There’s no denying COVID19 has ravaged the restaurant industry on many levels. Mandated shutdowns, state enforced seating limits, staffing challenges, and the general concerns over safety and sanitation have left few restaurants unscathed.
Our focus has always been and remains fixed on the importance of the menu. The menu is every restaurant’s primary sales tool! What people eat, drink, and how much they spend is largely influenced by the guests’ experience with the menu – simply because that’s when such decisions are made. I know…mind blown, right?
Sadly, COVID19 has dealt a major blow to this sales tool. The concerns over sanitation have forced many restaurants into printing single use, disposable menus or adopting an unproven “touchless” option where many guests are viewing pdf documents of menus on their smartphones that are accessed via QR codes. Unfortunately, both options are damaging. Here’s why:
Printing single use, disposable menus is an unacceptable increase in menu expense (industry estimates range from a 5X-20X increase in pre-pandemic printing costs) and an environmental travesty. Consider that an average full service restaurant with a menu printing budget of $5,000 annually may now easily be spending $50,000 on printing at a time when sales are already drastically reduced due to lower guest volume. One word comes to mind…UNACCEPTABLE!
And the touchless / QR option that many restaurants have embraced is no better. Operators may think they are saving money. But they are paying for it in decreased sales and reduced quality of guest experience. It’s a shame that so many restaurateurs feel they needed to do this. It is even more shameful that this option was sold by vendors as a paid service when it costs nothing to provide. What most restaurant operators don’t know is that a QR code is nothing more than a weblink that can be created for free from any number of QR generation utilities available on the internet. Yes, you could simply update your menu on your website and create a free QR code that points to that address. This literally takes about 30 seconds to do. But even worse, the panic over menu sanitation has caused operators to overlook how much presentation of the menu impacts sales. Viewing the menu as a pdf document on a tiny screen is a terrible presentation! This option would NEVER have been adopted prior to the pandemic! Even worse, it offers no more safety to the guest because smartphones are far from clean. Unfortunately the touchless “solution” overzealously adopted by many restaurants simply removed liability from the operator to provide a clean menu at the expense of the need to provide a good menu experience. It’s like restaurants forgot how important the menu is to sales, allowing the pandemic to set menu engineering back 20 years.
So how can we help? For starters, if you’re going to go “touchless” at least use a menu platform that provides an enhanced menu experience rather than pointing people to a pdf online. Menuvative already provided the most informative and engaging menu experience that can be viewed from tablets, touchscreens, or smartphones long before COVID19 arrived. While we don’t feel viewing any menu is ideal on a small screen for a number of reasons, it’s vastly better than viewing a text menu on a small screen. We are offering a free license for a web embed/touchless only option as well as drastic discounts on our tablet menu license for 12 months as part of our COVID19 Recovery Program.
Wondering if this is right for you? Start by answering these questions:
- Have your menu costs increased significantly due to menu sanitation concerns?
- Are you using a “touchless” menu option that uses QR codes to point to a pdf of your menu?
- Are you changing your menu more frequently because of supply chain challenges and/or price fluctuations?
- Have you had to simplify and shorten your menu offerings because of COVID19?
- Do feel your guests are unaware of all the things you are doing to ensure their safety during the COVID 19 pandemic?
- Has your average check amount decreased since the COVID 19 pandemic began?
- Have you had to increase your menu prices because of COVID 19?
- Have you been forced to abandon or limit your table top marketing (such as features, specials, limited time offers ) for table sanitation reasons?
- Are your suggestive selling efforts less effective than they were a year ago?
- Does managing your menu content take up too much of your time?
- Are you concerned about the environmental impact of printing a new menu for every guest?
If you answered yes to some of these questions it is in your best interest to reevaluate how your are managing and presenting your menu. We can provide you a MUCH better option at little or no cost today, and put you in position to offer the best posible menu experience when the COVID19 pandemic subsides.