New menu items can be exciting for chefs and customers alike. In today’s blog, we discuss how to promote new menu items on a budget.
Whether your restaurant already has a strong social media presence or you’re still figuring out how to use social media for small business growth, promoting new menu items on social is a great way to get the word out. Before the release, tease the menu item, allow diners to vote on its name, or do a behind-the-scenes video the reveals what it is, how it’s made, and what inspired it. Once it’s officially on the menu, take advantage of any food photography that features the new dish, share any 5-star reviews that mention the new menu item, and ask to share any photos you come across online of people enjoying the dish from your restaurant. Do the same thing with your email marketing efforts and you should be able drum up plenty of interest!
One of the best ways to get diners to try a new menu item is to give them a monetary incentive to do so. That’s where special promotions come in. Once the new menu item is released, cook up a special promotion to get people talking. For loyalty members, consider offering the item free with purchase. For new customers, offer a discount. Just remember, you’re doing this to make money, not lose it, so do your due diligence when deciding on the details.
It should be clear to everyone who comes to your website that you have a new menu item you’d like them to try. In addition to highlighting the new menu item on your website, you’ll also want to highlight it on your printed menu. In general, your customers should be able to tell which items are new just by looking at your menu. This helps ensure your regulars notice it, even if they don’t do much more than glance at the menu. Plus, it shows your new diners that you’re committed to improvement and innovation.
Your waitstaff is one of your best lines of promotion. If you want them to push new menu items, make sure they know important details about the dish and that they’ve had a chance to taste it. You can even hold a competition for whoever can sell the most orders. The more incentive they have to push the new menu item, the more successful it will be.
Looking for more promotion ideas? As an independently owned and operated wholesale food distributor, we’ve dedicated ourselves to helping our clients succeed. Not only do we offer the highest quality ingredients, but we also provide restaurant marketing and menu analysis and development. In the meantime, check out the McDonald Wholesale foodservice blog, where we cover everything from why you should be attending food industry trade shows to what you need to know about ghost kitchens.