Hand-held copies of restaurant menus are no longer in vogue. Very soon, they are also likely to become things of the past. With digitization spreading roots in every industry possible and the number of smartphones surpassing the human population, it is also wise that restaurants replace hard bound menu cards with a digital menu as it will benefit them in several ways. The decision to embrace a digital menu in the place of a physical hand-held menu is not just cost-effective, but also brings the entire menu under one single appealing sight of the customer.
Use Digital Menus for better customer engagement, behavioral understanding and upselling techniques
WHAT IS A DIGITAL MENU?
Simply put, a digital menu is an online digitized version of a conventional restaurant menu. It is made available to customers through QR codes. A customer at the restaurant’s table scans the QR code provided through their smartphone camera and has a quick glance at the menu.
While the term digital menu and online menu are used interchangeably, an online menu also refers to the menu made available on a restaurant’s website.
WHY SHOULD A RESTAURANT RESORT TO A DIGITAL MENU?
To understand why a restaurant must start using a digital menu, it would be sufficient to look at the current challenges that a paper menu poses. The compelling need for digitization of menus arises due to the following reasons:
- Customer Attention Not Completely Captured – A recent survey says that a physical menu does not provide all the information that a customer looks for while trying to make a food order. This insufficient information leaves 86% of customers confused while at the restaurant table.
- Update Difficulties – Updating a physical menu card with latest food offerings is difficult. Instant changes, in accordance with the latest offers in the food items, cannot be made.
- Paper Quality – Most of the physical menus get easily stained and ruined with water or greasy products. With touch being avoided at most places due to the Covid -19 pandemic situation, people have started preferring to order food without touching surfaces used by others.
- Expensive, Time Consuming – Most restaurants print their menu thrice in a year resulting in high printing costs. Designing, approving and printing the menu is a tedious process. Money spent on menu printing is definitely a liability and, in no way, an investment.
FEATURES OF A DIGITAL MENU
- In-Built Scheduling – Digital menus have an in-built scheduling system that facilitates automatic display of certain offers, menu items or advertisements based on a specific time of the day. A fast-food restaurant can quickly shift certain menu items from the breakfast section to the lunch or dinner category without changing the signage manually. Since every menu item is digitally scheduled, it saves a lot of time and money for a restaurant in the long run.
- Technology that is time and cost efficient – Digital menus reduce overhead costs to a great extent. It eliminates the worry of having to change to a new menu card every time there is a change in the availability of menu items, their prices and other special offers.
- Offer Specific Content Creation – The content for a restaurant is constantly evolving. To communicate the latest information to the restaurant visitors, content has to be customized for special occasions. A digital menu makes content customization simple and easy allowing the restaurant to evolve in every possible way to suit the present needs of the business and the customer.Unique filters can also be added to highlight the latest promotions.
- User-Friendly Interface – A digital menu offers the diner a simple user interface that requires no technical knowledge or expertise to operate and make food orders. Since the menu is in the hands of the customer to see, they will find it more convenient to place food orders, rather than someone else writing down their orders.
- Playback Options – When high-quality content that is also enticing, stimulating and easy to understand, customers engagement is efficiently achieved. A digital menu offers a restaurant the opportunity of changing the playback options based on what is appropriate for the moment and what is likely to create more engagement.
10 TIPS FOR CREATING THE BEST DIGITAL MENU DESIGN
- Cost-Effective – Digital menus reduce the expenses made on revamping and reprinting menus on a regular basis. Changes in the design, prices, available menu items, special offers, discounts of the day, etc. can be made on a real-time basis.
- Strategic Menu Placement – A digital menu enables the restaurant to strategically place menu items, giving more prominence to the ones that yield high revenue. Items that do not bring in much revenue can also be offered with customized discounts via a digital menu.
- An Upselling Platform – Digital menus allow restaurants to exhibit their exotic dishes in an appealing and enticing manner. This kickstarts the process of upselling as customers are lured into ordering that food item. A digital menu also encompasses promotional templates about exciting offers and deals.
- Cross-Selling – A digital menu can help to sell supplementary menu items that are associated with the main menu that the diner is about to order. Through promotional templates, restaurants can boost the sales of appetizers, desserts, beverages and even combo meals. Thus, customers are enticed into ordering more than what they actually intended to.
- Streamlines Ordering System – With a digital menu and an integrated ordering system in place, the waiting time gets reduced. Restaurant staff are able to serve diners quickly. By serving a greater number of guests, the profit of the restaurant also increases.
- Limited Period Offers – Restaurants can introduce, execute and withdraw limited period offers and promotions in a flexible and instant manner. Digitization eliminates the need to print pamphlets, display or distribute them, hence reducing associated overhead expenses.
- Better Visual Engagement – People tend to engage better and deeper with high-quality images. When they are asked to use a digital menu to place food orders, they get excited. Visuals tingle their senses and make them yearn to try the menu item just by looking at its stunning visuals on the digital menu.
- Price Updates – Changes in prices can be made on a digital menu in a few clicks. Price changes can be brought into immediate effect without having to wait for the newly updated menu to get printed and delivered.
- Automatic Display – Since a digital menu is integrated with real-time devices, it uses the dayparting program. It automatically displays breakfast, lunch or dinner based on the time of the day. Customers will be able to see the variety of meal-courses that are usually available during a specific time of the day at the restaurant. With relevant menu items, offers and promotions being displayed according to the time of the day, restaurants maximize their sales and eventually, profits.
- Calorie Count Display – Several countries and federal laws have made it mandatory for restaurants to display calorie count for every meal item on the menu list. With a digital menu, even if the order gets customized (or if the menu items get changed or updated), a customer will easily be able to see the calorie count of the food before they place an order.
HOW TO ACCESS A DIGITAL MENU?
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced the restaurant industry to adapt rapid changes in its standard operational procedures. While adopting and practicing the upgraded industry standards as precautionary measures to ensure utmost safety for customers, restaurants must also let customers know about the measures being taken. It is a signal to customers that the restaurant always remains committed to their safety and good health.
A digital menu that can be accessed with a QR code is very effective in this regard. A QR menu addresses the safety and hygiene requirements of restaurants. It offers a touch-free and germ-free menu experience for customers.
While scanning a QR code is downright simple, a restaurant can also make use of a guiding infographic for customers without the technical knowledge to understand the process.
DIGITAL MENU EXAMPLES
Following are classic examples of widely acclaimed digital menus. With captivating photographs, minimal (yet effective) text and a balanced layout, they fulfill the requirements of every customer frequenting a restaurant and trying to place a food order without any assistance from the restaurant managers.
BEST DIGITAL MENU BUILDER TOOLS
Having an online and digital menu is essential for every restaurant that wishes to prosper in this pandemic hit industry. A professionally created restaurant website is ideal for all kinds of digitized promotions and sales transactions. With the menu integrated on the website and a complementary digital menu at the table, the restaurant is all set to amaze customers with its automation efforts and also benefit from the additional revenue generated.
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