3 Tips on How and When To Change Your Restaurant’s Menu

change your restaurant's menu

You want to sell food that people want to eat, right? Well, then you have to pay attention and actually hear what people want, and that means taking a good long look at just how popular everything on your menu really is. It’s important to listen to your customers, because the information you get from them will determine what changes to look for before you change your restaurant’s menu to stay relevant.

What You Should Think About Before You Change Your Restaurant’s Menu

Earn Your Menu

When you first open, your menu should be as flexible as possible because the goal is to attract customers to your establishment and get word spreading quickly. This usually means adding foods you may not want to keep on your menu in the long run, and that can get expensive. The more ingredients and options you have, the larger chance there is of your inventory spoiling.

But this is a necessary sacrifice to improve your customer base. But once you become a trusted business in the community, you can start knocking-off items one by one, and people won’t stop coming because of it. Before altering your menu, make sure you have a customer base and analyze how much money is being wasted on unused ingredients.

Pay Attention to Trends

Notice how ten years ago no one ever heard the term “gluten-free”, and yet today you can’t roll a nickel down the street without it passing at least three restaurants with “gluten-free” menu options? That’s because going gluten-free is the latest fad, and restaurants are changing to adapt to this new diet and they’re doing it by changing their menus. Mr. Gluten-Intolerant isn’t going to choose Restaurant A over Restaurant B if only B has gluten-free food, and that’s a lesson you should learn quickly. You need to pay attention to fads and accommodate them as quickly as possible, because the sooner you do the quicker you build up your reputation as a “trend-friendly” restaurant.

The Seasons

This is where you can afford to have a little fun. Seasonal foods are applicable to every restaurant, be it a 4-star or a burger joint. People love getting in the spirit of the season, and few things set the mood better than food. Pumpkin pie and anything cinnamon in Fall; hot chocolate and lava cake in the winter. People love seasonal menu changes, and the change makes everything “limited-edition”, so you’ll have people coming into your restaurant for the sole purpose of trying your new food. And if you need proof that it works, just look at McDonalds and Starbucks. They’re huge chains and yet they still have seasonal promotions, like the Pumpkin Spice Latte or the McRib, and you shouldn’t be afraid to do so, too.

Your menu should depend on what the people want, which is why you want to start with a broad range of food and slowly start specializing once you get consistent customers. But even when you hit your stride, make sure to pay attention to trends among the people and adapt accordingly, because your menu needs to change along with the tastes of the customers.