Find success in clarified menus

By 
Sara Rush Wirth, Senior Editor

pizza menu

Consumers have menu board anxiety. The number of items on menus peaked in 2013, with an average of 153 items per menu across the Top 500 highest-grossing chain restaurants. “It’s like reading a phone book,” Robert Byrne, senior manager of consumer insights at Technomic, said at this year’s FARE Conference in Dallas. The company’s Consumer Brand Metrics program found was that when the number of menu items went down, several satisfaction scores went up. Some takeaways:

Better description

Part of the reason scores went up, according to Byrne, was that reducing the number of menu items leaves more physical space on the pages to talk about what’s special to that item.

Specialization

Consumers today care less about the wide variety of options, and more about the use of fresh ingredients.   

Customization

Too, with a limited menu, elements of customization play well today. Said Byrne, more than half of consumers say customization is important in creating good value. 

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