Restaurant owners know that the menu is the heart of their business. It’s what brings customers through the doors in the first place and it’s what fuels those all-important word-of-mouth recommendations.
While some famous restaurant brands might be able to get away with sticking to an established offer, most independent restauranteurs will have to make timely menu changes to stay ahead of the competition.
But there’s a tricky balance to be had, right?
On the one hand, you need to maintain your brand and keep loyal clientele happy but, on the other hand, you want to introduce new and exciting ideas that keep staff inspired, customers engaged and sales up!
As Autumn lands upon us, now is as good a time as any to give that menu a re-think and switch things up a little.
Struggling for inspiration? No problem. As a growing POS supplier in the UK, The Good Till team have been working with restauranteurs across the country and have picked up a few of their tips:
Finding out what makes your existing patrons happy and what they’d like to see on the menu is an obvious but well-worthwhile starting point. You can use social media and other communication channels to gather customer feedback and suggestions. If you have a smart Point of Sale system in place, you can also leverage the sales data it provides to review the menu. By identifying your best sellers and poor performers, you’ll be able to avoid costly mistakes (like removing the firm favourites) while designing new dishes that your customers will enjoy and talk about!
There’s no better place for a restaurant to find inspiration than in and around its own locality. Using local produce is an increasingly attractive draw for the discerning ‘foodie’ and, even if you have to order wholesale, taking a wander around your local grocers is a great way of keeping what’s in season as your guide for those menu changes.
While you’re at it, why not browse the local competition to see what’s popping up on menu boards near you? You don’t have to copy and paste their offer (bad idea!) but perhaps you’ll spot something interesting that you can adapt to your restaurant’s style.
Stay on trend
In the restaurant world, right now, there’s something out there that’s gathering a lot of attention. It’s called ‘trending food’ and, as a restaurant owner, you won’t want to miss it!
These days, staying on top of local, national and international trends in food can be achieved relatively easily. Read the trade magazines, find and follow food bloggers relevant to your market, look at your key competitors’ websites/ social media, check out some reputable Pinterest or Instagram accounts, or simply google ‘food trends’!
While the latest trends can generate tons of ideas, be careful to only adopt the ones that are right for your business and its patrons. If you’re not sure, maybe test out a new idea as a daily special first.
If you’ve done the research, then you’ll know what has worked well in the past but that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t let your imagination loose now and then.
Sometimes a great menu change can come about simply by adding a spark of creativity to a classic dish – a little twist or variation that turns a good meal into something amazing.
Coming up with inspiring recipes might take some time and effort but, with the right tools in place, actioning the menu changes can be simple.
We’ve seen already how the business insights provided by a smart till can guide your decision-making processes. On top of that, POS systems like the Good Till can play a key role in ensuring the changeover goes smoothly. The intuitive interface allows you to quickly update the menu on the POS, your staff will need minimal training on the revisions, and the ease in which new items can be added to your inventory makes purchasing and stock control a breeze.
Does your POS give your restaurant this type of support? Talk to us at the Good Till Company to find out more.