Are you looking to get up-to-speed on fast casual menu design? This trendy new style of restaurant has enjoyed an incredible gain in popularity over the last few years, with the global market estimated at a value of around USD 189.7 billion in 2022 and projected to grow 11.5% by 2028.
Fast casual restaurants are a type of restaurant that offer freshly made meals at an affordable price with fast service and often limited table service. This style of dining is popular for its convenience, quality ingredients, and quick turnaround time.
A fast casual restaurant is similar to traditional fast food restaurants, but with some key differences. Here's a quick breakdown:
Now that you know what sets fast casual apart from traditional fast food, let's explore how menu design plays a role in creating an enjoyable dining experience.
If you’re struggling to create a menu design for your fast casual restaurant, or you’re updating your current menu, look no further, we’ve got you covered. Follow these suggestions for a menu that will appeal to customers and boost sales.
Before you begin, you must do your homework to have all the information you need for your menu. Some of the decisions you have to make include:
When crafting your fast casual menu, consider how much time and effort will be needed for each dish. You may want to prioritize menu items that can have most of the prep work done ahead of time — like cutting up your veggies for sandwiches or pre-making salads and soups.
Additionally, it's important to remember that not all dishes require professional cooking skills. It's best to pick straightforward recipes that anyone can follow.
When pricing your fast casual menu, you want to ensure that customers can access good quality food at a price they can afford. At the same time, you need to make money too, so you must price your items high enough to give you a reasonable profit margin.
Rising food costs and supply chain shortages can make this difficult, but there are ways to manage your prices and keep costs down. Here are some tips for keeping food costs low:
By being mindful of the costs associated with your menu items, you can ensure that customers get access to quality dishes at a price they are willing to pay — and you can increase your profit margins.
As you’re designing your menu, it’s important to consider the needs of all customers. While you want to keep your menu simple, it’s also essential that you offer a variety of dietary options.
To make sure everyone is satisfied with their meal, here are some things to consider:
Choosing dishes for your menu may seem complicated, but with careful planning, you can create a selection of meals that will satisfy everyone.
Now that you’ve made the hard decisions, the fun part starts. It’s time to pick your menu design and write appetizing descriptions for each dish. While you do this, consider these five things:
When it comes to designing your fast casual menu, simple is always best. Here are some tips for making sure your menu is easy to navigate and understand:
By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way toward creating an easy-to-navigate fast casual menu that will keep your customers happy and coming back for more.
Keeping up with the trends is vital when designing a successful fast casual menu. To stay ahead of the game, make sure you’re aware of what consumers are looking for — like plant-based meat alternatives that have become increasingly popular in recent years.
Offering trendy options could be a great way to attract new customers and keep up with the changing times.
Choose words that are descriptive and inviting — think "crispy", "tender", and "flavorful". This will encourage customers to try the dish and build their anticipation for a delicious meal. Don’t forget to highlight unique ingredients or flavors in each item.
With vivid descriptions of your dishes, you can create an exciting menu that will surely please all who visit your restaurant.
Remember, you have something special to offer diners — your unique dishes. Showcase these signature items on your menu by making them stand out from the rest.
Feature them at the top of the list, and use words like 'signature' and 'specialty' to denote that these are dishes created specifically for your establishment. This will draw attention to them and make it easier for customers to identify which items are truly one-of-a-kind.
Ensure customers can quickly find what they're looking for in your menu design. Try organizing items into sections like appetizers, entrees, and desserts. You can also group similar items together, such as salads or sandwiches, so customers don't have to search the entire menu.
Lastly, use white space and images effectively so the eye isn't overwhelmed when scanning the menu. This makes it easier for customers to focus on specific dishes and decide quickly.
Designing an effective fast casual restaurant menu is essential for success. While it can be overwhelming to decide which items to offer customers, by using our handy tips, you can create a memorable dining experience that keeps customers coming back.
By utilizing fast casual restaurant software like Push, you can easily manage your HR, payroll scheduling, time tracking, and more, all in one platform — allowing you to spend less time managing operations and more time perfecting your menu.
So if you're looking to open a fast casual restaurant and want the best technology available, book a demo with us and see just how easy it can be to manage your team.
“In the labor numbers, we were reporting about a $300 to $400 difference than what we were getting through Push!”
-Tara Hardie, ZZA Hospitality Group, 16 locations