As a frequent eater of many food trucks I’ve seen all types of menus; short ones, long ones, easy ones and complicated ones. You probably have invested a tremendous amount of time and creative thought into your menu. However, you want to be sure your customers can understand it and order quickly.
Now I don’t eat at McDonald’s often, but if you try to tell me you don’t like their fries, you're either lying or something is wrong with your taste buds. There’s a reason they are the largest fast food franchise in the world- good food, reasonable prices, and ease of purchase. Have you ever seen the Jim Gaffigan skit on fast food ordering? He jokes about how dumbed-down menus are getting. Here’s a clip:
The point is people want good food fast. If you try to over complicate your menu, you might lose customers who don’t have the time, don’t have the interest or don’t want to sound embarrassed trying to navigate your menu. Not saying that you need to have order by numbers, but there are are several reasons to have an easy menu:
- Uncomplicated menus are friendlier to customers. Maybe you have seared ahi with baby greens in an organic spinach tortilla with house made aioli. What’s easier, saying that or The Awesome Ahi Wrap? Just an example, but you get where I’m going with this.
- Faster ordering means faster lines and more business. If your menu is complicated and you’re at a big event, wouldn’t you rather take in money than take time to explain items to every customer in line? They may move on to the next truck that is pumping orders out.
- Faster throughput. Over complicated menus usually involve complicated dishes which means more shopping, more inventory, longer prep and cook time and longer waits. Granted, you want your dishes to be unique, but remember you’re still in the fast food business. Your throughput is you lifeline and ability to generate income and repeat customers. Your food might be worth the wait, but you can’t stay in business if you don’t sell enough fast enough.
Also, when designing your menu make it easy to sell add-ons. Fast food employees are trained and expected to ask if you want a soda or some other add-on. This is the easiest way to generate extra revenue.
You're probably already doing some or all of the above. If not, it's a great time to think about your menu and making it easier this year for your customers to order and for you to make money. I don’t want to see you to lose eaters to a #2 at the drive-thru down the block.