When a customer enters a restaurant, he or she expects good food, amazing service, ambient atmosphere and value for money. Menu is the most important sales and marketing tool of a restaurant. A well-designed menu can educate the guests about the product and service offerings (Wang and Lynn 2017). The restaurant owner of head chef is responsible to create an attractive menu so that the customer experience can be enhanced. The aim of this report is to evaluate the menu of a local restaurant in Adelaide, Mandoo Korean Dumplings. It is a casual restaurant offering steamed and fried menu (Zomato 2017). The restaurant has wooden seating arrangements. This restaurant specializes in preparation of Korean dumpling in different meat fillings such as shrimp, fish, porn, ground beef or others. This restaurant is inspired from the region of Korea with unique ingredients and dipping sauce (Zomato 2017). This report shall analyse the menu psychology. Further, the menu type and suitability is evaluated. The factors affecting menu planning are determined. On the basis of evaluation and findings, recommendations are provided to enhance the menu of Mandoo Korean Dumplings.
Evaluation of Menu
After a restaurant decides the food items to serve on its menu, its monitoring is important on a regular basis. The restaurant must respond to the changes in customer demands and consumption patterns. Every menu must be organized into appetizers, main course, beverages and desserts so that the customers can differentiate between the food offerings easily. The menu of Mandoo Korean Dumplings does not have different sections such as appetizers and main course. The main offering of this restaurant is steamed mandoo, fried mandoo, soup, bibimbab and tea. There are five varieties of steamed mandoo, three types of fried mandoo, one soup, two bi-bim-bab, two types of hot-pot, and three kinds of tea. Only limited options are provided, also called ‘paradox of choice’ where customers may get more anxious if more options are given. According to Fleming (2013), all ages and genders of customers feel that at least six menu items per category must be listed in the menu. Very little choice can be disconcerting. The last section is beverages in which only three variants of tea are offered. Other warm beverages like coffee, hot chocolate and its variants are not offered. Also, cold beverages like smoothies, fruit juice, iced tea, cold drink and mocktails are not offered at the restaurant. No option for mineral water is available that makes it limited for the customers who do not drink tap water. Not every consumer wants to consume tap water as they are conscious about their health and well-being. Therefore, an option of mineral water is required so that the customers can order it as required. No dessert is available at the restaurant. If the customers want to consume any sweets or desserts, they will have to go home disappointed (Magnini and Kim 2016).
One of the most attractive features of the menu is that it has printed mages of the food item. It is one of the psychological tricks as a nice-looking picture can enhance sales. Colour plays a significant role in visual perception and creates a palette that evokes the right audience reaction. The images have multiple colours that may confuse and persuade the customers. According to the colour psychology, red colour is used to trigger appetite. It is observed that a shade of red is used in the menu card of Korean Mandoo Dumplings with white and yellow font colours. The use of different colours, also called eye magnet, grab attention of the customers (Wansink and Love 2014).
Setting prices of the food in a restaurant is critical as overpricing can push the customers out of the market. The customers make decision through menu layout and pricing. It is observed that the fried and steamed mandoo have the same price offering for any filling chosen, i.e. $14.00 and $15.00 respectively. Therefore, it shall positively influence the customer to choose any dumpling as all the stuffing such as chicken, pork, tofu and vegetables are equally priced. The customers shall have a tendency to order their favourite or most preferable stuffing as the price won’t influence decision negatively. It is further observed that the bi-bim-bab, that is a bowl of warm rice with different flavours has two options. Both the vegetarian and non-vegetarian bowl served with soup have same pricing, i.e. $15.00. It is argued that the restaurant does not follow psychological pricing, here the prices are expressed a little less than an odd number. For example, the restaurant food pricing on the menu is $14.00 instead of $13.99. It is argued that the customers usually have a tendency to process the price from left to right (Wang and Lynn 2017). Therefore, Korean Mandoo Dumplings may have low sales as they have rounded off the figures in their menu pricing (Thomas 2015).
