Customers want to see your menu
Posted On Jun 1, 2016 in Small Business Marketing by Chris Barr
pizza operatorIt's no secret...

It's a fundamental law of the restaurant business...

It should posted in bright, shining, golden letters above every pizza operator's desk...

Customers want to "see the menu" before they buy!

Over the last ten years of my marketing career, I've seen operators who do an excellent job with their menus. And inversely, plenty of folks who fail miserably (or don't even try).

I often ask myself, "How can someone go through the process of opening a restaurant, hiring staff, getting permits, building vendor relationships, and everything else, and then simply 'not care' about the restaurant's menu or marketing?"

Are they scared of something? Do they fear success? Are they too caught up in bad habits?

I'm not sure I'll ever understand the answer to that question...

But, here's what I can tell you.

The restaurants who invest the time and resources to actively develop, optimize, and distribute their menus -- are more successful in all phases of operation.

Customers want "to see the menu" before they buy.

Your menu is much more than a list of items and prices (at least it should be). Your menu is who you are -- your mission statement, your brand, and everything you stand for.

Your pizzeria could be built on "low prices," or alternatively, the most expensive, freshest, and sought-after ingredients on the planet. It doesn't really matter from a marketing perspective.

What matters is that your menu makes customers believe it, and buy it.

Posting Your Menu Onlinepizza search results

If new or existing customers know your restaurant exists, they are likely to Google your menu. They'll enter something along the lines of "Ray's pizza menu Dallas" or "Pizza Dallas TX".

And, assuming your menu is available online, they'll find it.

But there's a HUGE problem with online menu searches. The search results often show a lot more than just your menu.

In addition to (hopefully) displaying your website and menu, Google enables users to sort their search results by:
  • Distance
  • Star Ratings
  • Consumer Reviews
  • PRICE
  • Hours
  • Zagat Rating
  • and more...
And it doesn't get any easier. Users are also likely to see:
  • Negative reviews
  • Outdated pricing
  • Outdated menu options
  • Competitors
  • Lower prices
  • Discount offers
  • Local magazine/newspaper stories
  • User-posted food photos
  • and much, much more..choices
Simply stated, your prospective customer will be bombarded with reasons NOT to buy from you.

It's like staring at a grocery store shelf with twenty different choices.

It's tough.

But for a moment, let's assume that everything goes perfectly.

A prospective customer searches for your menu, finds it, and begins browsing.

Then what happens?

I'll tell you exactly what happens...

An endless flood of additional questions magically appear out of thin air.
  • "What looks good?"
  • "Does my friend/spouse/kid/co-worker want this?"
  • "How much does it cost?"
  • "Will this ruin my diet?"
  • "How long will it take?"
  • "Should I order from a different restaurant?"
  • "Are there any good deals or coupons?"
  • "Should I Google their reviews?"
  • "Have I tried this before?"
  • "Do they deliver?"
  • "Will they get mad if I ask for extra sauce?"
  • "Do I order online? Or do I have to call?"
If somehow, everything goes perfectly once more, you might make the sale.

Have you experienced this process before?

Slice Through Competitors, Don't Fight Uphill Battles

Earlier in this blog post, I not-so-subtly alluded to the fact that online search isn't a great way for pizzerias to reach new customers. The built-in competition, dominance by franchises, and the sheer volume of competitors make it highly-unlikely to produce a positive ROI.

But, what if there was a way to remove the competing ads, reviews, and other distractions, while directly reaching every new and existing customer in your market?

Luckily for you, there is.

How Many Homes DON'T Have Your Menu? 4-time world pizza champion

4-Time World Pizza Champion, Michael Shepherd (founder of GrowingPizza.com), knows a thing or two about successful marketing.

"Marketing is the number one thing I get asked about in my consulting business," says Shepherd. "It's getting really, really hard to get in front of customers, and direct mail is what works."

Bingo!

With direct mail, you can deliver YOUR sales-optimized takeout menu to every single local home and apartment.

When your menu delivers, each recipient and prospective customer instantly becomes aware of your business.

Overnight, magic.

Even better, each person experiences their own glorious, physical, and professionally-designed impression of your business exactly the way you envision it.

No ads from competitors. No misguided reviews. No Yelp. No distractions.

When compared with other competitor-laden marketing channels, your chances to secure a sale will skyrocket with direct mail.

When your takeout menu is designed properly with mouth-watering images, clever descriptions, clear value-adds, and most importantly, with your target audience in mind, orders will flood in and your business will flourish.

Additionally, many households will keep your menu on the 'fridge or in the kitchen drawer, for additional use at a later date.

If you don't bring in new customers every day, while reactiving existing customers, your business is moving in the wrong direction.

Remember, customers want "to see the menu" before they buy.

Are you ready to send customers YOUR menus?