Why You Should Implement These 4 Menu Best Practices

Here’s how to make sure every customer knows what your foodservice program has to offer.

March 09, 2023

This article is brought to you by Abierto.

Abierto-logo.pngALEXANDRIA, Va.—You’ve worked hard to polish your foodservice menu, fixed some common mistakes, and now you’re ready to implement a long-term plan to make a great menu a key part of your foodservice strategy. There are four best practices retailers can implement to accomplish this, according to Rick Sales, president of Abierto, a digital and engagement solutions company.

“Retailers put so much effort into making their food taste great, but the key to long-term success is a menu strategy to tell that story,” said Sales. “The menu needs to go above and beyond a stagnant list of what food the retailer offers.”

Sales says that bigger is better when it comes to a menu board. A large menu ensures customers see your foodservice offering from multiple vantage points in the store. That menu should also be digital and customizable by location, as well as have the ability to display limited-time offers (LTOs), specials and advertisements. Abierto’s cloud-based Open.Menu solution allows retailers to accomplish all this.

“We actually recommend implementing a videowall for most menus, where individual screens can display your menu, advertise LTOs, specials, products or anything else the retailer wants to sell more of,” said Sales.

Sales also says that working with an outside expert to create mouthwatering images of menu items is essential for a five-star menu. Abierto’s “big, bold and beautiful” mantra hinges on combining high-quality photography and videos with a compelling menu to draw customers in.

Another best practice is to have a plan to utilize dayparts and a cohesive system of ads to run throughout the store, on the forecourt and at the pump. Time relevant advertising and menus to help bolster success. Advertise breakfast during breakfast hours and late night at night.

Sales advises retailers to create at least three touchpoints that convince customers to take the time to purchase food from your location. Cohesive and repetitive messaging should extend from your menu to all the digital signage at a location.

“Research shows that it takes at least three times of somebody seeing or hearing a message for it to stick. Digital signage, which Abierto specializes in, contributes to that repetition and brand experience,” said Sales.

The third best practice is localizing your messaging. A localized approach can boost sales, said Sales, who pointed to examples such as offering Cuban coffee in Florida, Tex-Mex in Texas and meal plates in the Midwest.

“The c-store industry is really unique in that menus can vary by region. Make sure you can advertise at the localized level,” said Sales. “This can be a ticket to foodservice growth, and the right menu platform makes this possible.”

Finally, retailers should have a bigger perspective and strategy on what they’re trying to accomplish with their menu.

“Are you aiming for trialing specific products? Do you want to grow your overall foodservice offer, or are you just focusing on repeat visits?” asked Sales. “It’s important to have the right strategy for what you are trying to accomplish as well as the proper toolkit.”

That toolkit, he said, includes the right hardware and the right software, along with the right services that support the toolkit.

“When we work with our clients, we come to them as an industry expert and a technology partner to augment the toolkit and keep it current,” said Sales.

Learn more about what services Abierto offers to make your foodservice menu strategy a success.

This is the final installment of a two-part NACS Daily series on how convenience retailers can maximize their foodservice menus. Learn more about Abierto.