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Why Appetizers Are Important For Your Restaurant Menu

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March 06, 2023

Appetizers aren’t just great for customers, they are also great for restaurant revenue. These dishes often see the largest swing in price ranges with menu prices ranging from $5.50 to $13.30 per plate. If you are new to the culinary scene or rethinking your menu, we delve into the importance of appetizers below.

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4 Reasons to Offer Appetizers on Your Menu

Appetizers have a wealth of benefits for any restaurant. Chefs can test new flavors, owners can boost revenue, and customers can experience extraordinary offerings. Check out these four reasons why apps should make an appearance on your restaurant menu:

1. Potential for Increased Profits

Any added order can increase tickets, which in turn, can help boost overall sales. However, appetizers present a unique opportunity for expanded revenue by:

  • Increasing Ticket Prices with Appetizer Specials: Offering special appetizers creates buzz, which entices customers to try out limited items even if they weren’t planning on apps before their meal. “Limited-time menu offers” can easily encourage impulse spending from guests. Plus, chefs can debut new items focused on specialty ingredients. Menu Tip: Use seasonal ingredients to create stunning small bites or offer a special appetizer as part of a menu bundle
  • Preserving Food Costs: Maintaining a healthy food cost percentage is vital to making a profit. Food waste can be a contributing factor to higher food costs. With some strategic planning, you can develop hors d'oeuvres that incorporate ingredients that can be used instead of going into the compost. Menu Tip: A chef’s choice meat board allows you to pickle vegetables and make fruit chutneys to extend ingredients' lives.

2. Allows for Menu Experimentation

Keeping menus fresh is great for both customers and staff. You should update your menu slightly every four months to keep things fresh. However, major overhauls to your entrees can be spendy. One cost-effective way to enhance your menu and keep the excitement high is to play around with appetizers. They require less purchasing costs than larger entrees, so chefs can play around with flavors without worry.

Restaurants can tap into global fusion trends without re-engineering the menu by offering internationally-inspired hors d'oeuvres. Holiday-specific apps are another way to keep menus fresh and fun.

3. Wets Diners’ Appetites

Small bites tantalize your guests’ taste buds and prepare customers for main courses. Interestingly, appetizers before a meal help manage hunger without causing a customer to feel too full. Since apps are often light and small, they don’t get in the way of entrees. Plus, they ready guests for main courses by exciting the palate and preparing the stomach for more delicious food to come.

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4. Keeps Diners Satisfied

A happy customer has the potential to be a repeat customer. Consumer loyalty is key to preserving higher profits. In fact, 95 percent of restaurant goers stated that customer service was a leading factor in brand loyalty.

One way to keep customers happy, and coming back for more, is to ensure they are well-fed without a long wait. Appetizers allow servers and the kitchen to serve food to guests quickly. So, having appetizers served before a main course means chefs have time to prepare entrees, and guests get to enjoy tasty bites while waiting for their main meal.

Preparing Waitstaff for Appetizer Upselling Opportunities

Training your front-of-house team in upselling is crucial if you want to maximize your appetizer profits. Servers are often the face of establishments, so the more knowledgeable and personable they are, the more customers will feel taken care of. Here are a few tactics to help empower your team to deliver excellent service and upsell your hot new apps:

  • Train servers to describe appetizers in detail. They should be well-versed in cooking preparation, taste, and texture. Prepare a tasting for your front-of-house team so they can ask questions and be well-informed before meeting with customers.
  • Teach servers to make specific appetizer suggestions. There is a difference between asking a table if they want to order any appetizers and offering a specific suggestion based on the guests’ orders. If you are running a limited app special or promoting new hors d'oeuvres, have servers recommend those items by name.

In general, anytime you change your menu, you want to ensure your service team is well prepared. Go over all the details to set your establishment up for success.

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