2011 August: Marketing Matters

Comedian Buddy Hackett is noted as saying: “As a child, my family’s menu consisted of two choices: take it or leave it.” Menus are not quite as simple anymore. Today’s pizzeria menu should tell consumers a unique story about the restaurant and the product. When menus are created in such a fashion, they act as powerful tools to sell your product and your concept.

Recently, I presented a seminar at a food show. I used an exercise where the audience was given two menus to peruse, andthen I simply asked them what each one was using to sell. The group’s answer to menu one was “price.” Their answer to menu two was unanimously “pizza.” Seeing the menus side by side made it a no brainer for the majority of the audience. Yet, this was also an “Aha!” moment. What made menu two awe the audience? The pizzeria knew its concept and was able to communicate about it effectively.

Note these tips from Linda Duke of Duke Marketing, LLC:

No matter how great a food photo looks or how mouth-watering a description is, the food needs to taste good. Communicate to the staff to get the dish right every time.

Compare menu items and price points with the competition. Your signature items and theirs should not be alike; otherwise what makes your restaurant special? Signature and unique menu items are important to promote. These menu items will generate positive word of mouth, create guest loyalty and characterize the personality of the restaurant.

Update menus regularly, even if your restaurant does not change menu items. Nobody wants to eat food when reading a dirty menu.

Make the menu available online. This is especially important to savvy Generation Y consumers and for to-go customers.

Do not forget to list restaurant locations, hours of operation and contact information on the menu –– especially important for local store marketing.

Dining out should not be about the price, it should be about the experience. Lose the dollar signs so consumers will forget its money that they’re spending.

The NRA tells us that 52 percent of adults indicate they are likely to make a restaurant choice based on how much a restaurant supports charitable activities and the local community. Including subtle statements like “locally owned and operated,” “the official pizza of XYZ” or “proud supporter of ABC” motivates people to support your business. Also, note that 68 percent of money spent in a local independent restaurant stays within the community. These assertions tell people you care about them and their community.

Engineering the menu will enhance the dining experience and increase profits.

Scott Anthony is a Fox’s Pizza Den franchisee in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. He is a monthly contributor to Pizza Today and a frequent guest speaker at Pizza Expo.