Engineer Your Menu To Increase Restaurant Customer Satisfaction

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Engineer Your Menu To Increase Restaurant Customer Satisfaction

The holiday rush is starting to set in and take over but to be successful in the 2015; you can’t wait until you’re over your head to plan for it.

When price, quality and flavor are close between you and your competition it’s the experience that people remember that help differentiate you from them.

Fast Casual writer Brenda Rick Smith said “you need to forget about targeting customers, and instead think about courting them.”

The consumer must be able to retrieve one’s restaurant from memory before it will be considered.

It is important to consider the consumer’s motivation for coming to your restaurant.

happy customer eating

Demographic variables can help differentiate you from your competition.

Personal statistics such as income, gender, education, location ethnicity, and family size can be your ticket to satisfying your customers.

Campbell soup, for instance, has found that Western U.S. consumers on the average prefer spicier soups—thus, you get a different product in the same cans at the East and West coasts.

Some consumers want to be seen as similar to others, while a different segment wants to stand apart from the crowd.

customer satisfaction

The amount of effort a consumer puts into searching depends on a number of factors such as the market, how many competitors are there, and how great are differences between them?

Once you get them to your restaurant and seated at a table or online looking to place an order your menu is the deal sealer or breaker!

Engineer Your Menu To Increase Restaurant Customer Satisfaction

Two interesting issues you should think about this coming New Year that can help you deliver what your customers want:

Variety Seeking Diner!

~Try something new not because they expected it to be “better” in any way, but rather because the consumer wants a change of pace!

Repeated choice of a specific menu item reduces its stimulation potential for the customer because the choice is no longer novel.

This leads to a perception of boredom and the consumer may attempt to increase stimulation by switching to something different or novel in the choice.

The frequency of dining-out will positively influence variety seeking intention.

Does your menu have selections enticing enough when your customer is wanting a change of pace?

“Impulse” Unplanned Choice Diner!

This is the opposite of a variety seeker!

You know those who are set in their ways and always go with the old stand by instead of trying something NEW.

~Unplanned choice for example, a customer may plan to have their favorite steak selection entree but suddenly decide to have an entree salad instead. What caused that sudden change! Could be dieting and health related. How can you entice your diners to be impulsive?

How do you satisfy the customer who is looking for variety and how to get a regular dining customer to try something new

Entice Diners With Menu Psychology!

Using Menu Psychology to Entice Diners

In the restaurant business, the term menu engineering – the process by which you create the perfect menu to entice your customers and keep them coming back to order the same dish or try new ones.

Used correctly the restaurant menu guides diners to choose the items you want them to order. With clever, strategic menu engineering, you can steer your diners to try a different selection.

The Language of Food

According to Charles Spence if you give a dish an ethnic label, such as an Italian name, people will find the food more authentic and evocative. Calling your pasta dish, “Grandma Bella’s Barcelona Noodles,” has more impact than spaghetti and meatballs. Charles Spence-Professor of Experimental Psychology & University Lecturer, Somerville College who looks at the role of attention in multi-sensory perception, including sensory perception of food.

Descriptive items keep your customers coming back. Even if it really is just spaghetti and meatballs, diners will think they can only get them at your restaurant, and they’ll return again and again.

Researchers at Cornell University found that using descriptive menu–item labels increases food sales and improves the attitude your customers have towards both the food and the restaurant.

Another study shows that using descriptive menu labels can raise sales by as much as 25%, compared to food items without tantalizing text.

Using text that brings the ultimate sensory experience to your menu making your diner more likely to be satisfied at the end of the meal

The more adjectives, the better the chances your customer will try something new!

Consider this text description for chocolate cake: made from scratch in our kitchen, this tender cake is laced with freshly-opened vanilla beans and topped with our secret homemade, whipped by hand cocoa espresso frosting.


Plan the Layout

The organization of your menu is a key guiding factor. It makes your menu more accessible and encourages customers to order.


Data also suggests limiting the amount of items in each category to 6-10 considering your restaurant type.


Use Visual Aids

Draw a line around your menu item and its description, and diners will order it.

If you want to promote something, set it apart from the rest of the menu.

Another way to do this is with photos , using them sparingly guides diners to the items you want them to purchase.

Package the Meal

Don’t overlook the package deal, or the psychological up-sell. Apple-bees, Chili’s, and several other chains have adopted this package deal.


In a strategy called bracketing, many menus offer the same dish in two different sizes. Even McDonald’s is offering this option.  It costs you less money on raw materials to make the smaller portion, and the increase of cost to price is a larger gap than that of the larger size. You are actually making a larger profit on the smaller portion and your getting the customer to try something in a smaller version, making them think if they don’t care for the item they didn’t spend money on a full portion.

Your goal, is that they do like it and perhaps they will give other menu items a try in the smaller portion size.

Make menu engineering a number one priority at your restaurant by carefully and creatively putting thought into the way you design and write your menu for your increased success.

design and engineer your menu to make easy for your diners choose an item

Looking for a way to engineer your menu? Contact us today – we’d love to help you engineer your menu!


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