Why putting your menu outside the door isn’t enough


While waiting to meet someone at a restaurant earlier this week, I noticed a curious scene being played out near the restaurant entrance. A decent-sized crowd of people, perhaps four or five, descended upon the area next to the door. Apparently, they were all trying to check out the wall-mounted menu and decide if they wanted to eat there. After sneaking a peek at the menu, they decided to go elsewhere.

When people consult a menu like that, they’re probably looking to answer two questions. First, what type of food does this place serve? Second, is it in the right price range? Yet restaurants tend to put their regular menu on the wall, with small type and little in the way of summary data. There must be a better way.

To improve the situation, the restaurant should have a large and prominent sign next to the menu itself. The sign would say the restaurant’s name, the type of food they specialize in, and the general price ranges for breakfast, lunch, and dinner — all in large text that you can read from several feet away. With this info, potential customers could make a decision very quickly, and more people could view the key information at once. In turn, a higher percentage of prospects who seek out the menu info would decide to eat there, and fewer people would be scared away by a big crowd all trying to decipher the regular menu at once.

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