COVID-19 CHALLENGE: TO MENU OR NOT TO MENU?
Here at Executive we’ve experienced some difficulties because of Covid-19 just like many other businesses. However, some of the hardest hit have been those in the restaurant business. We would like to extend our heartfelt sympathy to anyone who has experienced business slowdowns because of this pandemic.
Sometimes people seem to think anyone who owns a business has it “made in the shade”. The events of the last few months have been a sobering reminder that no one is promised success, be they business owners or those in the general workforce. An individual may say, “I have rent to pay”. Very likely, so does your local diner. In addition, having employees who depend on you for their own livelihood can be an additional burden to a conscientious employer.
Restaurant owner or no, all of us need to pull together, making the best out of what life has sent our way. Have lemons? Make lemonade! Can’t do things “The way we’ve always done”? INNOVATE!
In the spirit of innovation, then let’s take a look at some practical solutions to a particular problem the owner of your local eatery may have…MENUS.
Some Menu solutions for your food business
Americans have always been a resilient people and Covid-19 has magnified the need for that adaptable spirit many times over. The restaurant sector has been especially hard hit. Initial shutdowns have evolved to partial openings in many states, but the challenge of how to best serve your customers remains. Research shows that the in-house menus seen in many restaurants in the past are one of the most unsanitary, contaminated items in the establishment.
A recent article in Food Safety News foodsafetynews.com highlights some of the innovations Americans are known for. As mentioned earlier, one of the problems faced since the pandemic started has been contaminated surfaces, whether on old style menus or otherwise. Fast food restaurants and quick stop gas islands have tried with some success to utilize digital menus on apps to order online in order to reduce the need to order on in house menu screens. This article mentions four possible fixes for the menu dilemma.
- Digital Menus
- Chalkboards or other Large signage
- Laminated Menus
- Disposable Menus
None of these solutions are perfect, and all may have strengths or weaknesses. In this article we would like to weigh some pros and cons of each.
There are a few different options in the digital arena. One is investing in an in-house digital screen that displays all of your restaurant offerings in one place. The disadvantage is cost, although most of the cost involved is a one-time charge for buying and setting up the hardware and software needed. Another disadvantage is the space required to display a digital screen. One advantage is the capability to present inviting photos or even videos of your food items.
Delivery Menu App
The other digital option is of course an online presence along with delivery apps, etc. More and more businesses today are moving in this direction, not only as a result of Covid-19 but simply to reach a broader audience.
Chalkboards/Large Menu Signage
An economical alternative to the digital menu is a chalkboard. While this may seem old fashioned there is a retro feel to such signage that fits in well with some restaurant décor. The option of large signage is also a good one. Your local graphic designer can create a unique design not seen anywhere else, thus putting your own persona in front of your daily customers. While more expensive than a simple chalkboard, the sign solution fits smack in the middle of a chalkboard and digital signage in the cost column.
8.5×11 Laminated Menus
Used by permission. postal98cafe.com
Although there are sanitation concerns with laminated menus with the proper procedures in place laminated menus can be a good solution to your menu needs. Cleaning and disinfecting in between each customer is a must in the current climate, and is not a bad idea even in a post Covid-19 world. Again, in the case of a laminated menu you can have a design firm create your very own feel, adding to the ambiance of your restaurant.
Disposable Folding Menus
Used by permission. postal98cafe.com
This may be the menu of the present, or even the menu of the future. Although printing costs can run up quickly, if you keep in mind the disposable nature of the menu it may make more sense than the other options. With a disposable menu there is no need to use high quality paper, thus cutting down on cost. A simple place mat menu at each table setting and you’re ready to serve. There’s no need to cut back on the quality of printing; you can still include great photos of your most mouthwatering and profitable dishes.
At Executive Printing, we’re always ready and willing to help you keep your business on the right track. Whatever your printing needs, we are here to help. If you have questions about the printing process, we would be happy to talk to you. Send us an email or give us a call today! And remember, virus or no virus, disposable menu or no, at Executive we ALWAYS stand behind what we print for you!
We promise to do our best to present you with exactly the product you need without mistake. However, as Grandad used to say, “The man who made no mistakes did nothing”. So, if we ever fail in our striving please let us know. We’ll do our best to make it right. Every time.