ButterBall Farms Inc.

Minding the Menu

(This grass-fed ribeye offers menu cues that convey values important to today’s diners. On-trend flavor descriptors further enhance: coffee-rubbed and served with bourbon butter atop parsnip purée. Image from GetFlavor.com.)

Mouthwatering food descriptions are often used to entice customers, but how do those descriptors affect sales and customer satisfaction? For instance, when you hear, “Buttery bliss in every bite” or “our butter can be spicy, smoky, exotic, and sophisticated; you imagine it, we can make it” doesn’t that make your mouth water and dare you to dream? Foods that have rich descriptions are most likely to be selected by consumers. And as an added bonus, consumers associate descriptive food labels with high quality and are willing to pay more. As consumer preferences and value systems continue to advance and expand, it’s crucial to keep menu language relevant and enticing, making it a true ambassador for the restaurant brand.

So how can you entice you patrons with delicious words? Here’s some food for thought:

The Way We Are: Over the past few decades, consumers became more restaurant savvy, driven largely by the increased affordability of dining out as well as a greater level of confidence in the value of the restaurant experience. Slowly but surely, menus began to incorporate more information.

Filling up the Space: Consumers now want far more background and transparency on the menu. In the 2010s, the need to identify sources—particularly local—increased.

The Evolved Menu: So where are we headed? With the growth of detail and transparency, descriptions have only become longer and more involved, further pressing the space issue.

A Change in Terms: Menu descriptors come in and out of vogue to reflect what consumers want and expect from restaurants.