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Patrons enjoy delicious and unique menu items that make them want to come back time and time again.

Is Your Restaurant Menu What Patrons Really Want?

January 5, 2019 12:16 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

There’s an old saying in the restaurant business about how patrons really eat with their eyes before any of the actual physical processes of enjoying a meal begin. What this means is that a great looking picture of an entrée is very often enough to sell the customer on the fact that it’s what they should be ordering that night, and what they should be enjoying as their menu selection. The same is true if your menu entrée descriptions are really well done, and make your food sound absolutely terrific so that a customer just can’t wait to dive into the finished product.

There’s no doubt that well-written descriptions and advantageous photographs can really help to sell menu items, but that really only works for the first time or two that a customer orders something off the menu. In order to keep customers coming back and patronizing your restaurant regularly, you’re going to need to have more than good writing and good pictures.

Using a Great Menu to Drive Patrons Loyalty

It will help to have great customer service, and an appealing atmosphere in your establishment, high-quality food and drink, and providing a generally enjoyable experience to all patrons. However, there’s even more than this necessary if you want to enjoy customer loyalty over a long period of time, and that’s being able to appeal to a customer’s sense of uniqueness.

If you can provide your restaurant patrons with entrées which they feel are truly obtainable nowhere else, you will have given them a reason to patronize your restaurant as much as possible. For the most part, this means including menu items which are above and beyond what customers might be able to prepare for themselves at home. Of course, many customers will be glad to eat out and order something which they could’ve made themselves, but when this is the only objective, they can literally go anywhere to fill the bill. You have to give them something they can’t get anywhere else.

A birds-eye-view of a selection of delicious and unique menu items which are great for driving patrons loyalty.

Creating a variety of interesting and unique menu items is a great way to keep your patrons loyalty.

Creating Unique Menu Selections

One of the ways you can satisfy this criterion is to have a really creative chef who enjoys mixing and matching foods to create entrées that aren’t the standard menu items all around town. One other way to appeal to a customer’s sense of uniqueness is to offer an entire section of heart-healthy entrées, so that a customer can come to your restaurant and feel good about eating out, without departing from his/her healthy diet.

Another good way to appeal to the sense of being different for a patron is to offer farm-to-table menu items which capitalize on the public perception of foods being healthier, fresh off the farm. These are offerings that national chain restaurants probably would not undertake, and that leaves a window of opportunity for your restaurant.

There’s also a growing demographic of restaurant patrons who have adopted a vegetarian diet, a vegan diet, or a gluten-free diet, so it would be a good idea to appeal to this segment of the restaurant-going public and provide them with special dishes of their own.

Another way to create menu items which appeal to your customers, and which other local restaurants may not have on their menus, is to create bundled or packaged specials. This is just what it sounds like, and it involves grouping two, or three, or four menu items into a kind of package which is offered at a discount price. As an example, you might offer a package which includes a cup of clam chowder, a broiled fish fillet, and a house salad for a single discount price which seems like a steal to the customer.

Offering bundling of this type actually benefits your restaurant because it’s what many customers might have ordered on their own anyway, although separately, and it allows you to plan for a number of those packages being ordered on any given night when they’re offered. From the customer perspective, a bundle like this can group several foods that complement each other and which together make up a delicious meal, one which they can save a few dollars on by ordering it as a special.

The only trick to this is that you may have to experiment a bit with the kinds of foods that you bundle together in order to find exactly which ones appeal most to your clientele. Once you have that figured out, it will be great for your restaurant and great for your customer base. Needless to say, to really drive the point home, all these uniqueness appeals should be accompanied by well-written descriptions on the menu, as well as some eye-popping photographs which make them look delicious beyond belief.

After you’ve accomplished all this, you have to trust in the expertise of your chef to bring it all to life and to generate the kind of satisfaction from your customer base that will inspire loyalty from them. Customers will feel very good about the fact that you have dedicated at least a section of your menu to their specific needs and desires, so if you can pull this off successfully, it will go a long tort way toward generating customer loyalty and recurring patronage.

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