Let Alliance help you in deciding what should be on your menu and we’re not just talking about food! Your restaurant menu is of paramount importance but for more reasons than you might think.  Not only is it going to bring people back into your establishment time and again but it also acts as a vital marketing tool.

Of course, offer delicious, authentic or eclectic dishes with a twist and you’ll have people crowding to taste them!  The fact is that your menu is the difference between failure and success and is so much more than just the dishes you’re preparing for the night/week/month – it should be used as a marketing opportunity whenever you can.  This means paying attention to the look and design as much as to what you plan to serve.  A poor looking or tired menu with dog-eared edges and food stains won’t impress or entice customers, so you should definitely keep it regularly refreshed.

If you make your menu a great looking piece of design, your customers will sit up and notice it, it’s amazing how a piece of card or a menu book can tantalise taste-buds.  Who feels hungrier after handling a greasy, grimy menu?  No-one, it can actually dampen appetite leaving customers wanting less.  A clean, sleek and smart menu will build-up expectation and can also act as a mechanism to encourage your customers to order more than they originally planned!

It’s logical, obviously depending on the number of dishes you serve; your diner could take up to ten to fifteen minutes making a decision so they will be looking closely at the menu and later on, if they liked what they saw at the beginning they might want to peruse the desserts too.  A dirty menu conjures up images of a dirty kitchen but a spotless menu subconsciously delivers a strong message – good, healthy food served in a clean and efficient environment. Keep your menus nicely presented in smart menu holders which you’ll find on the Alliance website. Remember, image is everything.

Don’t just stop at having a physical menu in your restaurant, put your menu online.  The Caterer says that 1/3 of restaurant sales come via online ordering.  So while a menu is one of the number one necessities to have in place in a restaurant of any style, online is fast climbing the ladder of importance.  For customers who are visiting your restaurant as a destination (rather than on an adhoc basis) they more than likely will have looked your restaurant up online.

While looking at the décor, ambience, reviews and other interesting information they will almost definitely seek out your menu.  This can also change their mind about visiting your restaurant because if you don’t have a menu online, they might decide to go elsewhere, especially if they are trying to make a choice between two restaurants.

At the very least, have a downloadable PDF available for potential customers to view and make sure you regularly update it.  If you have time, you could market your specials online but as specials change regularly you need to be exceptionally dedicated to your website to do this.  Your PDF should be able to be viewed on a tablet as well.  However, PDF’s can be difficult to read on small tablets such as smartphones so when you have more time get a menu page designed to fit in with the rest of your website and update it when you change your menu, perhaps designate this task to your restaurant manager or someone else at your restaurant who is web-savvy.  When you’ve designed your online menu, make sure to put your pricing alongside dishes and make it visually beautiful using professional photographs of some of your dishes (you don’t need to photograph everything).


With an online menu (and a regular menu) you could do much more and include where the food is sourced from, this is very popular with customers especially if you use home-grown produce such as British farmed beef or cheese sourced from a local farm etc.  It also shows that food is unbelievably fresh and flavoursome.  If you have a “light” menu for those watching their weight, it’s great to include fat and calorie information and for ethnic restaurants don’t forget to include how hot and spicy a dish is, this is usually signposted using chilli graphics (1 for fairly spicy, 2 for hot, 3 for very hot etc.)

As an aside but a great idea…include a book now button at the bottom of your online menu so your customer can immediately reserve their table, no hopping around the website looking for a phone number (although that should always be clearly visible too!)

For more brilliant information on what equipment you need for your successful restaurant visit Alliance where you’ll find everything and more to keep your customers coming back!