You may or may not have heard of the 4 P’s of marketing: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion.

As you’re focused on selling food in your restaurant, perhaps you don’t feel that these principles can still apply the same way to your business. Maybe you can’t think of any way to make them work for you. It’s not like you can pick the latest fashion and make a t-shirt out of it for this season’s product, right?

Well, no, of course not. That’s not the business you’re in. But these principles can and do still apply to your restaurant. They can help you with everything from overall advertising to location design and styling. Today, however, we’re going to touch on something much simpler: how can these 4 P’s improve your menu?

Product

You’re selling food – entrees, desserts, drinks, appetizers, sides, and more. These are your products. Like every other business, you have best-sellers. You probably even have some seasonal offerings, some that may be extremely popular. Those are the ones you need to feature most prominently. Take great pictures of these delightful dishes (or get a photographer to do it) and make sure the pictures are easily seen in the menu. Tie the description of the dish to its image so people don’t get confused in some way. Make it obvious. People who have never been to your restaurant before will probably be interested in trying it. 

Using a menu that doesn’t have any images? Be aware of your use of font, color, and text style.

Price

This is very important in an online menu. We know you love your intrigue, but people who are looking at your menu online don’t want to be shocked by the price when they arrive at your location or when they’re entering checkout during the online ordering process. Let them know all the information you can upfront. If your particular dish is a higher-than-average price, let people know why – it’s organically grown, you use a special sauce, or the ingredients are especially rare. If your dish is a lower-than-average price, showcasing that is crucial!

Place

The largest, most colorful image on the menu is the first thing people see. Ensure it’s your food! After they look at the menu, most people will read left to right, top to bottom from wherever their eyes first landed. If your main image is halfway down the page, it will be a struggle for them to drag their eyes back up to the top; likely whatever is up there will just get overlooked. Put your specials and best-sellers toward the top, then feature others farther down as it’s more likely they will get attention.

In addition to your online or printed menu, if you have an ordering board, bulletin, or ad on your tables, feature your crowd-favorites there, as well, so people can walk in, see it, point, and say, “I want that.” Make it as easy as possible.

Promotion

Having a daily or weekly special is a great way to feature a dish some people may not order as regularly. A discount will encourage people to order it, but even the act of telling customers that it’s today’s special will pique their interest. Promoting dishes based on time of year, day of the week, or even just because you picked that dish to feature is a great way to increase interest in that dish. People who are already on the fence about what type of food to get may also be convinced by whatever your special is for the day. 

Little changes to your menu – both online and offline – can make a big difference in your business and sales. It’s very important not to overlook it!