How to Create a Popular Menu Using Your Bar & Restaurant POS System

Using your bar and restaurant POS system to curate the perfect menu is a great way to encourage hungry guests to come back, again and again!

Optimizing Your Bar & Restaurant

Your beautiful space is typically the first impression guests have of your restaurant or bar, but menus are an immediate second! Whether your menu makes guests drool on first glance should be a top priority, and that ball is entirely in your court. 

Using your bar and restaurant POS system to curate the perfect menu is a great way to get guests hungry, ordering high-profit menu items, and bringing their friends back with them next time!

Dynamic, Digital Menus Optimize Ordering

There are 3 ways using a digital menu supported by your bar and restaurant POS system, versus printing paper menus, helps you optimize your menu.

1. Easily Editable Menus

Because digital menus are so easy to edit, they give you the opportunity to regularly test and iterate different menu options. If your chef is convinced they have a new hit recipe, digital menus give them the creative freedom to try out offering that dish for a week. This also lets you offer seasonal dishes based on the freshest produce. Not only do guests love being surprised by new choices each time they come into your bar or restaurant, they also appreciate eating right-from-the-garden goods!

You can also offer different menus based on the time of day. Perhaps, for instance, you’ve noticed you can’t get chicken wings out of the kitchen fast enough during Happy Hour, but they’re rarely ordered at lunch and dinner. Utilizing timed menus via your bar and restaurant POS system means you can set preferences by the hour for what menu items display across staff and guest devices. Now chicken wings are a Happy Hour only special, so guests are likely to gobble them up when they can from 3-6pm, and they’re not taking up space on your dinner menu.

2. Incentivize Ordering Certain Items

Digital menus also give you the ability to upload photos and tantalizing descriptions to direct customer attention to the items you’d like them to order, i.e. high-profit or most popular choices. Some guests are indecisive—and everything sounds so good, of course—so flashy extras on items you want to sell can help them make their decision. Bars and restaurants also flag certain items with little icons to point out best-sellers or monthly specials. Either is possible with digital menus!

3. Ensure Accuracy At All Times

Besides incentivizing orders with timed menus and customizable menu item listings, digital menus by a bar and restaurant POS system also let you make quick menu changes. Say your brussel sprout supplier had a bad crop, and you need to nix that appetizer from the menu. Because it’s digital, you only need to update the menu in one place on the backend, and now it’s gone from the menu. 

Part of having a popular menu is ensuring that it’s accurate at all times. There’s nothing worse for a server to have to deliver this bad news to a sprout-craving guest after they’ve already placed their order. 

Get Menu Insights From Reporting 

Watching chicken wings fly from the kitchen is one way of identifying a best seller, but it’s much more accurate to back up those assumptions with data. The best bar and restaurant POS system sets you up with the necessary tools to pinpoint the most popular and most profitable menu items, as well as peak ordering hours.

Your bar and restaurant POS system should be providing pre-built, customizable reports in an accessible online dashboard. These reports can go as narrow or broad as your heart desires, and also identify the most popular or profitable menu items based on time of day or day of the week. 

Here’s another important distinction the best bar and restaurant POS system makes: order time versus purchase time.

  • Order time notes the time a menu item was added to a tab. This gives you precise information about when your staff got started whipping up their dish or drink!
  • Purchase time notes the time a bill was paid. This can be deceptive in reports, because some guests have so much fun at lunch, they stay through Happy Hour! But if they’re only slugging Coors Light from 1-6pm, you’re not getting the accurate timestamps of when your chef was making their lunch. 

Smart bar and restaurant POS systems use order time so that you can make accurate staffing decisions. Part of providing a popular menu is ensuring that you have the necessary staff to collect orders and assemble plates. That way, food is the proper temperature, drinks keep flowing, and your guests stay happy

Reduce Ordering Friction With Contactless Ordering

Speaking of ensuring service is speedy and staff are efficient, contactless ordering is a great option for optimizing your menu. Giving guests a choice in how they order is part of the menu-perusing experience, and guests love having options!

QR Code Ordering

The best bar and restaurant POS system provides QR code ordering. This technology combined with your hospitable staff creates an exceptional ordering experience. 

By putting ordering power right in a guests’ hands, you encourage them to order more and build their own tabs. In fact, it’s proven that QR code ordering increases tab size by 24%! This means guests taste more of your menu and are more likely to try new things.

