Digitization has impacted every industry and sector, and the restaurant business is no exception. From free Wi-Fi to online orders and digital menu boards, the restaurant industry has adopted various technological elements to match with the prevailing digital requirements of the contemporary lifestyle.
It is important to mention here that both diners and restaurants agree on the positive impacts of technology and digitization. Around 73% of customers say that the use of technology by restaurants improves their guest experience. Similarly, of restaurant owners agree that technology and digitization have improved their business efficiency.
On the other hand, technology has also pushed restaurants to be more diligent in how they present themselves to consumers. One survey suggests that almost 2 in 3 diners don’t want to visit a restaurant after seeing its website. Similarly, fewer people place their meal orders with a restaurant if they are not swayed by its digital menu.
In other words, no matter how good is your food and onsite customer service, if your website and digital menu don’t click with consumers, you can lose online orders as well carryout and dine-in bookings. In this post, we will share a detailed outline of how to go about digital menus for your restaurant. With a well-thought-out digital menu, a restaurant can:
- Create a great first impression on online visitors
- Improve its volume of online orders
- Carry out better branding exercise
- Witness an uptick in takeaways and dine-in foot traffic
The Basic “Ingredients” of the Menu
Like how every recipe has some basic ingredients, a restaurant menu also has some essential elements that must be there irrespective of its form (digital or conventional hardcopy). For instance, the name of the meal, its short description, its ingredients, and a photo are some standard features of any restaurant menu. Make sure these four elements are present in your restaurant’s digital menu.
Every menu has more or less those features; so, how your restaurant’s digital menu can stand out among others while using the same elements?
Here are some tips that can help you make your menu better looking than the most digital menus on the block.
Name with a Twist
Although taste is always the most influential factor that drives customers’ decisions, the name of the meal/dish also plays a significant role. It might add a tinge to the appetite and craving and push people to order sooner than later. Everyone is selling cheese chicken and beef burgers. However, not everyone is selling Mighty Zingers Whoppers, and Quarter Pounders, etc.
Therefore, avoid using uninspiring, obvious meal/dish names on your digital menu. They should have a twist of superlatives or adjectives that make their names quick to notice by customers.
Description with a Story to Tell
A standard meal description is about weaving a couple of sentences around the dish’s ingredients to make it appear more scrumptious and crave-worthy. However, this format has been done to death and has lost its charm. Most people now just skim through it to learn about the ingredients.
If you want to do something different from those boilerplate descriptions, you can go for storytelling. Food storytelling is quickly becoming popular in the food and restaurant business. A dish with an intriguing story to tell always finds more customers than a dish with no synopsis.
Almost every recipe and dish have some background details (from where it originated, how it came about, how it has evolved over the years, etc.). You can use those details to develop a story for better persuasion. You can take creative liberty and use some hyperboles to make the story more impactful. Also, don’t forget to plug some of the ingredients in the story. One more important thing is to stay away from any negative connotations in the story since you are not reviewing the dish but selling it.
The idea of a story-like description is to engage consumers while simultaneously convincing them to order that dish. With digital menus, those stories can easily accommodate without increasing the pages of the menu manifold. You can add this story to the digital menu within a collapsible tab/window to ensure the story’s length doesn’t mess up with the rest of the formatting of the menu.
Realistic Food Photos with Illustrations
Photos are an essential element of any restaurant’s menu, be it digital or regular printed ones. The idea behind using high-definition food close-ups is to stimulate the appetite of a customer further who is glancing through the menu. However, there has been a recurring complaint by customers over the years, i.e., the food was nothing like it was shown in pictures. This is bound to happen when restaurants would use stock or heavily edited photos to promote their menu. Hence, when customers now see a high-definition, too-good-to-be-true food photography on the menu, they ignore it.
If you want customers to pay attention to your menu and its visuals, you should stick to using real photos of what your restaurant kitchen is making. Take pictures of the items on the menu that are available in your restaurant and without trying to make them look perfect. Those realistic pictures will be more effective in increasing the customers’ craving and appetite.
Digital art is all the rage these days. You can also incorporate it in your digital menu around your branding theme and foods. A detailed illustration making the backdrop of your digital menu will create a cool and contemporary image of your restaurant.
Extensive Categorization Is Important
The one benefit of having a digital restaurant menu is you don’t have to stress over its length. Customers don’t mind sifting through a detailed digital menu when compared to lengthy printed menus that look like booklets. So, try to break down your menu into all the possible categories. Besides foods, drinks, main courses, sides, appetizers, there are various other ways to categorize the digital menu of your restaurant.
For instance, you can carve a category with the title “sourced from.” This can include sub-categories like sea, rivers, lakes, farms, pastures, etc. Today many people are conscious of how their meals are sourced. All those customers will like to go through that category.
You can also use categories such as “flavor profile” (salty, spicy, sweet, and savory) and “diet” (vegetarian, keto, paleo, gluten-free, etc.) to add more depth to your digital menu. With such a detailed and branched-out digital menu, you will succeed in catering to an extended consumer base with their peculiar likes and preferences.
Have a Clever Use of Boxes
A box among the listicle of items always grabs attention. You can use this visual superiority of the box on the menu to promote your items that boast the best margins. However, refrain from using too many boxes if you want to project items in boxes as something “special”. Also, make sure the description of a boxed dish/food/drink should be somewhere different than the rest of the menu entries.
Pick a Well-Thought-Out Color Scheme
Your digital restaurant should boast a well-thought-out color scheme. By well-thought-out we mean, you should not just pick random easy-on-the-eyes colors for the design.
Factor in these two things while picking the color scheme of your digital menu.
Refer to Your Brand Colors
You must represent your restaurant’s brand colors in some shades on your digital menu. Using brand colors in the backdrop of the menu subconsciously improves the recall value of your business among the target consumer base.
Leverage Colors’ Psychological Effects
Various studies have proven that colors affect our mood. In other words, colors have the power to stimulate and manipulate the psyche of an individual. In this context, a category of “appetizing colors” has also emerged. Red, yellow, and green with their different shades are considered more appetizing than the rest.
On the other hand, blue, black, and purple are considered non-appetizing shades due to their extended association with synthetic and toxic substances.
In short, keep the appetizing factor in mind while putting together the color palette for your restaurant’s digital menu.
Don’t Focus too Much on Prices
You should be transparent about food prices on the menu. However, you don’t need to go overboard with this transparency. For instance, don’t highlight the price with a big bold font where customers can’t see beyond how much they will spend on eating a particular dish. You can also omit the currency signs from the prices to make them look less intimidating where customers can order their favorite stuff without stressing over prices.
A Good Digital Menu Need a Robust Website and Application
A well-thought-out, well-designed digital menu is of no use if it’s not presented on an interactive, user-friendly restaurant website or a mobile application. This is where MenuCRM can help you with its expertise in web, mobile application, and web application development. Its experts can provide your restaurants with robust online platforms through which you can reach customers with your ingenious digital menus.
Contact MenuCRM today to get this work started!