Creating a menu seems like a fairly simple thing to do. Just list down all the items your Chef can cook for your restaurant, and you’re good to go. Except, not! Menu designing is an art and takes a lot of effort and calculations to price those items right. Often, restaurant owners get so involved in pricing their menu, that they forget the aesthetics of it. A well-designed menu withe good menu descriptions can upsell the dishes itself, and influence your customers to order more.
Menu descriptions play an important role in the Menu Design. In most restaurants, descriptions are basically a list of all the ingredients that are used to prepare the dish. Menu descriptions can be so much more! Use your Menu Descriptions to tell a story to your customers, paint a savory picture in their heads, that leaves them salivating and ordering for more. Even if your customers can’t order all of your dishes in one visit, powerful Menu Descriptions can leave enough impact for them to come again and try all of them.
How to Write a Good Menu Description?
A few lines that tell the story behind the food on the plate and evoke senses in the reader while recounting the ingredients and the process of creating the masterpiece can be considered as a good item description. However, easier than said than done, creating a perfect balance between appetizing sounding description, yet keeping it short and interesting is can be quite tricky.
Try to surpass the jargons of Menu Writing using these simple tips!
1. Talk about the Appearance, Texture, and Taste of the dish.
The menu description of the dish should ideally paint a picture to the reader about what the dish looks like, what is its texture, and how would it taste. Words such as vibrant, leafy, encrusted, buttered etc, lend a rich appearance to the dish. Including the texture and taste in the description is important. Rich, creamy, succulent, tender, sweet, etc, give a savory feel to the dish by mere words.
2. Emphasize the Fine Quality of the Exotic (Read Expensive) Ingredients Used.
If you are serving some of the finest and most expensive exotic items on the menu, you might as well mention it in the menu description. An exotic item on the menu automatically lends exclusivity to it. Not only would this tempt your customers to order an exclusive item, the descriptive lines would also help in justifying the high selling price.
Italian restaurant Artusi Ristorante does it quite well with their description of their dish Tomino-
"Finest imported soft cheese gently melting over toasted bread with sauteed mushrooms and Italian white truffle oil."
3. Underline the Painstakingly Taken Effort to Create the Dish.
As soon as you mention the extra efforts required to prepare a particular dish, it automatically becomes special. Especially in fine-dine restaurants, customers come for the entire guest experience.
Consider the description of Kastoori Kabab of the famous ITC Bukhara-
"Succulent pieces of boneless chicken marinated in ginger and garlic, spiced with freshly pounded black peppercorns, gramflour and chargrilled with beaten egg yolk."
The menu description beautifully paints a picture of tender pieces of boneless that have been pre-marinated and spiced and chargrilled hence. Words such as slow-roasted, pan seared etc add to the individuality of the dish.
4. Lend a USP or Tell a Backstory about the Dish.
When you tell a story about how your special Biryani was enjoyed by the Nizams of Hyderabad or a little anecdote about the most popular item on your menu, you not only pique the interest of your customer, you also build your brand.
Try to give ethnic names to your dishes to lend them authenticity. You can also add value to an ingredient by mentioning its geographic origin. You can turn simple, uninspiring ingredient into handpicked and chosen elements that create an appetizing menu item.
5. Keep it Short and Easily Comprehensible
Often menu copywriters get carried away and write an entire paragraph of incomprehensible mumbo-jumbo of foreign words that still somehow fail to communicate the essence of the dish. It is important to keep the description short, easy to read, yet be able to evoke the right emotions to eat. Get a menu description from the Chef, and then ask your copywriter to write a short copy. You can also write it yourself using the above-mentioned tips and then get it proofread.
Words to Include in Your Menu
Words can be tempting. Words that have been known to set the salivary glands working have been carefully placed in food descriptions in menus since ages. Following are the words most commonly used while writing menu descriptions.
An ideal menu description is one that is short, explains what the dish is, and ultimately, makes the customer want to order it. Avoid long, incomprehensible food descriptions that leave the customers puzzled about what the dish actually is. If customers don’t understand the menu description, they are most likely to not order that item.