Since they’re inputting orders themselves, this method of ordering also ensures utmost ordering accuracy, and therefore ensures every menu item is to a guest’s liking. 

Customer-Facing Mobile App

Some bar and restaurant POS systems offer a customer-facing mobile app available for download on iOS and Android. This provides yet another way of reducing any ordering friction. Perhaps they’re in a hurry and want to pick up dinner on their way home: Your bar and restaurant is now a quick, delicious option for them!

Online Storefront

Diversify revenue streams and menu options by offering an online storefront. The best bar and restaurant POS systems make it free to host and easy to set up. This is another channel where you can promote menu items or special releases, offer discounts to incentivize orders, and even sell merchandise. Creating a popular menu means guests can order their favorite neighborhood tater tots AND purchase a branded t-shirt to prove their fried potato loyalties.

Programming Drives Excitement About Your Menu

There’s no better way to garner enthusiasm and test out the taste buds of your customer base than with an event! Here are a couple ideas:

Loyalty Members Only Party

Throw an exclusive gathering for your loyalty members! Bar and restaurant POS systems make it easy to create email promotions and invites to loyalty members, and this is a group of trusted individuals that would love to try out new menu items and give their honest feedback! Creating exclusivity behind it makes non-members inquisitive, and members feel special. 

Try out offering complimentary small bites of your proposed menu items, and sell drink tickets that go towards a raffle. A party like this is a great way to create community among your members and also gain insight into what your most loyal patrons want to see on the menu!

Food & Drink Pairing Party

What better way to get customers to try new menu items than by pairing it with their favorite beverages? Promoting a pairing menu event entices date nighters and never-been-before-ers, so you get exposure to a new type of clientele. 

An event like this also may give you important insights on what your menu currently offers. Maybe guests actually love the fancy grilled cheese, but the menu description has been throwing them off from ordering it before. Watching them lick their cheesy fingers after demolishing your delicious sandwich will clue you in that making that description sound more gourmet will help drive more sales of it. 

Enlist Your Staff As Savvy Sales People

Your staff are darling hosts, expert multi-taskers, and also know your menu better than anyone. Of course you should be using them in addition to your bar and restaurant POS system to create the most popular menu possible. 

Don’t Just Sell. Upsell!

Staff-guest interactions are a primary determinant of the guest experience. Your staff shouldn’t just be making small talk and taking orders, they should be helping curate the tab each table will enjoy the most. 

Did you know guests order on average 10.3% more when staff offer recommendations? That means staff need to know drink pairings and delicious sides that go with every meal order. Better yet, have a pitch ready to sell them on your most profitable dish! Telling a story about how the roasts’ herbs came right from the garden in the back, or how the salmon dish is the chef’s great grandmother’s secret recipe is a great way to not only engage guests, but also to direct them to any certain dish. Everything you offer is delicious, of course, so they can’t go wrong!

Another way to upsell is encouraging to-go items when guests check out. I noticed you liked the cheesecake. Would you like to take a slice home? That shows guests that staff members are paying attention to what they like, and clues them in on menu items they may not know were available. A bigger tab size and a more satisfied guest is a win, win. 

If some staff are shy or dragging their feet to fill the shoes of a sales person, incentivize your team with rewards. You can generate reports with your bar and restaurant POS system to determine the top staff sellers every month, and recognize team members accordingly. A little friendly competition never hurt anyone!

Tab Modifiers Customize Meals

Another way a bar and restaurant POS system supports staff in curating the perfect order for guests is with easy-to-use tab modifiers. Modifiers are add-ons that personalize a dish. This could be a steak’s temperature, a pizza’s toppings, or a choice of 2 sides with a BBQ sandwich. Whatever it is, guests love the option to customize their meal, and the best bar and restaurant POS system makes it easy on the staff-facing interface to quickly add modifiers to a dish. 

This is another opportunity to upsell, too! Who could say no to avocado or a side of sweet potato fries?

So what’s preventing you from making your menu a show stopper? Flaunt those delicious food and drink options and lean on your POS system to ensure it’s the most popular menu on the block. 
Arryved POS serves bars and restaurants as well as you serve your guests. Get a free, custom demo today to learn how Arryved can help you run a better business.

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