How to get ready for your new menu launch
- Celebrate what’s leaving the menu.
First and foremost whilst preparing to launch your new menu, celebrate the items that will no longer be available. It will prepare your loyal guest for a change and if people are passionate about those items they’ll be encouraged to come and enjoy them for the last time. If there is a steady stream of objections to a certain dish leaving that is important to consider! One tactic if that happens is to bring that dish back as a special when you’re expecting to be quiet or to honour people power and keep it around for longer. Your guests will feel really listened to and loyal that you’ve respected their wishes. Good vibes for all.
- Get team members excited about the new items.
This is probably the most important point! Make sure every one of your front of house team has a favourite for them to recommend to guests. And not just a favourite that you’ve told them to say! Allowing the team to try and enjoy new items will ignite their passion for the menu changes and you want that to come across to the guest. When everyone has not just their favourite but the reasons behind why it’s their favourite they will be able to hit the floor and recommend to their heart’s content. People will always buy from passionate people so make sure your team are excited.
- Invite local press to cook off and get feedback on new menu items.
Inviting local press down to try your new menu can pay dividends in exposure. Be honest with journalists that these are new items that the team are still learning and have pre-prepared sides and appetisers to keep them going if any unexpected delays occur with the new dishes.
- Get great images to use on social media.
I am a huge believer when it comes to launching a new menu, to have great quality, professional images to showcase your dishes both online and in the press. If you’re nervous about spending the money on a professional photographer alternatives could be to contact local photography school and exchange your space and food for some great images. Or ask your beer or wine supplier for some financial support to ensure their products are captured within the images. Whatever you can do to achieve great pics – just do it! The return on investment is undeniable.
- Schedule a soft launch.
This seems pretty obvious to the hardened operator but you would be surprised how many restaurants and pubs I have visited who have invited me to try the first night of their brand new menu on a Saturday night. The results can sometimes be pretty shambolic with a lot of confusion about menu items with the pressure of a busy service causing a meltdown. Steady your team into the new menu with more than one cook off and with the first night being a quieter one.