The Benefits of Having a Simple Restaurant Menu

Published By: Leon Tuberman  -  Tuesday, June 19, 2018

As a restaurant owner, you’ve got a million and one things on your mind at any given moment. From how your restaurant furnishings should be arranged to covering shifts for employees who called in, very rarely is a simple day experienced. When it comes to restaurant menus, though, simplicity may be the best course of action. Instead of offering an abundance of options, why not shorten things up? While it may seem counterintuitive, there are actually several benefits to a smaller, simpler menu.

Provides Clarity for Your Brand and Concept
Though it seems appealing to offer any menu item that a person could think of, this could end up clouding your concept. There are actually restaurants out there that sell enchiladas, hamburgers, Chinese food and Italian all in the same place. This certainly provides a little something for everyone, but it also detracts from your brand. If most people just get a burger and fries, the other items might not be necessary.

This doesn’t mean that you have to get rid of several items. Instead, look at your numbers and see what sells exceptionally well. This will tell you your target audience. Spend your time convincing them to occupy your restaurant furnishings, and you’ll end up saving money on ingredients and have the ability to excel in what patrons expect from you.

Food Becomes More Fresh
When you have an extensive menu with tons of choices for everyone, you’ve essentially backed yourself into a corner where you have to consistently purchase large numbers of ingredients. Unfortunately, every meal doesn’t use the exact same items, so you’ll have a variety of produce and other items on your hands.

This essentially means your items are going to be used less frequently, which results in your foods being prepared from ingredients that might not be as fresh as you’d like. While the inebriated couple occupying the bar table by the television might not notice a lack of freshness, many of your other customers will.

Patrons Have an Easier Time Ordering
Having a ton of options sounds like it would be a good thing. As it turns out, though, consumers can actually suffer from decision fatigue if they’re presented with too many choices. This essentially means they’ll be less happy with whatever their final decision is. After all, they could’ve had that amazing looking burger instead of that burrito.

When menus are smaller and simpler, your guests will be able to quickly scan and see all their choices. This makes their decision much simpler, and in the end, it makes ordering go by faster. This of course results in quicker table turnovers, which also means more money on any given day. This benefit alone should give you pause before building an eight-page menu.

Applebee’s, Chili’s and a variety of other corporate restaurants have done quite well with larger menus. It should be noted, though, that they prepare many of their dishes with the exact same items. While your restaurant may do quite well with a complex menu with tons of options, you should at least consider the alternative. 

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