from Weave Insights, 57% of consumers agreed that restaurants should be unexpected in their marketing—and printing full-color, enticing images of menu specials on napkins certainly fits that bill. In addition, the research found that 34% of consumers said featuring menu items encourages them to order additional items.

The Weave Insights research also revealed that 75% of consumers said custom printing helps a restaurant stand out—offering a tool that enables operators to differentiate themselves from their competition.

Using digital custom-printed napkins from Tork, a division of global products company Essity, allows restaurants to connect with customers in a new way that displays their unique brand personality and messaging.

Tork digital printing leverages state-of-the-art technology that facilitates the use of more complex, colorful prints with detailed designs—including the ability to print photos—that help enhance the overall dining experience for guests. Operators can also have multiple designs printed within each napkin pack—consider the impact of providing napkins, each with a different image of your appetizers, cocktails or desserts at each place setting. The technology enables low minimum orders, which allows operators to change their messaging frequently and deliver more timely messages if they so choose. In addition, lower minimum orders reduce upfront costs and storage requirements.

Custom-printed napkins from Tork offer a simple and inexpensive way to make an impression on customers, and at the same time drive increased sales through the promotion of menu specials — consistently displayed exactly how operators intended.

The napkins can be used to support other menu-item promotional efforts, such as server suggestions and traditional advertising, or can stand on their own as promotional materials that deliver brand and product messaging directly to customers in an unexpected way.

In addition, customers appreciate efforts to promote a restaurant’s brand and products through custom-printed napkins. More than three-fourths of customers—77%—believe that restaurants with custom-printed napkins try harder than other restaurants, and 68% of patrons feel more positive about a restaurant with custom printed napkins, according to Weave Insights. Custom-printed napkins can also reinforce brand awareness and loyalty when included in takeout and delivery orders—customers who don’t come into the restaurant to dine may keep extra napkins around the house and remember that restaurant when they’re looking to order in another time.

A Tork representative can help you get started putting digital custom print napkins to work to bolster your restaurant’s brand image, support your menu promotions and deliver other specific messages in a creative, colorful and economic way that helps you stand out in the market.

For more information about how custom-print napkins can help you boost customer traffic at your restaurant, please visit

tork custom print napkins

This post is sponsored by Essity, makers of the Tork brand of Professional Hygiene products


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