Diners decide what to order, but who decides what’s on the menu? Some restaurants are incorporating crowdsourcing, a new spin on traditional menu creation, to give diners a say in the dishes they serve, the names of new cocktails and more.
Menu crowdsourcing takes some of the guesswork out of customer demand. It also engages customers and helps them feel a part of the larger community surrounding your restaurant.
In addition to offering a unique take on redundant restaurant operations, crowdsourcing generates buzz for your restaurant. Diners want a fresh, innovative approach to dining, and you want to increase revenue by expanding your customer base. Crowdsourcing is a fun way to achieve growth and create stronger connections with your customers.
Here are three ways you can create buzz and increase brand loyalty by involving diners in menu creation.
Social media is the ultimate tool to start conversations with customers about the dishes they would like to see on your menu. Can’t decide which seasonal special to add to your menu? Open a poll on Facebook and invite customers to cast their vote. Mixing up a new cocktail? Diners can tweet their favorites using a restaurant-specific hashtag. With social media, customers have a say in what gets added to the menu – and it’s likely they will stop by the restaurant to taste the latest menu item they helped develop.
In recent years, several major food brands have used competitions to suggest or name new products. Fortunately, you don’t need a nationwide competition to involve customers. Staging a competition for local diners to submit ideas for new restaurant menu items can draw crowds and get diners talking about your establishment. After you’ve narrowed down the pool of recipes, customers can vote on social media and at your restaurant for the dish they want to win a spot on the menu.
If you’re on the fence about which dish or drink to add to your menu, let diners have the final say. A fun and engaging way to do it is by inviting your most loyal patrons to the restaurant for a tasting event. Once diners have tested the samples, they can vote for their favorites on a private ballot. When the final tally is in, you’ll have your newest menu item – plus a loyal fan base that’s ready to share the news with friends, family and their networks through social media and other channels. If the tasting is successful, consider making it an annual event. You might be surprised how quickly it grows in popularity.