RESEARCH | Staff Reporter, UK

Menu science drives profitability for operators

Elliotts shared its findings in uncovering the decision-making process diners undergo.

In a survey with 270 consumers, Elliotts, the integrated agency for the Hospitality and Leisure sector, emphasised the important role of menu science in driving greater profitability for restaurant operators.

As UK consumers are mostly creatures of habit, first impression is particularly important to restaurant operators. Of those surveyed, three in four (75%) had found something they would consider ordering within two minutes, with 65% arriving at a final decision 60 seconds later. This highlights the decreasing window of opportunity operators have to influence customer buying behaviours, especially when it comes to encouraging them to purchase higher-margin dishes. For some, the decision-making process starts even before setting foot in the restaurant, with 63% of consumers admitting that they judge what a venue is like by reading its menu ahead of their visit.

The survey shows that familiarity is a key factor for three in five diners (60%), who would be more likely to order a dish they’ve had before, during a previous visit to a restaurant. Also, two in three said they only read the full descriptions of up to five menu items, with the same percentage of respondents (67%) citing short, concise menu descriptions as preference.

Ann Elliott, CEO, Elliotts said, “Competition amongst restaurant operators remains fierce and if that wasn’t bad enough, operators now have to contend with increases in the Living Wage, food prices, business rates and rents. In addition, average spend per head is on the decrease and operator costs rising.

As a result, restaurant operators need to consider innovative methods of increasing profitability without passing these costs onto their customers. The role of the menu within the wider customer journey is the key to getting this balance right, however, not enough operators are developing their menus with profitability in mind and therefore missing an extremely lucrative trick.”

Photo credit: Morning Advertiser

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