Your menu is a key part of any customer’s dining experience. This is your chance to make a great first impression, welcome back a loyal customer, and push your brand story, all in one.
While many restaurants understand the importance of this touchpoint, their restaurant menu management holds them back.
Types of Restaurant Menu Management
Traditional Printed Menus
This menu management style is fairly straightforward: you or your printing partner manage printed custom menus that your customers use in your restaurant. This category includes tri-fold menus, disposable menus, and other printed formats.
While these are well-known and common, there are still many ways you can be creative in your menu presentation. Consulting with a professional printer that also specializes in menu design is a great way to produce a menu that speaks to your brand.
Pros: User friendly, more control over menu engineering.
Cons: Often not integrated with digital menu platforms (online ordering, website, etc.)
Managed Online Menus
This is where things get a little tricky. Most restaurants have a printed menu, but if your printer cannot complete a digital product, then you need to hire an additional team. This creates extra work on the manager’s side since they need to coordinate with more than one person to make any single change.
Still, having contactless menus is a necessity. COVID accelerated digital growth in the restaurant industry, but restaurant veterans know this change was a long time coming.
When you need a restaurant menu online, it’s still wise to partner with a menu management team. Menu management professionals can capture your brand and easily update your menu across several platforms whenever you need it. The right team can also assist in QR code production and will manage the links on the backend.
Pros: Easy to use, lots of professional branding opportunities
Cons: Can get overwhelming working with different vendors for digital & print
Restaurant Menu Maker Tools
This method has become easier over the years, making it an inexpensive alternative to hiring a 3rd party to manage digital menus.
While this does give you a bit more control over production, it’s important you focus on what you are best at. If you are not a designer, or if you haven’t created beautifully formatted menus in the past, then you may want to consider outsourcing this to a professional.
Pros: Gives you control over your menu adjustments, saves money
Cons: Might be cumbersome & ineffective without the proper expertise
Consolidation – Complete Menu Management
A common approach for many restaurants is to use one vendor for print menus and another venue for digital menus. This creates a lot of issues, including wasted time and money, inconsistent menu appearances, and miscommunication.
That’s why it is becoming increasingly popular for restaurants to consolidate their menu management to one partner. When you bring all your projects together under one roof, you gain a partner that will help you create stylish menus across multiple platforms. This approach simplifies your day-to-day operations, while providing customers with a modern, fluent experience each time they order.
Pros: Reduce the number of 3rd party vendors, cut costs through efficiencies and gain cross-platform congruence
Cons: Takes some investment, but the results are worth it
3 Reasons You Should Consolidate Your Digital & Print Menu Management
That last management style for your menu is clearly the best option available. By combining your digital and print management with one centralized partner, you unlock amazing capabilities for your restaurant’s menu.
Here are three perks you’re sure to see:
Impress Your Customers
Restaurant menus are one of the first places you can impact a customer’s dining experience. What better way to get their meal started off right than with a seamless ordering process?
Your partner will help version a menu that is congruent across multiple mediums and will meet your customers wherever they are ordering – all with consistent branding applied. That means whether your customer is ordering dine-in, through an app, or off your website from Google maps, they will experience the same, consistent menu, branding, and pricing.
And since you are hosting your restaurant menu software through one organization or partner, universal changes will always be captured across every medium. That way you won’t field calls from angry customers wondering why you can’t accept their expired coupon.
Focus Your Efforts
Restaurant menu design is becoming increasingly specialized. Nowadays customers can order by phone, app, in-person, through a 3rd party delivery service, and more. There are a plethora of different ways customers can interact with your brand when they want to order.
With all these channels surging into prominence, it’s important that your menu works well across each one. This is no small task – accounting for nuances like menu item substitutions across multiple platforms is a lot of work.
In addition to the administrative side, design and implementation require effort as well. Even if you are not working on these projects specifically, but are managing multiple vendors, it is still a lot of communication. This confusion can create mistakes that trickle through your channels and out to your customers.
That’s why restaurant owners and managers who do not specialize in menu development and management may waste valuable time they could be spending elsewhere, all while creating a product that could perform better.
Consolidate your print and digital menus to one vendor – your calendar will thank you!
Save Money & Grow Your Brand
When you consolidate your print and digital menu management to one partner, you create the opportunity for efficiency.
For instance, if you want to incorporate seasonal menus for your restaurant, one partner will be better at updating all menus. Otherwise, you would be coordinating with all the parties involved or updating the menu design software yourself.
About Trabon Group
No matter your print needs, Trabon Group is here to help. Our printing specialists will work alongside you to create restaurant collateral that addresses your unique needs. We’ll handle everything from laminated and digital menus to window clings and business cards.
Trabon Group is a Kansas City-based commercial printer serving national and local businesses with a wide array of commercial printing solutions.
Trabon Group specializes in producing high quality, laminated print menus that look professional and maintain quality in a harsh restaurant environment.
MenuNet is Trabon’s propriety menu management solution that focuses on versioning menu data for digital and print outputs.
PrintNet is Trabon’s on-demand ordering system that allows for the quick and efficient production of time-sensitive materials or reorders.