online menu

Perfecting your online menu experience

Never has nailing your customer experience been more important. That certainly applies to your online menu at a time when off-premises consumption has become such a staple of the foodservice industry.

In a recent webinar titled “Ensuring Great Menu Experience”, Paytronix’s Chris Zeigler talked through how operators can perfect their online menu experience.

At the outset, he noted that the top complaint of guests around restaurant websites is that they are not updated or offer too little basic information. No one wants to see incorrect or hard-to-use menus without prices clearly signposted.

Most common causes of menu errors

The most common cause of menu errors, says Zeigler, is employee burnout.

Restaurants must devote consistent attention and resources to quality control of their online menu, but this is a problem right now given how burned-out staff are. A recent study found that 80 per cent of restaurant staff and nearly 90 per cent of management reported feeling burnout.

In a way, that’s nothing new. But complex systems don’t help. Consider how many menus you have to update when you 86 an item, whether all orders are accurately entered into your POS, or whether you have created a mess of tablets and devices.

Menu alterations have to be simple. Anything that requires additional steps on a busy night for already burned-out workers is going to create problems.

Customer frictions on menus

If customers run into problems, delays, or frictions on a menu while ordering, many may abandon the order altogether. Creating a smooth, accessible, and simple experience is vital.

Menu design matters, big time. Photos must be appealing, items must be clearly defined, the graphic design must be easy on the eye, prices must be clearly and accurately indicated.

RELATED: Why menu refinement is becoming the name of the game

Solutions to menu frictions

To solve these issues, Zeigler suggests ditching the tablet farm for a more integrated experience.

Menu variant testing to nail down your most popular items and boost your bottom line can reap big rewards, too. Are your pizzas your most popular item? Try listing them first, after the appetizers. Streamline your menu, removing dishes, options, or add-ons that simply don’t sell well.

Boosting your operations with AI

Expanding your use of technology and bringing artificial intelligence into the fold is another useful strategy.

AI can catch discrepancies in ordering. For example, if a customer orders veggie items normally but one time orders a steak option, AI can non-confrontationally ask the consumer if they are sure. It can also have a huge say in intelligent cross-selling by automatically prompting customers to add a side or a drink based on a customer’s order history or segmentation.

Utilizing these strategies, from graphic design to menu streamlining to AI, can take your customers’ ordering experience from smooth to exceptional at a time when that is needed the most.

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