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Offering a Wide Range of Options on Your Cafe or Coffee Shop Menu

  • 5 min read

Big Menus: A Strategy for Attracting and Retaining Customers while Improving Your Business’s Performance

Offering a wide range of options on your cafe or coffee shop menu can be a valuable strategy for attracting and retaining customers and improving your business’s performance.

5 Reasons Why a Wide Range of Menu Options Could Benefit Your Cafe

1. Attracting a diverse customer base

Offering a wide range of menu options can help attract a diverse customer base, as it allows you to cater to a variety of tastes and preferences. By offering a mix of vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and other specialty options, you can appeal to a wider range of customers and increase the likelihood of their return. Having menu items for children, the elderly, workers, new mums, etc helps to attract a bigger crowd to your cafe.

2. Encouraging repeat business

Offering a bigger range of options on your menu can also encourage repeat business, as it gives customers a reason to come back and try new items. It can also help to encourage multiple visits per day. By regularly introducing new menu items or rotating items in and out of your menu, you can keep your menu fresh and interesting to encourage repeat customers.

3. Improving customer satisfaction

By offering a wide range of options on your menu, you also improve customer satisfaction. A diverse menu that is a mix of sweet, savoury, hot, cold, “grab n’ go”, “freshly made”, dine-in and other options, helps you cater to different customer preferences, accommodating their “mood in the moment” and increasing customer satisfaction.

4. Maximising sales and profitability

An extensive range of menu options helps maximise sales and your cafe’s profitability by encouraging customers to buy more. If your menu offers a mix of smaller, lower-priced items and larger, higher-priced items, it is easy to encourage customers to add extra items to their order, which increases the average sale amount for your cafe.

5. Responding to market trends

Offering a wide range of options on your menu can also help you stay attuned to changes in market trends and customer preferences. Beyond seasonal changes (for example, cooked/warm food in winter and fresh/cool foods in summer), foods now have trends. By regularly reviewing and updating your menu, you avoid being left behind by your rivals by having items that are popular and in demand.

6 Things to Avoid When Expanding Your Cafe Menu to Offer More Options

Expanding your cafe menu can be an exciting opportunity to attract new customers and increase revenue, but it also comes with a number of risks that you should consider.

When deciding what new items to add to your menu, make sure you avoid –

  1. Menu complexity: Expanding your menu can make it more complex and difficult for kitchen staff to manage, which can lead to longer wait times and mistakes in orders.
  2. Increases in costs: Adding more items to your menu can increase your costs, as you may need to purchase additional ingredients, equipment, or staff to prepare and serve the new items.
  3. More potential waste: If you don’t sell enough of the new items, you may end up throwing away food that has gone bad, which can be costly and wasteful.
  4. Declining quality: When you add more items to your menu, it can be difficult to maintain the same level of quality and consistency across all items.
  5. Longer prep time: Adding more items to your menu can take more time to prepare, which can slow down your kitchen and impact service times.
  6. Inventory management challenges: With more items on your menu, it may mean more inventory to manage and ensuring that you have all the right ingredients on hand.

How to Add New Items to your Menu to Offer Your Customers More

Know your local buyers

The first step in offering a wider range of options on your menu is to figure out who your target audience – the people in your local area who have money and will spend it in a cafe. By understanding their needs and preferences, you can design a menu that meets their expectations and desire to spend money with you.

Stay up-to-date with food and beverage trends

It is important to keep up with changes in food trends and customer preferences. This could involve regularly reviewing industry reports, tracking social media trends, or conducting your own customer research to gather insights about what customers what to buy and eat/drink.

Review and update your menu regularly

To ensure that your menu reflects the needs and preferences of your customers; and stays attuned to new trends, it is important to review and update it regularly. This could involve introducing new menu items randomly, routinely rotating items in and out of your menu, or making other changes to your menu based on customer feedback, seasonal changes or incoming trends.

Use menu psychology and menu engineering techniques

You might consider using menu psychology techniques to encourage customers to try new items, especially when you’re planning to rotate out of the menu something they regularly buy. Making suggestions of an alternative menu item and then asking them for feedback is a simple way to switch someone to a new favourite. Using sales psychology like the “rule of three” by grouping complimentary items can also change buyer behaviour; or you can use the “decoy effect” by offering a higher-priced item that shifts their pricing sensitivity. Consider the design of your menu and how you present your menu options.

Attract new customers, improve customer satisfaction, maximise sales and business profitability, when you offer a wide range of menu options. Do it thoughtfully to avoid unnecessary additional costs and other problems, and benefit from a more diverse customer crowd and bigger sales.

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