Consistency has always been one of the most critical factors in the success of any restaurant brand. Whether its consistency in the quality and flavor of your menu items, consistency in the attentiveness and efficacy of your service team, or consistency in your branding and brand identity, every element of your restaurant has to be placed under scrutiny to ensure it meets the standards you have set, consistently.
And that’s the thing about consistency; it’s not a one-time thing. Day-in, day-out, each and every one of the elements of your brand has to be checked to ensure you deliver a consistent brand experience to your customers. This sets the bar high, especially for multi-unit and chain operators who have to achieve this across ten, twenty, or two-hundred outlets.
Historically it was hard enough for operators to maintain consistency in every area, from the food to the brand experience via the quality of service, but some areas were thankfully straightforward enough to manage. The menu is a prime example of this; in its printed form at least, the menu was generally rolled-out once a year, and once that was done, it was simply a question of making sure stocks were sufficient in each outlet, and that they were clean and presentable when offered to customers.
In a market where consumers expect to see estate branded products and ingredients sourced from nearby farms, or the restaurant garden, on the menu, along with multiple menu updates a year however, it’s become much harder. New, location specific menus have to be rolled-out with growing frequency, and keeping them consistent and in line with brand standards system-wide has become one of the harder tasks for operators, if only in terms of time investment.
Add to this is the fact that, in today’s market, consumers expect to find a restaurant’s menu online, mobile compatible, and consistent with the one in their local outlet, and it means that for chain operators in particular, keeping their menu consistent has moved from a simple enough affair, to a far more complex one.
Standardization and systemization, two of the keys to consistency in the industry, can obviously help in this, but with systems that are often fossilized and built one on top of the other over the years, it’s become increasingly difficult for brands to streamline their menu management processes without revamping them altogether.
Considering that your menu is your greatest marketing tool, and always has been, and with the increasing trend toward multiple menu updates a year, and location specific ones at that, becoming essential in keeping restaurant brands competitive, could it be time for you to think about revamping your menu management processes?