Menu Description | 4 mins read

7 Tips For Writing Profit-Boosting Menu Descriptions

7 tips for writing profit boosting menu descriptions
Hanh Truong

By Hanh Truong

Introduction to Menu Descriptions

Menus are one of the first things customers encounter at a restaurant. It not only helps to convey the tone of the eatery but also outlines its unique offerings. When diners see appealing and appetizing descriptions on the menu, they are more likely to order it.

In fact, a 2019 study found that details on a menu trigger 45% of customers' buying decisions. Therefore, to boost sales and profits, restaurant owners need to create an effective menu description for each of their dishes.

Why Menu Descriptions Are Important

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A restaurant menu is an integral component of an eatery's profitability. According to a study from Cornell University, descriptive words on menus increase sales by 27%. It also enhances the possibility of repeat business, in which guests return for the same dish or for another item. Additionally, detailed menu descriptions eliminate any confusion or questions about a dish. Diners can then quickly order, which will help speed up the table turnover rate.

Restaurants can also set themselves apart and differentiate themselves from their competitors with menu descriptions. With the right wording and imagery, the food will appear unique and distinctive. For example, instead of just listing ingredients, the eatery can describe how its vegetables are homegrown or locally-sourced. This will entice customers, increase restaurant traffic, and help justify the menu item's price.

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7 Tips For Writing Menu Descriptions

The following are some best practices for writing profit-enhancing menu descriptions.

1. Stimulate the Senses

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Menu items should have an appetizing name and description that will trigger the reader's senses. Using words like slow-cooked, fresh, or hand-pulled, will persuade diners to put in an order. However, it is important to find a balance with the description length. If it is too long or has too many adjectives, guests will lose interest or get confused. When choosing key descriptors for a dish, restaurateurs should consider the following sensory terms.

  • Taste - Fruity, nutty, tangy, and smoky
  • Texture - Chewy, creamy, delicate, and tender
  • Preparation Method - Caramelized, roasted, sauteed, pan-seared, and marinated

2. Mention Location to Show Quality

Including the source of an ingredient will suggest its high quality and how unique, and expensive the overall item is. For example, many restaurants will note in their menu that their wines come from Bordeaux, France, or Tuscany. This detail conveys its authenticity and high-price. Eateries should ask their vendors what location their goods, such as spices, could be traced.

Many customers also like eating locally sourced ingredients. In fact, a Nielsen study reported that buying local is a top priority for 46% of American consumers. So if a restaurant has any local dishes, it would be advantageous to highlight them on the menu.

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3. Avoid the Currency Symbol

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Case studies revealed that restaurant guests typically order lower-priced items when the currency sign is located next to the price. To prevent this from happening, restaurateurs should remove the symbol and place the price next to the menu descriptions. They should also round the price to the nearest dollar. This will help organize the menu design and ensure that guests will not be distracted by the price.

4. Include a Backstory

Incorporating a short history behind the menu item will help connect guests to the dish. For example, owners can mention how the recipe was passed down from multiple generations. The menu can also include a quick narrative of how the chef came up with the dish. These backstories will help restaurants reinforce their brand and showcase their distinctiveness.

5. Highlight Dietary Customs

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Restaurants will serve a wide range of guests who will have different dietary customs. Owners should make sure to have inclusive menus and highlight dishes that are vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or lactose-free. By catering to customers' different dietary needs, the restaurant will appear accommodating and modern. Diners will also be likely to recommend the eatery within their communities.

6. Choose Adjectives Carefully

Some adjectives may appear negative or unappetizing. For example, describing a dessert item as sugary or dry will deter guests from ordering it because it does not appeal to the senses. Instead, these terms should be replaced with positive words, like honeyed, crispy or glazed.

7. Do Not Over Complicate the Menu

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Menu descriptions should be short, concise, and easy to read. Depending on the nature of some businesses, some best practices will be more effective than others. For instance, a high-end restaurant could make more profit off of a detailed backstory about a new wine. On the other hand, a fast-casual food truck will increase foot traffic with its short descriptions.

Restaurant owners should conduct market research and assess their customers' demographics. With a clear understanding of who their consumer base is, restaurants can effectively target them with the right descriptions.

Key Takeaways - Menu Description

  • Menus are key to restaurant operations because it demonstrates the eatery's unique brand and can help boost profitability.
  • Restaurant owners should focus on creating detailed and concise menu descriptions because it can effectively increase foot traffic and sales.
  • Having informative and enticing menu descriptions will also help eliminate any confusion regarding an item's ingredients and preparation methods.
  • It is important that restaurant owners conduct research into their market and consumer base to ensure they are using the right tips for their operations.

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