Making alternative dishes a menu must-have

Are you seeing sales with the plant-based or alternative dishes on your menu? With dietary preferences growing and diners becoming savvier, operators need to prioritize the customer experience, along with menu clarity and accuracy, and their marketing goals, as they engineer menus that appeal to guests and raise revenues.

Whether you are accommodating gluten-free, vegetarian, or any other dietary restrictions, it’s important that guests can find these items easily and know that they have choices. Take a simple approach to make your menu easy to navigate for your guests and raise your revenues.

Make it clear

By offering these items on your menu, you show your customers that you care about their dietary needs – but only if your menu makes that clear.

What’s the best way for restaurants to call these items out on their menus? Clearly label items with appropriate symbols or descriptors so there’s no confusion. Include a legend so customers don’t have to hunt for dishes, and they can see right away which categories are available.

Also, try adding some variety by adjusting traditional dishes, along with plant-based alternatives, so people looking to try plant-based options will see dishes they recognize.

Keep it simple

Maximizing those margins means including plant-based dishes that make sense for your kitchen and your business. Your menu is a reflection of your brand, so if you are an upscale restaurant, vegetarian tacos may not make sense to your customers. Choose items that match the rest of your menu, so guests know what to expect when they visit.

Keep it simple for your teams, too. Complicated alternatives will add to your ingredient lists and inventory, making it harder on the kitchen and for your servers. Customers are looking for delicious dishes, and that doesn’t have to be complicated.

Get attention

Advertising your menu needs to be part of your strategy, from social media to your website to your servers talking up your menu. However, you also need to focus on selling these items in the best way. Descriptions like ‘low fat’ for example, may give customers the impression a dish is healthier, but it does not convey that the dish is delicious. Focus on the positives and sell your dishes with expert photography, strategic menu placement, and descriptions that make them crave-worthy.

So many dietary preferences exist these days that restaurants need to include them on the menu to compete, but making sure you take the right approach is how you will see success in sales with your plant-based and alternative dishes.