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Marketing & Menu - hints and tips

To design a menu that works hard for you, first you need to work out which dishes are really making a difference to your profit, taking into account ingredients, wastage, production time, as well as which will increase spend per customer (like sides, desserts, coffee).

The trick is to make these high margin dishes and extras more eye-catching on your menu so that they get noticed. It’s a bit like featuring best sellers at eye level on a supermarket shelf. The words we use to describe dishes can also enhance their appeal, and even justify a higher price point.


Here are some top tips from our marketing team

  • Put your high margin dishes first and last in each section of the menu.
  • Use boxes or colour to emphasise them.
  • Pictures can add appeal if you have access to really good photography.
  • Keep the layout easy on the eye and not too busy, blocking starters, mains, desserts etc.
  • Include short descriptions of each dish.
  • Use enticing words that bring to life the cooking process or the flavours, textures or aromas.
  • Consider bringing out little of your own personality or that of your pub. Maybe drop in a couple of interesting facts about the pub, who created the recipe, or where the ingredients are from.


Winning words to use on your menu

slow-cooked  •  home-prepared  •  rich  •  locally reared  •  slow-roasted  •  hand-battered  •  zesty  •  sustainably sourced  •  
pan-seared  •  freshly baked  •  smoked  •  free-range  •  flame-grilled  •  drizzled with  •  spiced  •  sizzling  •  tossed in  • caramelised  •  hand-cut  •  sauted

If you’re looking for some good designs, why not try out some of ours, we’ve got quite a range! Give our agency
SDA Marketing a call on 01303 813 026 or email us at

Go the extra mile with marketing , why not try…

Direct Mail, leaflets and e-mails

Capture your customers’ contact details, and you can then use these simple advertising tools to attract new and existing customers with messages like ‘try our new menu’, ‘new local dishes’, ‘key events coming up’. However, remember that you need to offer them the choice of opting out!


Key calendar events

Identify, plan and advertise key events and theme nights through the year - they can add up to a lot of incremental sales. Think outside the obvious occasions… how about a wine and beer tasting evening to match up to the menu?


Celebrating customers

A recent YouGov survey* showed that 36% of people go to pubs for a celebration. This is a perfect opportunity to reward them for choosing your pub, capture their details and incentivise them to come back next year - for example a glass of wine for the birthday girl or boy?


Menus, table talkers, posters

These are all opportunities to upsell your high margin dishes and get your customers engaged with the food. Enticing pictures and descriptions can make the difference and persuade your customers to trade up or try another course.


Sales calls and networking

Visit local businesses or try to negotiate alliances to target event trade. Why not investigate sponsoring a local event, a great way to get out and meet your customers.


Your website

Extend and update your website regularly and consider adding information about new menu launches, events, special events, etc.


Press releases and PR campaigns

You can construct and execute your own PR to draw attention to special awards, events etc. For instance, you could launch a competition that allows customers to choose the items that will be added to your seasonal menu.


Your team

Use their sales skills! Brief them fully about the dishes on your menu so they are confident explaining and selling them to customers. Try giving them a little added motivation with incentives - a bottle of wine for the most desserts sold perhaps.


Try it for yourself!

We've worked with our agency SDA Marketing to put together a new electronic menu design form which allows you to customise your design to suit your needs, select quantities and place an order with just a few simple clicks. Try it for yourself today!


* - Pubs and Bars, 2011


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