One thing’s for sure – menu fatigue is real. For some diners, familiarity can be weary.
If your customers know your menu like the back of their hand, they’re most likely tired of eating the same meals. Don’t be surprised if they go searching for new options elsewhere.
This is why it’s important to make some changes, in moderation of course.
Here are 3 steps to minimize menu fatigue at your operation:
Although permanent change can sometimes be good, bringing in seasonal menu items or LTO’s (limited time offers) can be a game-changer. For example, in the Fall months, like now, you can serve innovative plates such as pumpkin ravioli, butternut squash soup, or even a seasonal spiced cocktail.
Winter is all about comfort foods! Here are some trendy comfort foods you can put a spin on:
- Creamy soups or hearty stews
- Slow-cooked meals
- Rotisserie-Style Chicken
- Casseroles (sweet potato or lasagna are a hit)
- Risotto-based dishes
- Anything pasta!
In the Spring, consumers opt in for something light and earthy. Add texture and flavor to your menu by incorporating trending vegetables such as artichokes, arugula, asparagus, and broccoli to add a little crunch to each plate.
Salad sales skyrocket in the Summer. Why not add some color and flavor by dressing up those greens with strawberries or goat cheese? Spice up some BBQ with trending global flavors like Chimichurri sauce or a Tandoori spice blends. Seasonal sangrias are especially popular in the summer, and they’re easy to put together. Plus, you can always improvise with the fruits and wine you choose to use.
Seasonal menu items are an effective way to increase profits and please customers both old and new. If a certain seasonal dish or cocktail turns out to be successful, you can make it a permanent offering on your menu. If it doesn’t get as much traction, they won’t be surprised when it’s no longer available – hence the word, seasonal!
Communication is key. As a restaurant operator, take 30 seconds out of your day to visit each of your tables and find out what your guests are looking for on the menu.
Ask your guests what they liked and what they possibly didn’t like. Maybe there are certain items they’d like to see on your menu, or maybe there’s something they tried years ago that no longer exists on your menu. This might be an opportunity to bring it back!
Taking the time to engage with your guests shows you care about what they want. If you don’t have time to talk in person, ask for their feedback via email or social media. Maybe even Yelp! And remember, don’t take negative feedback as a bad thing. Take it as a learning experience.
Customers love playing a role in decision-making. It increases the guest experience and gives them a sense of belonging and intimacy.
You don’t have to create a whole new dish to change things up. You can take menu items you already offer and add a little “spice” to them. For example, that classic burger you offer would taste a lot better if it had an egg, bacon, and some truffle aioli on top!
Or maybe take your pulled pork sandwich and create a pulled pork dish instead! Add some cornbread, coleslaw and some potatoes on the side and you’ve got a whole new entrée!
You don’t have to re-engineer a whole dish. Simply using different spices to change up some flavor will do the trick too!
The change, whether big or small, will be noticeable. Trust us! Innovating and making modifications to dishes you already serve is an easy, labor-saving, quick change that’ll help increase that guest check and decrease the menu fatigue.