Mastering the menu
Simple ways to offer portion size guidance to guests
While guests inevitably make their own choice of what to eat and drink, what they order is heavily influenced by the layout of the menu. The menu can be constructed to inform, guide and encourage diners toward smaller portion sizes and nutritious options. Here are a few ideas to try:
- Offer choices: smaller portions, half portions, kids’ portions, and alternative side dishes.
- Promote sampling, sharing and/or tapas menus for the whole table to enjoy.
- Inform guests by providing simple and transparent nutritional information on themenu.
- Promote healthier items such as vegetable sides or salad by highlighting certain menu items: Chef’s recommended pairing, Chef’s choice, Signature item, etc.
A sense of connection
The idea of sharing plays into something else diners crave while eating out: a social connection. A full 69 percent of consumers report that dining with friends contributes to a fun, exciting restaurant experience.11 Small plates, samplers, and sharable items can encourage this kind of interactive meal while serving up smaller portion sizes.
A culinary experience
These days, some diners are more interested in exploring the menu than filling their stomachs. One study showed that 70 percent of customers order shareable meals so they can try more than one item on the menu.11 Offering smaller portion sizes allows them to indulge without overeating. To meet evolving expectations, some restaurants are offering alternative portion sizes, including “bites,” samplers, and small plates.
At your service
To promote quality of food over quantity, train service staff to highlight key attributes of each meal. For example, ask them to call attention to specific flavours and textures, or the provenance of special ingredients—whether local or exotic.