25 Tips to Choose Restaurant Menu Items in Nigeria

Creating a restaurant menu can be overwhelming.

What dishes should you offer and what should you skip?

The ideal restaurant menu offers a balance of unique dishes and old favorites.

It also has the right food cost to maintain profits (ummm…which is extremely important) and can be easily reproduced in the kitchen during a busy dinner rush.

Restaurant Menu ItemsRestaurant Menu ItemsRestaurant Menu Items

25 Tips to Choose Restaurant Menu Items in Nigeria

1. Avoid Food Fads on Your Restaurant Menu

Just like fashion, there are trends and fads in restaurant menu items.

Remember micro-brew beers of the 1990s?

They were everywhere. Low-carb menu items were all the rage during the Atkins Diet phase.

Like those Co-Ed Naked t-shirts you wore in college and your favorite Kurt Cobain-esque flannel shirt.

Some food trends are really popular, but eventually fade away.

While you want your restaurant menu to be exciting and trendy, you need to keep perennial favorites as well.

Think of a burger and fries as the little black dress of your menu.

It can be dressed up – perhaps a California burger with guacamole and pepper jack cheese – or served plain.

Either way, it has staying power with most menus.

2. Have Low Food Cost

In order to keep profits up and prices affordable for customers.

Each item on your restaurant menu should be priced to determine its food cost- the actual amount it costs you to make the dish.

Pricey ingredients (truffles, anyone?) will result in pricey menus.

This doesn’t mean the food you order should be the cheapest available- quality is the most important aspect of creating menu items- but you need to balance high and low food costs to for a reasonable profit margin.

3. Keep Menu Dishes Easy to Prepare

Unless you are an ultra fine dining establishment.

The menu items coming out of your restaurant kitchen need to be moved quickly and efficiently through the line.

Any menu items that have fussy presentations can potentially bog down the kitchen staff during a lunch or dinner rush.

This doesn’t mean food needs to be thrown onto plates lunch-lady style.

You can still offer great presentations, but keep it simple.

4. Make your Menu Versatile

Cross utilization of menu items keeps food spoilage down.

And allows you to use ingredients in more than one dish.

For example, if you offer a homemade spinach and artichoke dip, try to offer other items that feature both spinach and artichokes.

It is also a good idea to update your menu periodically and remove items that aren’t selling.

5. Consider Buying Local Menu Ingredients 

The hottest food trend of the past decade is by far locally produced food.

This can be vegetables and fruit, beef, poultry, seafood, even beer.

People love local foods, preferably ones that have been grown or raised ethically and with sustainable farming methods.

The local food trends show no signs of slowing down.

It has been the number one trend for several years on the National Restaurant Association’s annual Culinary.

Forecast and is a hallmark of the most fashionable restaurants in the country.

But local isn’t just for fine dining.

Food trucks and small independent restaurants are just as likely to serve grass fed beef and free range chicken on their menu as some posh New York City restaurant.

Along better taste, less environmental footprint and helping boost your local economy, local foods are a great way to add perceived value to your restaurant menu and help your brand stand out from the competition.

You might have the best food in town, but if customers don’t order it, your restaurant is doomed.

That’s why it’s so important to make sure your menu is the best it can be.

Taking a few simple steps to plan, organize, and design your menu can make a world of difference to your restaurant’s success.

Here are 25 ideas that can help you take your restaurant menu to the next level.

6. ORGANIZE YOUR MENU LOGICALLY.

Don’t make your customers perform a scavenger hunt when they just want to eat.

Make it easy for them to find what they want by organizing in a way that makes sense—appetizers first, desserts last, etc.

7. GIVE YOUR BEST DISHES THE BEST PLACEMENT.

This might seem obvious, but don’t hide your star items.

Put them front and center where they’re easy to find!

Customers eyes are most often drawn to the upper right hand corner or the center of the page, so consider placing your biggest sellers in those locations.

8. BE RESOURCEFUL.

Do you have a burger on your menu? Add a few different toppings or a new sauce and you have an entirely different menu item without adding much cost. And if you offer a shrimp salad, create a shrimp pasta, pizza, or risotto dish as well to get the most out of your ingredients.

