October 4, 2023

Why You Probably Shouldn’t Promote Your Top-Selling Menu Item

tinku saini tarka indian kitchen quote

In the cutthroat world of restaurant marketing, it’s common practice for establishments to proudly showcase their most popular and best-selling dish at the forefront of their menus. After all, what better way to entice diners than by highlighting a crowd favorite?

However, beneath the surface of this seemingly logical strategy lies a counterintuitive truth that many restaurateurs may not be aware of — the potential pitfalls of allocating lots of marketing budget to the top-seller on the menu.

In this blog, we’ll explore the surprising reasons why this seemingly foolproof tactic may not always yield the desired results, and how you should strategically think about marketing budget allocation instead.

“I feel like we should double down our marketing spend to promote the top-seller on the menu.”

If at some point you or your colleague have said something similar — you’re not alone.

Here’s why this statement might be problematic:

Just because something is selling, doesn’t mean your customers like it the most.

Sounds counter-intuitive? Well, there are many reasons why something can sell really well. It could be that you have done the most marketing promotion around it, or that it’s in a most prominent position on the menu, or guests consider it to be the best bang for their buck. However, by only focusing on sales numbers, you are potentially missing out on two important considerations:

First, your top-seller might not enjoy the highest guest satisfaction scores. As a result, most people end up purchasing something that might not be cooked properly, prepared too slowly, or often made inaccurately. In fact, your top seller might also be the reason why some guests aren’t coming back for a second visit!

Secondly, you’re overlooking your crowd pleasers. On the other hand, there might be items on your menu that enjoy great satisfaction scores, but aren’t selling well. Maybe you haven’t really promoted that item, given it a prominent position on the menu, or put much thought into naming it better. These are items that you should try to turn into best-sellers, because you know that they’re guaranteed to give a great experience, and will more likely generate a repeat visit from your guests.

Restaurant Menu Analytics and Menu Insights

How to turn this “I feel” into “I know”

It’s actually very simple: Leverage guest sentiment data in decision-making, instead of basing them only on sales and traffic data.

The truth is, sales is only a lagging indicator, whereas guest satisfaction data tells you where your potential and opportunities are.

The key to making informed menu decisions is to start collecting menu item level feedback. Sounds really granular? That’s the only way to make sure you’re going in the right direction for your guests.

In fact, many restaurant brands are already collecting menu item level feedback using Tattle. Either through integrations or uploading a photo of the receipt, Tattle surveys can automatically identify what a guest has ordered and ask them to rate each item. These valuable data insights have helped many restaurant brands make informed, confident decisions on menu optimization and LTO promotions.

Our team would love to show you how the platform works for 200+ other restaurant brands including Chili’s, Hooters, Dave’s Hot Chicken and more! Alternatively, you can watch a quick video to see how the Tattle platform works to generate all the insights you need to make the above decisions.

GUIDE: 17 Must-Have Metrics For Your Restaurants!
The key to improving guest sentiment and operational efficiency...
OSAT NSAT NPS Restaurant Satisfaction Metrics