It’s pretty easy to capture customers as a new restaurant. The appeal of that bright, shiny new restaurant is pretty hard to resist for most consumers. Research shows 64% of restaurant goers occasionally look for somewhere new to eat. It becomes more difficult to keep those customers coming back once you’re “old news.” The key to staying relevant and maintaining your spot on the regular rotation of go-to spots is the menu itself. It’s critical to introduce new and exciting menu items that become a motivating force for your regulars to stay regulars instead of trying an exciting new restaurant around the corner.
Get inspired by food trends and introduce new menu items to keep your customers coming back to try new things. This is where your culinary and marketing teams need to work together because your new menu items should be uniquely delicious but also properly branded to ensure the marketing is a success. Some things to consider as you develop and market new menu items:
- Include Local Seasonings & Flavors – from Maine Lobster to Old Bay, it’s always easier to sell a hometown product to a hometown crowd.
- Consider a Community Based Name – maybe you’re just introducing chicken nuggets, but if you tap into a well-known area or local theme to name them, you’ll get more attention.
- Leverage Seasonal/Event Related Opportunities – Whether you create a new international dish for the Olympics, introduce a new “game day” item when your team makes it to the playoffs or change up the menu for more fall based dishes, find a way to tap into seasonal opportunities. This also makes it easier to create urgency and “limited time offer” promotions.
But remember, creating the new dishes is only half the battle. The other half is properly promoting your exciting new dishes and menu updates. 80% of restaurant-goers have tried restaurant based entirely on receiving a discount or promotion. If you’re introducing a new menu item, market it as a special or promotion that’s a limited time offer. New menu items are a strong marketing tool but new menu items presented as a promotion are even stronger!
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