Further, it is observed that the restaurant offers different pricing for take away of Bi-bim-bab. The price for take-away is less than that when dish is served at the restaurant. This encourages the customers to take-away their bi-bim-bab as they would be charged lesser for that (Wang and Lynn 2017). It is further noted that Korean Mandoo Dumplings offer extras for four pieces of steamed and fried dumpling. As seen in the image, one plate serves eight units of dumplings. The extra portion can be ordered by the customers for four units at $7.50 and $8.00 for steamed and fried dumplings. Extra soup is available for $3.00 (Zomato 2017). It is seen that the restaurant charges 7.14% more for steamed dumplings and 6.67% more for fried dumplings (Zomato 2017). However, the extras shall attract the customers as they need not order a second plate if half of it is sufficient. It is further observed that the restaurant offers two kind of Mandoo by paying a dollar extra. This strategy allows the customers to order variety of dumpling by paying a small amount without hesitation of $1.00 (Zomato 2017).
Further, the hot-pot has two different servings- for 2-3 people and 3-4 people (Zomato 2017). Different rates are charged for both the quantities. If the customers visit in a group, they may be influenced to buy a greater quantity as hot pot can be served for two additional people with a greater quantity by only paying 18% additional price (Zomato 2017). Spicy hot-pot can be served for a greater quantity by paying only 12.72% additional price (Zomato 2017). The quantity served at these rates shall be double the basic quantity that influences the customer purchasing decision. Even the hot-pot offers an additional range of items such as rice, udon, glass noodles, beef, dumpling and soup. If a customer wants more of a particular item in his serving, a small amount needs to be paid to enrich their experience. Similarly, bi-bim-mandoo offers an option of extra sauce as three different choices are given- sesame, mayonnaise and spicy chilli (Zomato 2017).
The restaurant menu sends the guest a message about the establishment as a whole. The amount of care put in the ingredients and the level of sophistication used in the menu design can be considered as a handheld storyteller. As observed, Korean Mandoo Dumplings gives a cautionary note to take care as the Mandoo are served hot (Zomato 2017). This expresses care and sophistication of the restaurant that influences the customer positively. The customers shall believe that the restaurant cares for its customers as consuming hot dumpling without caution may lead to burns. Further, a complete description is provided on the menu to enjoy a hot pot. Instructions to enjoy the dish in the best way are given that enhances customer experience. The customers who wish to increase spiciness in the dish can ask the waiters. This shows a sense of responsibility and strategies to enrich customer experience by making hot-pot an enjoyable taste journey. Overall, it is also observed that the menu uses phrases such as ‘fresh vegetables’, ‘seasonal vegetables’, ‘spicy chilli paste’, ‘sliced rice cake’, ‘minced pork’, ‘mashed potato’ and ‘homemade sauces’ (Zomato 2017). It is analysed that these phrases add to the strength of dish names as the customer perceives and visualizes a dish based on such details. The description of every dish is given that educates the customer and gives an idea on how to place the order.
Summary of Findings
The main findings of the menu for Korean Mandoo Dumplings are stated. It is found that there are less variants in every section. There are no sections divided for appetizers and main course. No dessert is available at the restaurant. Limited food choices are given at the menu that saves the consumers from ‘paradox of choice’. The food prices are not based on psychological pricing and are stated in round numbers (Johns, Edwards and Hartwell 2013).
The menu design can be enhanced and customers can be influenced by following a set of recommendations. Firstly, the font and colour in the menu design can be changed to green. As the food course uses seasonal and fresh vegetables, green colour can be used to depict freshness. Secondary, different categories must be created namely- appetizers, main course, dessert and beverage. Thirdly, more varieties of beverages and dessert can be added in the menu card. The dishes may be inspired from Korea keeping its culture intact. Fourthly, the prices can be kept as odd number such as $13.99 so that greater demand can be instituted. Lastly, quotes can be used that would remind the customers about the Korean experience and trigger happy memories and tradition (Johns, Edwards and Hartwell 2013).
Conclusively, it is important to design a menu to attract customers. All ages and genders of customers feel that at least six menu items per category must be listed in the menu. Setting prices of the food in a restaurant is critical as overpricing can push the customers out of the market.
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