Menu anxiety. It’s a real thing.

Menu anxiety affects over 30% of diners and is defined by distress when ordering a meal at a restaurant. If you have too many menu items to choose from, your customers will become stressed and anxious.

Menu anxiety for customers, especially new ones, will happen if they’re overwhelmed by a too large or complicated menu. And if they are overwhelmed or confused, they won’t come back. It’s why you won’t find me at a Cheesecake Factory.

Huge menus create anxiety because people don’t know what to pick.

They might wonder how you are keeping all those ingredients fresh. You only have so much space. You only have so much staff. How can you do 342 menu items? They might have FOMO (the fear of missing out) and want to choose the “right” item. It’s impossible, and it’s overwhelming for your customers. You can’t be all things to all people. You need an identity that is uniquely yours.

The Secret To Menu Success

Ask yourself:

What makes you the most profit?
What items do your customers love that get ordered most often?
How can you better describe those pared-down items?
Do the dishes define your restaurant’s style?

Describe it so it is tantalizing to your customers; make it irresistible. Don’t get into too much detail. You can say, “It’s from Cherry Creek Farms, a local producer,” but they might not need to know it’s butchered on a Tuesday.

There is a point where it’s too much information. It’s information overload. You could say, “It’s an 8oz. organic grass-fed ribeye grill to perfection”. Keep it simple so that your customers will understand what you are serving.

If you add unfamiliar ingredients and spices they’ve never heard of, they won’t order it because confusion kills sales. Or, your staff needs to be really, really good at offering clarity and guidance.

Tips for Menu Creation

Know Your Audience and Yourself: Understand the preferences and desires of your target audience, but also keep in mind your style. This helps create a clear identity for your restaurant and makes it easier for customers to understand the type of dining experience you offer. I’ve seen menus with random additions on menus like an Asian noodle dish at an Italian bistro. It’s incongruous.

Keep It Simple: Avoid overcomplicating the menu with too many choices or intricate descriptions. Offer a concise selection of dishes that showcase your restaurant’s specialties and unique flavors and styles.

Highlight Signature Dishes: Feature your restaurant’s standout dishes or specialties prominently on the menu. Use eye-catching fonts, colors, or symbols to draw attention to these items and entice diners to try them.

Provide Clear Descriptions: Use straightforward language to describe each dish, including key ingredients and preparation methods. Avoid overly technical jargon or ambiguous terms that might confuse diners.

Provide Visual Aids: Consider including high-quality photos or illustrations of select dishes to help diners visualize what they’re ordering. Make sure the images accurately represent the portion size and presentation of the actual dish.

Use Readable Fonts and Layout: Choose a clean and readable font for your menu, and ensure the layout is easy to follow. Avoid overcrowding the page and use space effectively. This is especially important if your customers are older or your restaurant is dark. Don’t make me pull out my phone flashlight!

Your Menu Is Your #1 Inhouse Marketing Tool

Your menu items should be described to sell. Don’t be confusing. Be simple, concise, and curated down to a manageable number of options. Adhere to that and provide exceptional value to your customers, and customers will return again and again.

Eliminate menu anxiety and watch your sales soar!

Our Best Dish That You Have To Have

This works better than anything else that my company does to pump up sales for restaurant owners—any time of the year when you have a busy time followed by a slow time.

You can do this promotion yourself. Get red envelopes, decide on prizes, design everything, then print, stuff, and seal the certificates. Remember to use all the tricks I shared above.

Or, we can do it all for you and save you the time and hassle for less than a pack of gum per envelope.
You can get the information on our website at DFYREDENVELOPE.COM. We’ve been doing it for the past 18 years. We know what we’re doing. My staff is awesome at this promotion.

We can do the whole thing for you for much less than you can do for yourself. We’re working in massive quantities which gives us leverage. And we can do it correctly because we know what works with different styles of restaurants.

Michael Thibault

Known as “The Done For You Marketing Guy for Restaurants.” International Speaker on Restaurant Marketing. Published contributing author of 4 Marketing Books. Industry expert on Google Searches and Review Sites. Recovering Independent Restaurant Owner and Caterer of over 21 years. And, all-around good guy.