Mouth-Watering Menus: 4 Ways to Write Enticing Menu Descriptions
A boring restaurant menu is like a blank billboard – it fails to catch the eye and engage your customers. While your menu’s primary function is to allow visitors to select and order a meal, your menu descriptions and structure can also be a valuable tool for marketing, upselling, and increasing positive brand awareness.
In a world full of endless options, customers largely will base their decision to visit your restaurant on your menu. (Although 22% of adults are more likely to choose a restaurant if it has a custom mobile app.) A poorly written and designed menu can reflect poorly on your restaurant, no matter how delicious your food is. If you’re at a loss on how to optimize your existing menu, check out these menu ideas for writing enticing descriptions.
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1. Don’t skimp on the adjectives.
Would you rather eat a juicy cut of buttery skirt steak with seasoned vegetables or a steak and vegetable platter? The same menu item can evoke very different reactions based on how it’s described. In this sense, your menu descriptions are less about explaining and more about evoking a mouth-watering reaction. Utilizing adjectives such as sizzling, flavorful, tangy, etc. can stimulate the senses and create a craving.
Pro Tip: Spending extra effort to tastefully describe your higher-priced menu items will lead to more sales!
2. Know your brand voice.
Your brand voice and tone are combinations of your restaurant’s style, vibe and customer base. Ensuring that you write in a voice that supports your restaurant’s brand personality is essential to creating an effective menu. For example, if your restaurant is a lively, brunch eatery with endless mimosas located in a college town, your menu descriptions and brand voice shouldn’t be fancy and buttoned-up. It’s also safe to say that you shouldn’t name a 5-star restaurant menu item, “Rockin’ Garlic & Cheese Surf Fries.”
3. Be selective with pictures.
Increasingly, many restaurateurs are deciding to leave pictures off of their print menus, especially if they follow the menu best practices above. The more evocative and appetizing a written menu description is, the more readers will be thrown off or distracted by pictures.
However, when customers aren’t already sitting in your restaurant, pictures can play an important role. With online ordering, menu photos give diners a strong understanding of what they’re about to order. Just make sure that you’re selective about which photos you include. The goal is to pique diners’ interest, not to distract them.
Follow our tips for taking and sharing restaurant menu photos (without the expensive equipment!).
If your menu descriptions are more plain and straightforward, then pictures may be helpful. A study by the UK’s Durham University Business School confirmed this, noting that accompanying a more elaborate menu description with an image poses a risk, as the customer will judge if the picture really confirms what’s been written.
4. Optimize your menu for the web.
We live in a technology-driven world, especially when it comes to ordering food. As mentioned above, most customers will view your menu before ever making the decision to eat at your restaurant. As this is mostly done online, optimizing your menu descriptions for the web and mobile is vital to maximizing your visibility.
Revise your online menu descriptions to be shorter and more impactful while utilizing target keywords that’ll increase the chances of users finding you. Think of your online menu as an advertisement for the original – the primary goal is to convert rather than to describe.
Pro Tip: ChowNow’s online food ordering platform seamlessly transitions your customer from your online menu to placing an order. All you have to do is accept the order on your ChowNow provided tablet and get to work!
Your restaurant menu is an important piece of your overall marketing strategy. It informs, converts and drives business so it’s important to show it the TLC it deserves. From tasty adjectives to vibrant imagery, your menu holds the power to take your restaurant business from an underdog to neighborhood hotspot in no time!
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