Most of us have experienced walking into a restaurant that looks inviting from the street, and decide to go somewhere else. Why?
Gourmet Marketing is a group that conducts surveys online to the general public. Recently they ran a consumer survey to quantify what influences restaurant decisions. They asked 1000 people “if when choosing a restaurant what is most important in making their decision?”
Forty-nine percent of the consumers chose the menu.
Twenty-four percent said the price. Reviews were fourteen percent, location ten percent, and photo’s three percent.
Till this day, the strongest reason consumers chose a restaurant for the first time is by word of mouth.
Menus dominated in almost all groups or subgroups, but it was still affected by few factors. With others, the percentage that chose menus was consistent.
Gender played no role. The Northeast was more menu conscious. Small rural communities in the south valued menus more.
The age played more into the content of the menu, ages 18-24 age group chose menu’s 38% of the time and ages 65+ age group was 54% of the time.
BUILD IT, AND THEY WILL COME
True you build it but, and they may come once or twice. The menu is a draw for your customers. With a fickle public the menu is a critical element and deserves attention. Time and time again I’ve seen restaurants open with a menu that doesn’t fit the area and prices out of touch with the consumer. Putting a sushi bar in Wyoming might be the wrong idea.
Market research is a good way to learn the demographic in an area you are considering. It will help you determine your concept, menu, design, looks and atmosphere. Putting grits and cornbread and collard greens near a gated community with million dollar homes might be risky.
FOUR REASONS MENUS ARE IMPORTANT
1. They can tell a story: Some use the menu to give some history of your location or to introduce the owners and their qualifications. It can help when there is delays being seated and service.
2. Specialty items: Its a great way to market you daily specials that separate you from the competition.
3. Price: Remember it was #2 in the reasons why people choose your restaurant. Take time and make sure your prices reflect your demographics.
4. Online and to-go menu’s: The customers can use these to check out prices and also order to check out your food before coming to dine.
Menus are the blueprint of your business and usually your first opportunity to set the stage for your customers.
It’s a process that takes time and thought.
Remember Menu’s matter!