9. CREATE SOMETHING SPECIAL.

Lots of menus feature pizza, sandwiches, or salads, so make yours stand out.

Try tweaking a classic by adding a signature change that fits your restaurant’s brand.

10. KEEP YOUR LANGUAGE SIMPLE.

You might think your double ententes are funny and your pretentious cooking terms are sophisticated.

But they’ll probably just annoy your customers.

It’s okay to show some personality, but keep the focus on your food, not your words.

11. KEEP IT MANAGEABLE.

Simply put, one restaurant can’t possibly excel at every dish on a ten page menu.

It’s better to keep your menu on the shorter side and spotlight your strong points.

Customers would rather choose from 10 amazing dishes than 100 so-so ones.

12. UPDATE WHEN YOU NEED TO.

Food prices and availability change—so should your menu! Feel free to remove something that’s become too costly or to add in a few seasonal vegetables.

13. CHOOSE THE RIGHT VISUALS.

Don’t decorate your menu with generic clip-art; this is distracting and doesn’t add much for your customers. On the other hand, if you decide to include photos of your actual food, be sure to choose photos that make your dishes look as appetizing as possible. Food photography is tricky, so you might want to consider hiring a professional photographer.

14. PROOFREAD!

What’s more unappetizing than a typo? You definitely don’t want your customers to notice your mistakes instead of your food. Don’t just rely on spell-check; be sure to have multiple pairs of eyes look for errors.

15. KEEP IT SHORT.

Remember, you’re writing a menu, not a novel. Of course you want to include relevant information that will make your dishes sound delicious, but make sure your descriptions don’t get too long.

16. PAY ATTENTION TO COLOR.

What kind of cuisine do you serve? Does your restaurant have a theme? The answers to these questions can influence the colors you choose for your menu.

For example, a quiet French bistro would probably choose different colors than a boisterous Mexican place.

See also: most popular restaurant menu items

17. WATCH YOUR FONTS.

Never, ever use a font that’s hard to read! If your customers can’t read your menu, they won’t order anything off of it.

18. DON’T LAMINATE.

Once your menu is laminated, you’re stuck with it (unless you want to do some costly reprints).

You’ll probably want to change your menu at least once a year, so use plastic covers that make it easy to slide in a new menu.

19. GET FEEDBACK.

Have some customers read over your menu and give you their honest opinions.

Does everything sound good? Are your descriptions confusing? What needs to change?

20. KNOW YOUR COMPETITION.

If you’re a pizza place, check out other pizza joints in your area. What are their menus like? Their prices?

How can you make your menu stand out?

21. USE NUMBERS IF YOU NEED THEM.

Does your restaurant serve a cuisine that isn’t necessarily familiar to customers?

Customers might be reluctant to order something they can’t pronounce, so consider numbering meals to make it easier on them.

22. HAVE MORE THAN ONE MENU.

Remember, you don’t have to cram everything, from breakfast to drinks to dessert, onto the same menu.

Separate menus for different times of day or different courses can reduce distractions for your customers.

23. LABEL SPECIAL DISHES.

Do you offer vegetarian or vegan meals? What about gluten-free or heart-healthy dishes? Your customers with dietary restrictions will appreciate being able to easily find meals they can eat.

24. OFFER A VARIETY OF PRICES.

Of course it would be great if every customer ordered your most expensive menu item, but you have to provide choices for people with smaller budgets. Try including some sandwiches with your steaks.

Read also: most popular restaurant dishes in Nigeria

25. DON’T BE AFRAID TO CHANGE YOUR PRICES.

If ingredient prices have changed, don’t think you have to keep your menu prices the same just to keep customers happy. Chances are good that they won’t even notice a change, as long as it’s a small one!

Creating a great restaurant menu doesn’t have to be hard–just keep your customers in mind.

By creating a menu that’s engaging and easy-to-read while also reflecting your restaurant’s brand, you’ll put your restaurant on the right track!

A restaurant menu is the heart and soul of your business.

Careful thought should be given to what goes on it.

Obviously, taste is the most important factor, but you must also consider cost, popularity, versatility and preparation.

As you select menu items, make sure that the finished dish meets all of those requirements.

And don’t forget that no menu is set in stone.

It should be revisited often to ensure that it stays up-to-date, both with food trends and prices.


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