Importance of the order
The importance of the order of meals is undeniable! Suppose to order entrees on the menu card in a vertical list. The guest will not follow it in this order. First they will look at the first few ones, straight after them they will look at the last one. The previous before the last meal gets the least attention. This is why the meal categories must be short. The best option is if a category group contains only 5-7 meals. More than this can be information rampancy for the restaurant guests, so they will choose a common, every day meal, like a burger. Unfortunately these common meals are not the most profitable ones. On the other hand on a shorter list the meals can be highlighted easier and the guests can be led to the more profitable meals.
Take advantage of correct menu card arrangement
There are several types of menu card arrangements (ex. one paged, twin paged, etc.) and we have to treat these layouts in different ways. They differ each other from how the visitor will react on it. Here are some common example on menu card layouts and their correct usage:
1 paged menu: The people usually easily can choose from this typed menu card, but they rarely order several course from it. So never use this type of menu card in a restaurant which offers a full-coursed dining. This type is optimal for a lighter, loose place like a street food restaurant.
2 paged menu: This is one of the most common arrangement, cause it can be read easily and can cover a full dining experience.
3 paged menu: It can be a usable type too, if we have so much dishes we need more place, but it can be read less easily than the two paged restaurant menu.
More paged menu: The more pages in a menu card, the less control on the guests attention.
The guests’ focus on menu card areas differs on the types of layouts. We have to place menu items whether to get more or less attention on these patterns:
1 paged menu:
the most important is on the top of the page
the least attention is the bottom of the page
2 paged menu:
the most: top of right page
the least: penultimate of left page
3 paged menu:
the most: top of 3rd page
the least: penultimate of the 1st page
More paged menu:
the most: top of each pages
the least: penultimates of each pages
Another good advice: if the meal we’d like to advertise is too expensive better not to place it on a highlighted, important area of the menu card, cause the restaurant can be seemed expensive too.
Don’t think only in the menu card
While the menu engineering term suggests only the menu card is responsible for the profit increase, but it can increase if we teach our staff offer which meals preferably. They will contact the guest and they will able to lead the guests to the more profitable dishes.
Forth step: Testing the new menu card
Those restaurant owners are in a fortunate situation if they have a franchise with several places, because they can test menu card side by side if they initiate the new menu card in one restaurant and they will see the result of the new, engineered restaurant menu.
It’s not so secure, but we can test menu cards periodly if it gets more profit. The point is that however we test our menus, there is always a way to optimize the profit. Don’t forget that it is the only advertisement form which will surely be seen by all of our customerts, so there is a lie in our power to test our menu card.
Source: Interview with Gregg Rapp menu-engineer in Menu Cover Depot (april of 2013.)