What are the benefits of distributing takeaway menus?
By Kevin Moyse
There are many ways to market and advertise your takeaway or restaurant, but the best and most efficient way is by designing, printing and distributing takeaway menus. Takeaway menus are used to attract new customers as well as reminding existing customers of your products. Always remember that good menu design will make you money!
The catchment area for takeaway food delivery is roughly within a 5 mile radius of the shop, this will increase or decrease depending on location as densely populated areas tend to have a much smaller catchment area. On average the potential market for any takeaway is between 5,000 and 25,000 homes. If you have a large number of competitors within your catchment area remember to make your menu different and don’t just supply the same food as your competitors. Be different and offer “House Specialities” that are only available at YOUR restaurant or takeaway. A food outlets motto should always be – “variety is the spice of life” make your food different and your menu will automatically become different. Stand out from your competitors, don’t allow your restaurant or takeaway to be just another Indian, Chinese or Pizzeria – be the one with an exciting menu full of great sounding food the reader has not eaten before, it is more likely to catch the eye and be ordered from. You want the menus reader to say “wow that sounds good, I’ve never heard of that before I really want to try it!”
The major benefit of distributing takeaway menus within your catchment area is that you are reaching your clients directly. Menus can be distributed using distribution companies. Ideally you want your menu as a “solus” or “solo” drop, i.e. your printed menu is delivered door to door all on its own. Unfortunately these are sold at premium rates. If you cannot afford to be the only leaflets distributed make sure that you are the ONLY food menu in a bundled multi leaflet drop. Try to ask nicely if your takeaway menu can be on the top or bottom of the pile as there is more chance of it being seen when the pile is picked up by a member of the household. Also ensure that the distribution company uses high quality, waterproof delivery bags! A soggy menu is a binned menu.
There are a few alternatives to using leaflet distribution companies. Firstly you could organise your own staff to deliver them during the day when your takeaway is closed. Dropping them at one end of a road then parking at the opposite end to wait for them while they post them door to door. This may cost you overtime but will be cheaper than using a company. The downside is that the distribution may be slower while the upside is that you can select the more preferable areas first and you know that the menus are definitely delivered: the biggest complaint from takeaway owners is the reliability of Distribution Company staff is that they often dump menus on waste ground or just throw them in rubbish bins.
Distributing menus within your local free newspaper, often called “inserts”, is an economical alternative to distribution companies. One advantage of this method is that the menus can be delivered to selected areas or postcodes or all at the same time within your catchment area, make sure that you are fully prepared for the volume of orders that this method can generate over a short period. This method of blanket distribution is more suited to new takeaways without an existing client base; again make sure that your business can cope with large numbers of orders. Using only selected postcodes is good because you can choose the more affluent or more likely areas to generate orders from your menu.
Alter the design of your menu enough for each print run so that it is easily noticeable as a new menu, the date the menu is designed is good to place on the menu somewhere so that households know which the newest menu version is. The design change could be as simple as altering the main base colour of the menu designs, i.e. changing the background menu colour. A more drastic change could be changing the size or shape the menu is printed, for example changing a normal A4 from 297mm x 210 mm to 420mm x 149mm – the menu is still the same sized area i.e. half of A3 but it is halved in the opposite plain. For tips on good menu design please see the article here What is good menu design.
Another impactful strategy of menu printing, particularly for restaurants is to create a “new client special package” wherein they need to bring the printed menu into the takeaway or restaurant to avail certain discounts. This will definitely indulge them to interact, be affected and do their own share of action through buying your product offers.