How to Successfully Introduce Digital Menus to Your Bar
In the age of smartphones and tablets, a digital menu is an essential selling tool for your venue. It adds a competitive advantage and caters to customers who expect convenience and efficiency in every aspect of their lives.
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Learn more about the different types of digital menus, the benefits to your business, and tips for making your menu digital friendly to enhance your customers' experience and help your venue stay ahead in a competitive market.
What is a Digital Menu?
A digital menu is a version of your physical menu available for customers to view online through your website, a drink-ordering app, or a QR code.
Digital menus can be as simple as PDFs linked on a website or social media, or interactive, like on ordering apps.
Different Types of Digital Menus
The type of digital menu used varies across venues. Here are some examples to consider:
- Website: Customers access menus directly on a venue's website.
- QR Codes: A QR code, usually in-venue (on tables or walls), is scanned using a smartphone or tablet camera to access the menu.
- In-App: View menus on the venue’s own app or bar discovery apps.
- Tablet: Use tablets fixed to the table to browse and order directly from the digital menu.
- Online Ordering Platforms: Find menus on online ordering platforms or third-party delivery services.
- E-mail: Customers who opted in for a venue's updates and promotions can receive the latest menus by email.
- Social Media: Users access menus on social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook.
- Search Engines: Menus can be shown directly in search results through the highlighted menu tab for restaurant/bar listings in the photo section.
Benefits of a Digital Menu
Much more than a 'nice-to-have', a digital menu can add tangible benefits to your business:
- Reach new customers - When searching for a nearby bar, customers often browse the menu in advance ('Do they serve my favorite cocktail?' 'Are there alcohol-free options?'). A digital menu can help gain customers at a critical decision-making stage.
- Reassure and impress - A digital menu helps you to set expectations about price, and selection and be transparent about ingredients and other special considerations like allergens or dietary needs. Your customers will be impressed to know that the menu meets their specific requirements.
- Show off your unique selling points - If you are in the early stages of building your bar's reputation, your digital menu is an excellent shop window enabling you to showcase your unique story, offerings, and specialties.
- Create upselling opportunities - A digital menu gives you the flexibility to regularly update incentives such as discounts, food and drink pairings, or limited-time offers.
TOP TIPS FOR A DIGITAL MENU
- Maximize visibility - Create contrasted, boxed-off, or standout areas to grab attention and help sales of key menu items, top serves, or seasonal offers above other products.
- Simple and uncluttered - Organize your drinks into logical categories, such as cocktails, beers, wines, and non-alcoholic beverages, with clear information about ingredients and allergens to make it easier for customers to find their desired options quickly.
- Update and Rotate - Add a seasonal section to the start of the menu to immediately draw the customer's eye. Use this space to rotate offers and seasonal drinks, for example, Summer Specials or World Gin Day-themed drinks.
- Mobile first - Design the menu with a mobile-friendly layout so it's easy to view on a small screen. Place essential information, such as drink names and prices, prominently, and use clear headings and section dividers to improve readability.
- Get creative - Use creative ways to showcase your venue's personality through your menu, with friendly, conversational descriptive wording and design flourishes.
- Test and gather feedback - Before finalizing your digital menu, test it on various devices and gather feedback from staff or regular customers. This ensures that it's user-friendly and effective. Once your menu is live, keep checking back on it as there’s always room for optimization.
Five Key Takeaways
- A digital menu is essential for customers who expect convenience and to help you showcase your offering in a competitive market.
- Choose the optimum digital menu type for your venue and online presence, including QR codes, in-app menus, social media, or emailable menus.
- Digital menus need to be easily accessible on a mobile device. Once your menu is online, try testing it on different devices with staff or loyal customers to ensure it's working well.
- Use your digital menu to upsell by showcasing seasonal offers and promotions, help drive sales of key drinks, and show off your specialties by adding standout, boxed-off areas.
- The design of your menu is an opportunity to get creative and bring your venue's unique personality to life.
A digital menu is an indispensable asset for your establishment, bringing more ease and accessibility to your customers and opening up new opportunities for upselling and showcasing all your venue has to offer.
If you'd like more tips on using your menu to boost sales and provide a better customer experience, take our e-learning course Selling with Menus.