Marketing, Restaurants

Menu strategy 101: 5 appetizing ways of promoting your menu

Learn 5 tips for distributing your menu to customers as widely as possible. You’ll want to add these to your menu strategy if you haven’t already!

A successful menu strategy doesn’t just involve deciding what you’ll serve at your restaurant or how you’ll present your dishes on a menu. It also calls for a detailed plan for sharing your menu with as many people as possible.

Because the more hands you put your menu into, the more customers you’re likely to entice to walk through your restaurant’s doors!

Therefore, you can’t just keep copies of your menu in your restaurant for handing out to customers only once they’ve been seated.

Your menu marketing needs to start way before that—so let’s check out five tips for distributing your menu to customers before they even set foot in your restaurant.

1. Give your menu an eye-catching design

How appealing is your menu’s design? No matter how many people you share your menu with, it isn’t going to get much interest if it looks dull and uninspiring. So make the effort to spice up its design first!

With this in mind, we really like Savage + Cooke’s menu:

The menu looks clean and elegant, where the restaurant has tastefully used large headings, borders, and graphics to draw your attention to the various menu sections.

We aren’t sure how Savage + Cooke designed their menu, but don’t fret if you’re thinking you’ll need to hire a pro graphic designer to achieve the same eye-catching result.

Using PosterMyWall, creating beautiful menus is as easy as customizing beautiful restaurant menu templates with your own text and images.

Try these menu design ideas for your own menu!

2. Ensure your menu is mobile-responsive

In the not-too-distant past, the only time customers may have interacted with your menu is when they browsed a hard copy of it in your restaurant. But nowadays, customers are also checking out menus online to decide whether to visit a restaurant in the first place.

And such customers may also be looking up your menu from their phones—so you’ll need to make it mobile-responsive!

A “mobile-responsive” menu is one that changes to a mobile-friendly design when viewed from a mobile phone. For example, observe what Katz’s Delicatessen’s menu looks like on the desktop version of its website:

Meanwhile, if you were to browse the same menu from your mobile phone, it would look like this instead:

From displaying four food items in a row on its desktop-optimized website, the delicatessen displays only two in a row on its mobile-optimized menu to account for the smaller screen space.

The menu’s headings have also become scrollable on mobile to help users browse the different menu sections easily.

How does your restaurant’s menu appear on mobile? If it doesn’t look great, speak to a web designer about making it more mobile-responsive!

3. Offer your menu in PDF format

The PDF file format doesn’t just apply to important documents. You can provide a PDF copy of your menu on your website for people to download to their device, too.

This way, they can browse it even if—and especially if—they happen to not have an Internet connection at that time.

And with the text in PDF files being searchable (unlike the text in images), customers can also conveniently search your menu for specific food or drink items they’re craving for.

Just make sure to advertise how you have made your menu available in PDF format. Au Cheval New York has done so by adding a neat but conspicuous “View PDF” button at the top of its menus:

4. Make your menu available on all platforms

On which online platforms have you established a presence for your restaurant? Add your menus to all of them.

At the very least, you should be displaying your menu on your website. But if you wanted to go a step further (and you should), you can also share your menu on:

  • Your social media accounts
  • The food delivery platforms on which you’ve listed your restaurant
  • Your Google Business Profile

Here’s an example of this tip in action, courtesy of Hargadon Bros. When you head over to the restaurant’s website, you’ll find its menu there:

Not only that, but Hargadon Bros’ menu is also on its Facebook page:

And last but not least, you can also find the restaurant’s menu on its Twitter feed!

5. Get your followers to help share your menu

To round off our guide, we’ll share one uncommon menu strategy that can work wonders if executed well: enlisting your followers’ help in sharing your menu.

And sure, you can just post a link to your menu on social media and ask your followers to share it. But this strategy will work better if you provide your followers with some incentive for doing so—such as a free appetizer or dessert.

You could also turn the whole scheme into a full-blown contest, where some lucky followers who share your menu could get to dine at your restaurant for free.

This is what Native Kitchen did to promote its menu:

Customers who helped the restaurant distribute hard copies of its menus were guaranteed a free pastry or coffee. Meanwhile, those who shared the restaurant’s menu on Facebook stood a chance to win a five-course meal for two!

Market your menu far and wide

How many of these menu marketing strategies are you hungry to try out? Whichever you choose for your restaurant, don’t forget about the first tip we shared—namely, to give your menu an eye-catching design before you start promoting it!

If you think your menu needs a revamp before you put these menu marketing strategies into action, our PosterMyWall platform provides a buffet of free menu templates, and a beginner-friendly design editor, to help you create the perfect restaurant menu.

You can also refer to these guides for more pointers on marketing your restaurant:

More such articles are available on the Gradient blog, so bookmark it as a handy resource for your restaurant marketing needs!