Key Ingredients for One of Your Restaurant’s Top Marketing Tools

With menus serving as one of their chief marketing tools, restaurant owners are searching for the best way to make their menu stand out above the rest

By Al Grant

Some might say a restaurant’s fate lies not in the hands of the customer, but in what lies in the customers’ hands—the menu. After all, this is no ordinary list of items; it is possibly the number one sales, marketing, and merchandising tool in the restaurant industry.

Launching a new restaurant includes a long list of start-up expenses, including labor, goods and licensing fees, but restaurant owners often neglect to properly plan and print an appealing menu. The taste and quality of the food served and the overall service experience are generally the main selling features for a restaurant. However, the menu’s style, layout, and quality of the menu presentation, including the material it is printed on, can also a play a part in attracting and keeping loyal customers.

Now a unique synthetic substrate called Fusion Soft Polyester allows you to print your own menus on high heat toner production color copiers making it easier than ever to have the most unique, waterproof, tear and stain resistant menus in the industry.

So what does it take to make your menu stand out and keep customers coming back for more?

1. Local Flavor
Independent restaurants are always looking for ways to set themselves apart from the big chain establishments. Having a unique, detailed menu is more about attitude and love of your restaurant than it is about having the deep pockets of national chain restaurants. What better way to show true local flavor and keep your menu up-to-date than using digital printing to produce unique custom menus that will set your restaurant apart from the rest? The menu is probably the one time you have your guests’ undivided attention, and nobody knows your restaurant and the message you want to convey better than you. So why not use digital design and digital printing to create a truly unique menu that reflects the unique aspects of your establishment and your community?
For example, if fresh ingredients from a local organic farm or farmer’s market are featured as part of your menu, this can easily be accentuated by adding their logo or pictures to your menu. It’s likely many of your loyal customers are also supporters of these businesses and will appreciate knowing the source of your ingredients.

Or if there’s a local celebrity or local school sports team you want to support, you might name a dish for them and feature a picture of the celebrity or team enjoying this dish. Digital artwork is inexpensive and gives you great flexibility in your menu presentation. All that is needed are your good ideas, and good quality high resolution digital pictures to add these customized touches to your menu.

2. Durability
Savvy restaurateurs crave menus that can handle the abuse of unexpected spills and sticky fingers. While paper menus can be destroyed in a few uses, menu substrate options such as Fusion Soft Polyester by Fusion Digital Paper™ eliminate these common durability issues. This unique U.S. manufactured synthetic product is very strong and resistant to tearing and can be folded, saddle stitched, punched and spiral bound. Fusion Soft Polyester is also water-proof and stain resistant, and can be wiped clean with mild soap and water. A clean, crisp menu and customer satisfaction go hand-in-hand. And now you can print these yourself, or with a local printer or copy shop!

3. Rich Texture
The sense of touch is a vital form of communication. People acknowledge and appreciate the feel of certain textures. While laminated menus can be cold, with a low quality, plastic feel, Fusion Soft Polyester menus provides a rich, velvety feel that grabs customers’ attention, draws them in, and truly conveys a sense of quality.

4. Fresh and Up-to-date Information
Restaurant owners now have the ability to digitally print high quality menus that allow flexibility in their menu presentations and the ability to print just the number of menus needed, when they are needed. Seasonal menu items, special holiday themes, televised sporting events, the possibilities are endless.
Many restaurants have a party room to host groups and events, and this can be a large source of revenue. The ability to offer customized menus and place mats that are made specifically for a catered event is inherently valued and provides a competitive advantage.

High-heat toner production color copiers and a little creativity are all it takes to create and revamp the menu envisioned. Whether it’s a special event such as a wedding shower or a short-run custom placemat, Fusion Soft Polyester can be a nice, durable keepsake, giving the personalized touch that will leave a lasting imprint on customers and their guests that only your restaurant provides. This is a great way to separate your restaurant from the competition. Digital printing even allows the inclusion of variable information such as individual guest names and/or pictures.

5. Image Fidelity
Customers yearn for a menu that has vibrant, crisp images of what they will be ordering. It is essential that restaurants offer a menu with beautiful images and high quality print fidelity. Images and colors that seem to pop off the page are important, and Fusion Soft Polyester is just the medium to carry your message for pictures that look beautiful and will last for months to come.

6. Strategic Product Placement
Finally, in a recent FOX 13 Consumer Report, experts found that customers’ eyes tend to zigzag across a menu, ignore the middle and are drawn to items set apart from the rest. Therefore, tactically placing your most profitable, or top-rated items, at the tops and bottoms of lists and giving them their own section can draw customers’ eyes to the dish you think they would most enjoy.
One of your restaurant’s biggest marketing tools should be a reflection of your love and passion for your restaurant. Today, a new digital synthetic substrate gives you the ability to make your menu as unique as your restaurant, at a price point that is affordable.