5 Ways You Can Use Your Menu to Upsell Your Food

The menu is one definite piece that people who walk into your restaurant and people who don't are going to see. Just like your business card, a menu is a reflection of the restaurant so it is important that menus are designed well and showcases everything your restaurant is. Also, it is a great tool for advertising and plays a very important role in the decision-making process of what the customer wants to eat. Hence, it can be a great tool to upsell your food. Here are few tips on how you can upsell your food through a menu.

1.Categorize the Items

Your menu needs to be short and concise; customers don't like spending too much time reading long menus. Since a customer will look at the menu for a very short span of time, if you want to sell a certain food to your customer, emphasize them through design. You can use a box or a different shade or typography or even an asterisk to catch their consideration. Customers tend to choose things that grab their attention, emphasizing the important dishes will definitely ensure that.

How to decide on what should be highlighted?

You can use the concept of menu matrix. Here, you create a graph based on the popularity and profitability of every dish on your menu. It is very helpful to understand your menu items in terms of sales volume and income. Each of your dishes falls into below mentioned four categories.

  • Stars– Items that fall into this category are the ones those have high popularity and profitability. These are the items that need to be stressed upon.

  • Plow-Horses/Cash Cows– These items yield low profitability but are high on the popularity scale so your customer doesn't need to be reminded of these, but they still order any one of them by default.

  • Puzzles- These items need to be strongly underscored on your menu and also recommended by your wait staff because these items have high profitability but low popularity. You can also think about renaming or repackage these dishes if they are not selling.

  • Dogs/Duds- They are low profitability and low popularity items that you may need to update or cut off from the menu.

2. Descriptions

A well-written description can do wonders for the food items on your menu especially if the restaurant brings in a different cuisine that people are not very aware of.  It needs to be short but appetizing and should put across all the necessary information about the dish like major ingredients and what makes it unique. You can think of excluding common allergens from your description as it may put off the customer from ordering that dish but make sure your staff is trained and ready for any question that may need to be answered.


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5 Ways You Can Use Your Menu to Upsell Your Food


If you decide to include photos in your menu, you need to make sure that you hire a professional photographer to click the photos. Simply, because food photography is not easy as it looks, it can do wonders but it can also make a food item look completely unappetizing.  So, it is very important that you pick your photos carefully as it can be a good tool to accentuate certain dishes. But, this can be a very risky decision. Sometimes it is just better to leave it up to the customer's imagination and description can play an important role in that.


The important thing to remember when categorizing item on your menu is that you need to focus on what you would like to sell to your customers. You can go the traditional way of categorizing the menu like in order of consumption or separate menu for drinks and food. But, if you decide not to go the traditional way, your menu categories should serve a purpose.  There has to be some sense and meaning to your food groups because customers tend to like organized menus, confusing and illogically organized menu is going to annoy a customer because menus are supposed to be easy to navigate through. Also, remember that every category should include the most profitable items and should be listed first and the list should be in a descending order based on their profitability.


Well, to include or not include the price on the menu is a very crucial decision to make for the restaurateur. If you leave it out, customers will tend to spend more because you may be allowing them to forget that they are spending money. 

But, if you decide to put it on the menu; now the dilemma is where to place it. If you put it on the side of the menu, customers will tend to compare prices and tend to pick the items that are less expensive and their decision will be driven only by price. But there is a solution to this problem, try to place the price below the description. Hence, the decision-driving factor will be about the dish instead of the price.


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5 Ways You Can Use Your Menu to Upsell Your Food

Give your menu 100% percent attention; it is one of the most important pieces of advertising. So, every bit of your menu is crucial from the design to the words to the colors, everything reflects on the success of your restaurant. Your menu has to be creative but easy to follow, it has to be everything that your restaurant is. So take a critical look at your menu and make the changes that help you upsell your food.

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