Menu + Food

How to Launch a New Menu Item at Your Restaurant

Introducing a new menu item? Here are some tips on how to launch with confidence and a plan.
Amanda Hamel

As a restaurant owner, you know that your customers are looking for new menu items to try. They want something different from the norm—something that will make them feel like they have found a hidden gem in your establishment. It's also important for them to have an easy time finding these new dishes on the menu and ordering them at the register. If they don't find what they're looking for, they may leave without eating anything at all!

To help improve your chances of success with these two goals (and many more), we'll talk about how best to launch new menu items: why it's worth doing so; how long it takes; how much effort goes into each step along this process; what kind of information should be provided during each step; and who might benefit most from having access to such knowledge as well.

What are your goals?

Before you can decide what to add or remove from your menu, it's important to define your goals in doing so. How are you going to use this new item? Why will it be a good addition to the menu? What's the impact on the restaurant, guests, and employees’ experience when this item becomes available? You should consider these questions before moving forward to ensure launching your new meal will be a success!

Plan for who, what, and why.

Once you've decided that it's time to launch a new menu item, it's important to plan for who will be eating the new item and why.

The first step is to have a plan. What should be on our menu? This is an important question because there are many different options out there when thinking about what kind of food can fit into your restaurant—and sometimes these choices aren't easy! 

Understanding your guests will come in handy here. You’ll want to make sure your new menu addition suits their wants and needs. Use this information to determine what your guests would like to see on the menu. If there is no demand for a certain type of food at your restaurant, then stay away from options like that.

Consider pricing and risk.

Don’t forget to consider the costs of your new menu addition. This includes everything from staff salaries, price of ingredients, as well as materials needed such as plates, napkins etcetera which all add up quickly! It's important not only to calculate how much money needs to be spent but also to consider how much risk there could be if something goes wrong which could mean losing money overall rather than making a profit during this process.

How much should you charge for the new item? Many customers will be willing to pay more than what they would have paid previously, but not all of them. Before deciding on a price, consider how much risk there is in pricing too high and losing some sales to competitors who are lower on the price scale. When pricing your item, try to stay in the same range as your current offers. You may also want to factor in how much money you expect to make on this new menu item over time and if it will hold a permanent place on your menu.

Promote the new item through social media, email, and in-store.

You can use social media to promote your new menu item by sharing images of it with your followers, tagging them in posts, and even asking them to share their photos of the item with you. Email is another great way to reach customers who may not be familiar with your brand yet. You can let people know about new menu items through email campaigns with links sent directly from your website or app for mobile devices.

In-store promotions are effective when done well—and that means having a plan before going out on the floor! If you have any questions about how much inventory should be set aside for each store location, make sure someone from management is available during opening hours so they can answer questions about setup and staffing needs as needed during peak periods. 

Stay in front of customers with a soft launch.

The soft launch is a way to test your product and marketing strategy before you go full steam ahead with it. It’s also a good opportunity for you to get feedback from customers, which can help guide future decisions. If you own multiple locations try introducing your new item at only some of the locations first to see how it does with your guests.

If you have just started your restaurant business, or if it's been around for a while but there are no new menu items yet, then this might not be the best option for your restaurant. If that's the case then maybe start with something simple like an appetizer or dessert menu item instead of adding another entrée on top of everything else that people already order regularly at other restaurants. 

Add a splash to printed menus.

You can use a splash to highlight the new item in a way that's easy to read and understand. For example, you could use a splash of color for new menu items that are on sale or in limited quantities. Or if your restaurant is featuring multiple items from the same category, like an appetizer sampler platter with meatballs and mozzarella sticks, and flatbreads, then adding some color would be helpful. 

Having an extra visual element around these items on your menu will help attract your guest's attention toward the new meal or offer. Another way to promote your offer is by making it big and bold on your menu, and having staff members talk to your guests about it!

Let your staff know the whys and hows of a new item launch.

If a new menu item is going to be added, your staff must know the whys and hows of the launch. You want them to be prepared for any issues that may arise with this new product; this way, they'll have time to fix those problems before customers know about them.

When an issue arises with a new menu item or service, make sure your staff is prepared so they can handle potential questions from customers by having an answer ready at hand that is simple but still informative. And if complaints are coming in from customers during or after their visit, make sure everyone on staff knows what they should do if they encounter any negative feedback—and when notifying management about this information would be helpful!

You will want to make sure that you have the right people on board, resources, and messages. There is no point investing in a new restaurant menu item if you don’t have the help of someone who can implement it successfully. You should also make sure that your promotion plan is well thought out so that it reaches all the right people at just the right time. 

As you can see, there are a lot of steps to launching a new restaurant menu item. But with the right planning and execution, you can make sure that your customers know about it from the moment they walk into your establishment. By following these simple tips and steps, you’re going to be able to launch any product with confidence!