First impressions highlight every successful sale. With all the nomenclature associated with the restaurant business, the title of salesman doesn’t fit in a retaurants line-up, but in reality it iswhat we do. We are all simply selling food, beverage, and enjoyment. Like every other salesman, on the road, we each need tools to describe our product and help us define our pitch to close the deal. Hence, the menu.
Why then, do so many menus – those tools of our trade- look as though they are historical documents found at the dump. How do weather beaten, dirty, crinkled, crumpled, cut, torn, and the worst of all, food spattered menus with small particulars from sloppy Joey and his little brother Billy´s spittle continue to make it to the table?
Are we so blind by our titles that we loose focus of the table? Are we hiring such inefficient prospects of the stage and screen they cannot differentiate between clean and shouldn´t be seen? This isn´t to say we should sell the farm in our quest of a lithograph describing each day´s selection. However, cleanliness is next to the salesmen´s tip cup. Bring that up at the next shift meeting. In the meantime- ten tips on menu efficiency.
1). Keep it simple. Nobody has ever left a restaurant because the menu wasn´t complicated.
2). Write it in English, even if you think you are the greatest French restaurant in Apple Valley, Wisconsin.
3). If you can design your menu so that it can be frequently printed at Kinko or on your office printer that´s even better.
4). Don´t feature something that is coming next week. It doesn´t help in selling customers on that day´s selection.
5). Make sure your servers know the items on the menu. This is especially important if you change items frequently.
6). Thomas Keller presents a wonderful menu at Bouchon in Yountville, California. A folded, wrapped piece of simple artwork, similar to parchment tpaper, embraces the folded linen napkin on the plate. Classy, alleviating the wait for host to find or server to bring.
7). Review the menus daily before each shift and make sure they are clean. Toss the bad ones.
8). Menu covers are a solution. They must be wiped down regularly. Don´t use window cleaner. It will discolor the plastic on the five-buck cover. It will also carry an awful smell to the table, leaving the customer with a bad taste in their mouths.
9). Make sure the name, address and phone number of your restaurant is on your menu.
10). If you are going to feature your chef, managers, and other employees on your menu, don´t print too many.