Real-Life Menu Optimization: Real Restaurants. Real Success.

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More and more diners are searching for restaurants online, and takeout orders are on the rise. That means digital restaurant menus must work hard to make the right first impression and generate to-go sales that can maximize profits. To get the most out of your online menu, you must optimize it. Whether it’s highlighting popular, profitable items at the top of your digital menu, creating mouthwatering food descriptions, or including sides or beverage upsells to entrée items – there are several different strategies a restaurant operator can use in a menu optimization toolbelt. You might think a menu is just a menu, but your approach to your digital menu should be quite different than the one for your dine-in menu. Want to see how it all comes together? We’re sharing some real-life examples of how digital menu optimization has brought value to four unique restaurants.

Restaurant Success Story:
Digital Brings in the Dough

online menu screenshotA popular pizza place in Ridgefield, CT, enjoyed a consistent takeout business, as many consumers pick pizza as their top to-go cuisine. But after working with the ChowNow team to learn how to maximize profits through online food ordering, they edited their online menu to include more suggestive upsells – and some strategic organization of their popular profitable items. With these tweaks, they saw a significant bump in revenue generated from repeat customers’ online orders.

Prior to making these changes, the restaurant had all of their menu options listed on their online menu, but with no suggested add-ons or upsells. This presented an opportunity to increase a customer’s cart size with a few simple suggestions – taking advantage of the impulse buy. The restaurateur included popular add-on items such as garlic knots and garlic bread to all entrées, salads and pastas, along with beverage suggestions – encouraging their customers to add additional items to their cart, thus increasing average ticket size.

Menu modifiers

In addition to the added modifiers, this pizza restaurant created a category titled "Customer Favorites," and included the four most frequently ordered and high-profit items – which turned out to be especially powerful during their peak football and basketball seasons.

As a result of these changes to their digital menu, this restaurant’s gross sales for the month increased by 23% through their takeout sales alone.

Restaurant Success Story:
Amplifying Sales with Housemade Specialties

Menu add-onsAn independent Caribbean restaurant in Boca Raton, FL, is a hot spot for a taste of the tropics. They’re particularly passionate about their housemade juices, which are also loved by many of their loyal diners. With these strengths in mind, this operator looked to redesign their digital menu in a way that would increase their gross monthly volume and average ticket size.

They implemented two key tactics in their online menu to help reach this goal. First, they added a callout whenever someone clicked to purchase an entrée to ”Try Our Housemade Juice”. The juice is one of the most profitable and popular items at the restaurant, making this an add-on that customers would likely enjoy, and the restaurant would benefit from having added to the order.

Menu add-ons

The second change the restaurant made was to create a “Popular Items” category that included only profitable items like their signature specialties: jerk pasta dishes, flavorful seafood entrées and their ever-popular Barbi Fried Chicken. Then they moved this new section to the top of their digital menu, to help increase visibility for these dishes that would help catch customers’ eyes – and influence them to purchase these more profitable items.

After implementing these changes, the restaurant not only achieved their goals of increasing sales and average tickets; they actually increased their gross monthly volume by 23% from the previous month – and are continuing to see increased sales month-over-month.

Profits Graph

Restaurant Success Story:
Menu Reorganization Increases Ticket Size

Profitable itemsThis Mexican restaurant in Castle Rock, CO, is known for their fajitas, and has what many say are “the best in town.” While proud of their cuisine achievements, the owner was looking to focus on profitability as well as average ticket size.

Previously, an “a la carte” category was listed at the top of their online menu, but the owner noticed these items were some of his least profitable ones. With that finding in mind, it made sense to move the a la carte items down lower on the menu. He then chose to showcase at the top of the online menu their most profitable items – which happened to be the combo items.

In addition, this owner added a prompt to “Complete Your Meal” with a selection of popular – and profitable – sides, drinks and desserts on every entrée item, to help increase average ticket size.

Complete your mealThis simple reorganization and added add-on prompt increased the average ticket size from $43.15 to $57.84 in one month alone – a 35% increase. Furthermore, this restaurant’s gross monthly volume increased by 11% – an incredible achievement for the restaurant’s bottom line.

In this series of articles, we have learned that it is critical for restaurants to have a digital menu and an optimized digital presence to convert browsing consumers into buying customers. Optimizing your digital menu with strategic labeling and upselling and organizing your menu items for peak profitability can have a significant, positive effect on your restaurant’s revenue, as it did with the restaurants mentioned above. These techniques are just a few ways you can make an immediate impact on your business, whether it’s online or dine-in orders.

About ChowNow:
ChowNow powers an online food ordering system as part of CHECKTM Business Tools. ChowNow allows customers to place orders directly from a restaurant's website, Facebook page, Instagram profile and custom-built mobile apps – commission-free. Learn more about ChowNow by visiting online ordering in CHECK Business Tools.