The Best Way To Launch A New Menu Your Customers Will Love

Posted on August 13th, 2018 by Breck Hapner

More and more restaurants are rotating their menus on a seasonal basis.

This can help you build excitement with your customers and lead to more return visits.

But if every restaurant is doing it, it’s going to take some work to stand out from the crowd. You’re going to need to find creative ways to draw attention to the new items on your menu.

The key to launching a new menu your customers will love is a willingness to spend time in preparation and research. The time you spend understanding your target customer is never wasted, as it could help you uncover surprising facts.

Here are several steps you can take to prepare for the launch of your new menu.

Technology Services for Restaurants

This data should be stored in your POS system regardless. But keeping track of your top menu items can offer some good clues as to what to keep the same and what to change on your menu.

Low performing menu items could be improved upon or swapped out. High performing menu items could be kept as-is, or you could also try some variations to gauge interest.

Consider implementing dashboards and business intelligence for your restaurant. By utilizing the data available, you can make educated decisions about your menu instead of just relying on your gut and feedback from the staff.

Find Influencers & Leverage Their Help

Most restaurant marketers merely advise finding local food bloggers and bringing them in to test out menu items and write about your restaurant.

Sure, you could do that, and it could help. But consider taking this a step further. Uncover who has mentioned your restaurant on social media or on their blogs. Take special note of anyone who has mentioned you more than twice. These are the people you should consider bringing in, because they clearly like what you have to offer.

It’s not that these people will be the biggest influencers with the largest following. But they could be your best evangelists, and if they are, they’ll be more willing to help you spread the word and offer constructive feedback.

So, instead of just reaching out to a group of faceless bloggers, maybe talk to your regulars and see if they’d be willing to help. Instagram has roughly one billion users, so there’s a good chance your patrons have an account. A good resource is the Yext platform to make sure your restaurant shows up no matter where, when, or how a customer is searching.

Invite Local Press

As important and ubiquitous as social media has become, the importance of traditional media can’t be denied. Inviting journalists in to taste your new dishes is a good way to build a connection with them. This could also lead to coverage and exposure for your restaurant. For instance, you could reach out to them when you’re ready to launch a new press release.

Gather Feedback

Again, going with your instincts with every decision could be a mistake. Why not rely on solid data to confirm or deny your gut feelings?

Online, you could run surveys or even ask your followers on social media. “Here’s what we’re thinking about doing next – what do you think?”

Offline, you could hold tasting parties or private events and get a sense of what your customers enjoy.

If menu items work well with people you trust to give you their honest opinion, then there’s a better chance your customer base at large will enjoy them too.

Conclusion

It can take a lot of work to put together a new menu. But the effort will be well worth it when you encourage more return visits, and you create more winning menu items that perform at a satisfactory level.

Again, rotating your menus on a regular basis is important, so take note of any tactics or ideas that help you devise a new menu and systematize the process to make it as easy as possible for future launches.

 Is An Online Interactive Menu Right For Your Restaurant?

If you’re interested in creating an interactive online menu or want to optimize your existing one, the team at DineEngine can help you realize your vision with enhanced user experience (UX) for restaurants. We listen to customer feedback when working on your restaurant’s digital experience, including your website, mobile application and, if you offer the option, in-house kiosks. We’re eager to hear about your digital goals so we can help your customers have the best possible experience – both online and in person.