There’s absolutely no doubt that Americans love sitting down and eating ice cream, especially in the summer months. After all, what’s a better way to beat the heat than sitting on a park bench, enjoying the weather and taking licks of every favorite ice cream flavor.
In fact, Americans are estimated to eat about 48 pints of ice cream per year and 90% of U.S. households regularly eat cold treats like ice cream.
If you’re the purveyor of the local ice cream shop, you know that creating a good menu is important. Obviously, you want to have tasty products to offer and a nice shop to visit, but you need to find ways to get customers interested in your products. That’s where a menu comes in.
So what does it take to create the perfect menu? Here are some things to consider as you sit down to create one:
- Use visual aids: Let’s say your ice cream shop is known for making out-of-this-world, one-of-a-kind creative ice cream confections. A menu can be the perfect way to show them off and that means using pictures. Think about how mouthwatering a banana split with a plastic spoon on side can look on a menu. Ultimately, you want to show customers what they’re ordering. Whether it’s one of your confections or just a simple ice cream cup with a scoop of ice cream and a plastic spoon, you want to showcase your products.
- Menus mean culture: As you design your menu, keep in mind that it should reflect just what your shop is all about. If zany creations are your shop’s claim to fame, maybe that means the menu is fun and quirky. Try to find a balance between offering old favorites that everyone can fall back on and the one-of-a-kind creations that set you apart from the competition.
- Choose words carefully: As you plan your menu, remember that pictures are important, but so are the words you choose to put on your menu. That means offering a creative description that tells the customers what they can expect when they eat a certain product (what it looks like, what it tastes like, what it feels like eating it). Using inviting words to describe your products will draw customers in.
- Get creative: There’s nothing wrong with having favorites like floats or the banana split on your menu. But if one-of-a-kind confections are what your shop does, then don’t be afraid to change things up and put some twists on old favorites. This will improve intriguing to customers because it’s something they know with just enough of a twist to make them curious. The same thing can be said of supplies like plastic spoons and cups. You can choose colorful supplies or put your shop’s logo on them. Ultimately, it’s about giving people options.
- Menu = marketing: The menu for your shop should be a lot more than just words and pictures. Think of the menu as an extension of your company’s brand. It tells customers what you’re about, who you are, what you have to offer and what you can give customers that’s unique. This might include options like take-home menus and company logos printed on those as well as your in-store menus.
- Be careful with pricing: When a customer looks at your menu, you want them to look at products and order something like a root beer float because they see a photo of it sitting next to a plastic spoon and think it’s delicious, not because of what it costs. One idea in that regard is to eliminate prices or dollar signs entirely. When a customer sees prices on a menu, it can have an effect on what they buy. That means they may shy away from higher priced menu items when they see the price in writing and may not order what they really want. Keep your prices similar to what competitors might charge, but don’t go overboard.
A well-thought out, creative and eye-catching menu filled with all your shop’s confections will help your business stand out and keep customers coming into your shop during the hot summer months.