How To Introduce New Items to the Menu

The restaurant business is tough. Seasoned businesses and newcomers alike sometimes struggle with staying current and relevant. But it never hurts to upgrade and perfect the cuisine. However, an updated menu doesn’t always guarantee immediate attraction. Get the customer’s attention and learn how to introduce new items to the menu.

Give the Items Prime Real Estate

The new items deserve a chance to shine. Give them the prime real estate spot on the menu. As soon as customers open the menu, they should spot the new item on the first page. By strategically placing new dishes on the menu, you can guarantee new item grabs the regulars’ attention.

Instead of going for their usual or previewing the standard menu, they may feel intrigued to try a new delight. And new customers will novel and consider the new dish because they’ve never dined at your restaurant before. Be as detailed as possible in the description. Make the meal sound mouth-watering and irresistible.

Offer a Free Tasting

Make it impossible to resist. Even a stellar description and beautiful picture are sometimes not enough to entice customers to try it out. Think of ordering new dishes like shopping for a new car. Everyone wants a test drive before making a commitment.

Offer them a free sample tasting—just enough to get their tastebuds jumping. Every sample should be fresh and delicious. You need to convince them that requesting the whole dish is worth the purchase.

Think Outside the Box

It never hurts to be creative in the restaurant industry. After all, that’s what sets you apart from the competition. Menu prime real estate doesn’t need to reside on the table screens or booklets. Sometimes, you need to catch customers before they even walk through the door.

Place new menu items on a chalkboard sign outside the restaurant. Display the message to perfection. Achieving perfect chalkboard lettering is tricky but not impossible. The letters need to be clear and eligible—otherwise, customers won’t spare it a second glance.

Create a Top Sellers Section

Finally, add the new items to a “top sellers” section. It’s human nature for people to want things others try. This list is an excellent way to promote the items. Popularity plays big in all circles, and the more popular something seems, the more others will want to try it.

The top seller’s section doesn’t need to reside on the first page or the front of the menu. It can go in the middle because customers will eventually thumb through and reach it. Instruct all servers to inform customers of the top seller’s section if you want to grab the customer’s attention sooner.

After introducing new items to the menu, the next step is making sure your kitchen prepares the dishes to perfection.


  • Tamra Phelps

    I’ve heard that a new restaurant is the hardest business to make a success of–it’s a hard business. Long hours. Lots of stress. But I think a lot of people dream of having one!

  • gloria patterson

    Some good suggestions here that I will share.

    My sister in law owned a bar she sold it to her daughter late last year. And they makes specials ever day that are all good…………. BUT there some specials that as soon as people know (facebook, word of mouthg) people are on the phone ordering. They start severing at 11 some of the specials are gone before noon and she makes extra.

    Top sellers are so important to have the base product available. There wings (I don’t eat wings) are so good that most people order double order of them. One of my nephews will call at least once a week and order a couple of orders he loves them.

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