Why are restaurants expanding their menu options for takeout and home delivery? It seems that every time we select a comfort meal that allows us to enjoy eating in the comfort of our own homes, we’re faced with a bewildering choice. That choice is not only in the number of restaurants that are offering delivery services, but in the sheer number of menu items we are given. Why are restaurant menus growing at what seems an exponential rate?
Why great things come in small packages
Some menu items are here for a short period and then fade away. Examples include the ill-considered McDonald’s McPizza and Burger King ribs. More menu items lead to longer wait times. The longer the menu, the more confused the consumer can be. In 2019, convenience food outlets have flirted with additional items – most have failed. The simple fact is that more menu items do not mean increased sales.
So why do restaurants do this?
The fact is that competition is increasing in certain fast-food market segments. The idea that a chain can be all things to all people is an alluring one. However, studies have shown that increasing menus only leads to confusion and the net effect is to slow down service and increase pressure on kitchen staff. Most consumers want simplicity and comfort and adding menu items may result in a spike in sales, but at the risk of cannibalising demand for the items that are the mainstay of the business. Put simply, restaurants expanding menu options for takeout and home delivery are at risk of driving loyal customers away.
Are there exceptions to the rule?
A restaurant chain has to experiment to keep their menu fresh. Sometimes it works. The key is not to deviate from a tried and proven formula. A prime example is the current frenzy surrounding the Popeyes Chicken Sandwich. The launch has been so successful that violence has ensued when locations have run out of ingredients. The key is not only social media sharing, but also the fact that the sandwich relies on tested consumer demand with some minor tweaks. Popeyes did not reinvent its menu, it merely supplemented it.
So what sort of restaurants have got it right in terms of delivery items?
The rule of thumb for a successful restaurant that leverages delivery as part of its service offering seems simple. Innovate – up to point. If your business is seafood, don’t offer seven new burger options. Add fresh seafood options based on a proven formula for success. This is one of the reasons that foodpanda in Singapore has been so successful. The restaurants offered stick to what they’re good at. Visit foodpanda.sg and enjoy offerings from outlets such as Popeyes or Long John Silver (at https://www.foodpanda.sg/ch ). Their formula for success is simple – great value, convenience and indulgence you can enjoy at home.