Introduce New Menu Items to Keep Your Restaurant Relevant

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Introducing new food menu items can be a challenge at the best of times. After all, we are creatures of habit. We drink the same brand of coffee every morning  and have the same foods for breakfast.

The challenge is to get customers to try something they have never eaten before. I can just see Darth Vader towering over the table making sure that the customers order the new menu items. Heven forbid they don’t order it due to a disturbing lack of faith.

Give Away Free Samples of New Food Menu Items

Say what? No I have not gone off the deep end here. Giving your product away for free may seem counter intuitive. However, giving away bite sized samples can encourage customers to try something new.

This is not a new concept, marketers have been doing this for years inside supermarkets. Offering free samples is a valuable tool that establishes goodwill and provides you an opportunity for customer feedback.

How about giving  food samples to customers who are waiting for a table or sitting in the bar area?  Assign a staff member to deliver new menu item samples to your customers’ tables.

Try this off the wall idea – the Business Blitz. Take bite-size samples of your new menu item around to surrounding local businesses. Get  the attention of hungry office workers with your samples and encourage them to visit your restaurant for more.

I am not talking about giving away whole entrées of food here, just cubed or 1 centimeter in length samples. Then tempt customers back by providing an offer or incentive when they order full-size versions of your mini samples at a future visit.

Whether offering samples inside or outside your restaurant, create a review card for your customers so they can leave a comment about your new menu offering. This engages the customer and lets them know you value their opinion, while helping you decide if you should leave the new item on your menu.

Use these reviews to market your new items on your restaurant’s menu, website, email newsletter or social media marketing.

Introduce New Food Menu Items on Your Website

Make it easy for customers to try something new by providing links on the website to the new item or put the new food items right on the front page with big bold words proclaiming the new food menu item.

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Plaster the new food items all over your website from the landing pages that Google has to the front page and all pages in between. Shout it from the rooftops screaming “try me”.  If your new menu items are only on the front page, some people may never see them.

Make sure you use a site-wide search box so your website visitors can search for new menu items. Don’t forget to optimize your keywords and content to reflect the new menu choices.

Blast it out on Social Media

Let your social media fans know about your new food menu items as well. This will give your followers an excuse to come back to your restaurant.

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram are inexpensive marketing tools with superb reach. Try posting daily specials including new menu items with mouth watering

Here is an idea, why not offer Facebiook, Twitter and Instagram coupons on new menu items. What better way to encourage people to order it than with a coupon?

“I want to pay full price” said no one, ever. Everyone loves a deal. Not give away the store type of offer, just enough to grab customers’ attention. Encourage customers to interact with your restaurant via social media by offering them exclusive discounts when they bring in the code that was posted on social media.

Make sure that the social media offers are for short period of time to really motivate your followers to try the new menu items.

Frequent Customer Loyalty Programs

It is often said that 20% of your customers drive 80% of your revenue. These are the people that need to be rewarded. Yes you loose a little bit of money on the food, however, you can count on those customers coming back.

When those regular customers come back next week, you bet they will try the new food menu items and perhaps bring some friends too.

Create buzz for new menu items with a VIP Party with free food. Invite your most loyal and long-standing customers. Encourage them to bring their friends. Where do you get their names? Make sure you are collecting names and emails from your customers so you can send them special offers such as the VIP Party invite through email marketing. Use your social media channels to invite your friends and followers.

Consider Mobile Advertising for New Food Menu Items

According to studies, menu information and pictures in a mobile ad are the biggest influence when people are deciding where to eat. I

What’s more, nearly half of consumers had tried a new menu item based on a mobile ad. Almost seventy-five percent said they were more likely to try a new menu item after seeing a mobile ad for it.

It is worth the investment of mobile advertising a try, and remember high quality, mouth-watering photos of your new menu item(s) are the most appealing to customers.

Get Employees To Promote

Lastly, when it’s time to introduce new menu items, make sure you provide your wait staff with the tips and tools they need to keep customers coming back for more. Make sure your employees have tasted the new menu items and encourage them to share their positive feedback with your customers.

Getting your employees to sell the new menu items is considered crucial to they are your best sales people. Tempt the staff with samples so they can recommend it to the customers.

Do you need help implementing any of these ideas? Contact us today 1-888-630-9384

Check out or blog post on 3 menu items that will increase profits by clicking here