Developing a restaurant menu is no longer as cut and dry as it was in the past. According to a poll conducted by The Vegetarian Resource Group, 46% of people eat vegetarian meals at least sometimes, with 20% occasionally opting for vegan meals. Food allergies are on the rise as well—peanut allergies have tripled over the past two decades, now affecting 1.2% of the population.
With every food product being a potential source of food restriction, restaurant owners must now take great care when considering what food options will be offered. Your demonstrated ability to address restaurant dietary restrictions will go a long way towards enhancing your reputation as a forwarding thinking business. But how can you make use of your limited time and resources to accomplish the building of an all-inclusive menu? Using a modern point of sale (POS) platform as your menu development foundation is the universal starting point for developing a flexible menu strategy that allows you to accommodate an almost unlimited range of dietary restrictions.
Know the Key Restrictions for Menu Building Considerations
Developing a menu is a painstaking task that requires close attention to detail. An emerging aspect of menu design is to develop an understanding of the various ways that ingredients can restrict your menu options to potential diners. Avoiding this requires more than just data mining and customer surveys; you must develop a solid foundation of knowledge so that your menu can be seen as a treat to all. Be sure to consider:
- Dietary restrictions. Gluten-free, lactose intolerance, and allergies to peanuts or soy are arguably the most well-known restrictions to consider. These will require you to not only offer substitution alternatives on your menu but to review how food is prepared.
- Environmental or moral concerns. Concerns are mounting around the environmental impact of food-raising operations or the humane management of animals. This is pushing food sourcing initiatives, such as farm to table, and other menu alternatives like non-GMO or vegan options, to the forefront of customer expectations.
- Religious limitations. Buddhists follow a general guideline of doing no harm when it comes to food. Catholics during Lent avoid eating meat on Fridays. Followers of the Jewish traditions expect kosher dining options, and followers of Islam, while following kosher guidelines, do not allow for alcohol. Keep these and other religions in mind when building your menu.
Menu creation is a complex puzzle that can be easily simplified by using the right technology. This way, you gain a fluid menu full of alternative options, as well as powerful data analytics to help you tweak your menu on the fly.
Leaning on Advanced Technology to Manage Customized Menus
Consumer tastes can change quickly, as can the dietary requirements of your diners. The rapid response you must now have to adapt to these changes makes the use of paper menus nearly obsolete, if not an expensive luxury. Printing new menus every few weeks can quickly get out of hand, and they may be out of date by the time your order arrives. You need a technology platform to help you in taming your menu, but what should this look like?
The advantages of having an all-inclusive POS platform can also include the ability to seamlessly make and update menu changes without the need for expensive reprints, time-intensive menu board updates, or in-depth staff briefing. The digital options that a modern POS platform presents to you alleviate much of the heavy lifting from the shoulders of your staff and help to define your restaurant’s brand.
An innovative POS platform gives you some exciting opportunities to both modernize and gain flexibility with your menu options. You can easily make changes or add customization options behind the scenes and then push these to the staff on the floor as well as in your kitchen. The latter will watch the changes appear in their high-tech KDS, while your tablet-equipped staff receives the changes in an easy to follow tap menu, both nearly in real-time.
The best thing about this is that such a system can create deeper levels of customer engagement while presenting you with an open window into staff productivity. Customers can use your app to monitor the progress of their orders, call a server over, or make order adjustments should they have a change of heart. And, the data you gather end-to-end gives you a perfect idea of how your staff is managing the customer experience.
Using POS Data to Determine Trends and Potential Areas of Improvement
The next-gen capabilities you gain with a robust POS solution at your fingertips are made possible by seamless integration. Blending data from all areas of your business into a powerful, easy to use data analytics platform builds a solid foundation that can be relied on for accurate menu adjustments. Using the data acquired in sales, as well as the tracking of order changes, will give you a clear picture of what your menu should look like on a meal-by-meal basis.
Obtaining this granular level of control over your menu allows you to easily adapt your inventory address trending customer dietary restrictions, and can be done conveniently through your app. You avoid being stuck with ingredients that have fallen out of favor while keeping the right stock levels for popular menu substitutions. The cost savings, staff productivity gains, and improved customer satisfaction all contribute to your building of a consistently black bottom line and the popular reputation that comes along for the ride.
Take the Next Steps towards Seamlessly Addressing Restaurant Dietary Restrictions
The menu you present to the customer is a key aspect of retaining their attention and their business. This makes addressing any dietary restrictions an important element towards achieving a positive reputation for your brand. You need a flexible and easy way to quickly change your offerings to the differing tastes and restrictions of your customers, and the reliance of a next-gen POS platform fits the bill.
The experienced restaurant POS consultants that talech has to offer will act as your guide through the complexities of menu development in a modern restaurant. Advanced technology brings with it the requirement for advanced training, which talech will provide to you and your staff. The ease in which you can make near real-time changes to your menus will offer menu variants to suit almost any taste, and will quickly see you realizing your full ROI and the fullest potential of your brand.
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