In March, we held a live chat in the PMQ Think Tank forum about Menu Design with Josh Davis from Mail Shark. Attendees asked questions about item placement, pricing, etc. Here I’ll share five of the main tips to help you assess your most profitable menu items.
5 Tips For Profitable Menu Design from Mail Shark’s Josh Davis
1. Traditionally, appetizers typically start out a menu from left and then move to the right. However, it should not be a one size fits all strategy. Because consumers don’t read a menu like a novel, they scan through it. Use proven eye scanning patterns to strategically place your highest grossing items and other key items.
2. Add mouth-watering descriptions to key items instead of just listing the ingredients. Use photos sparingly; less is more.
3. Remove the $ signs from the menu. This has some evidence behind it. Menus that have $ sign symbols will yield lower spending than those that do not.
4. The way prices are listed is very important. Many pizza menus that we see still list all of the prices from lowest to highest and aligned to the right of the column leading with “……..” This allows the customer to scan right down the column and find the cheapest item. It also puts too much emphasis on price. By discreetly moving the price of an item, it allows guests to purchase what they want instead of purchasing based on price. Have prices discreetly tagged on at the end of each item’s description with two spaces in between the period in the description and the price.
5. Where an item is placed in a category does matter. Consider placing the three items you want to sell most first, second and last within each category. Place the lower profit items in the middle or center positions. This is known as the serial positions effect. Studies show that when presented with a list of words you tend to remember the first few words (the primacy effect) and the last few words (the recency effect). The only exception is with kids menus. Kids always remember the last thing you tell them, so place the highest profit kids item last in the category.