Custom Menu Cover Choices

You can find that sometimes in the restaurant business that being unique has its benefits.  I hope you could read through my subtly there:  being unique in the restaurant business is all you have!  If you are just like everything else that is out there, then there is really no need for people to come to your place is there.  The thing about us weird humans is that we are creatures of habit.  We like new and exciting things, but more than anything else, what we prefer en masse is consistency.  Now, don’t think that your simple menu cover is going to save you if your food is terrible.  This would be a very silly assumption, one I know you don’t share.

The point is this.  A reliable place to dine out is one of the reasons that many people give as to why they choose their favorite place.  Now, the food has to be good too, but not spectacular.  Did you get that?  Good or even great food is what is expected of your restaurant.  Unless you are going for a brand image like one of the larger chains or fast food places, your food better is the best or at least unique and exciting.  We get excited by very little things.  It could just be that the drinks have a little extra something about them, an umbrella, colored glasses, cool bar top, etc, etc.  Could your menu covers bring people into your restaurant?  Probably not, you get that one.  However, do you think they might be able to turn people away or at the least not wow them? Absolutely.

You see, it is up to you to entertain your guests with whatever means possible.  Since this site is about all the different types of covers for menus, that is what area we focus on here.  This can be an area where you create that subtle but effective congruent and consistent message to your guests.  Think about it. What attracts people to certain dining establishments?  Most often, when a restaurant is new, it has the buzz factor.  You know, it is the new kid on the block.  It gets the write-ups, the free press has the special offers and all the excitement that the staff has over their new ‘baby’.

Over time, some of the glitters can fade.  What will never change is how the food tastes and, probably just as important, is how they feel about their experience in your restaurant.  Your service is a big part of this equation.  Another big part is the small things that all add up.  The cleanliness, décor, table appearances, staff appearances, promptness, food consistency from visit to visit and, yes, your menu cover choices.  As much as you will never know how it affects the experience someone has, it does.

When you are playing at a higher level, the level where you even consider custom menu covers, then you get this.  You get that having a specially treated copper menu cover will definitely wow your guests.  The beautiful colors, the logo or artistic expression it makes.  It is a nice touch.  When you can wow people before they even try your food, this is a good thing.  In marketing, this is referred to as a ‘continuous yes’.  At each step of their experience in your restaurant, your guest is having an internal dialogue.  You want that internal dialogue to be answering, “yes, I like this place”.

A wood and fabric menu cover can also make a strong statement of individuality in a sea of like restaurants.  Think about it like a woman wears her jewelry.  Sure, there are other rings and necklaces like hers.  But, how about wearing handmade jewelry?  That’s even more appealing.  It is the same concept as your menu covers.  There are other styles, you just want yours to feel unique and special.  The truth is, if you open a place in a city where there is little competition, then you can probably write your menu on a napkin or chalkboard and people will still flock to your place.  However, as more and more restaurants come to town, the details are what will impress your guests.  Imagine presenting your guests with a menu that has a wooden cover, complete with your restaurant name or logo embossed in gold or silver.  You can also get a wood menu cover that has various patterns to it.

The same could be said for custom designed metal menu covers. These could be in the form of wood and metal combinations.  Or, like most custom metal designs, have a logo, image or text cut into the cover itself.  This marks these covers as yours.  They are unique, no other place in town has them.  It is like a brand for your menus.  How do you think someone senses that level of commitment and attention to individuality?  They like it, that’s how.  It makes them feel like there are in a special place, which means they must be special in some way too.  Did you ever

think that this much could be played into your ‘simple’ menu cover choices?  If you don’t think this is true, then you are literally handing over what could be very loyal and regular guests over to the other guy’s place.

Menu Cover Ideas

The search for the perfect match between menu and cover for that menu can seem daunting at first.  After all, you’d like for your guests to experience the best that your restaurant has to offer and feel good about what they see.  Your menu cover will be their first chance to get a sense of the style and consistency with your decor and food choices.  When we talk about topics like these, we are really getting into the nitty-gritty of what gives a restaurant or niche café staying power – these menu cover ideas do make a difference.

What you will notice of dining establishments that stick around long enough to be profitable for long periods of time is that they are consistent.  You’ve probably heard the saying that a huge part of success is just showing up.  In our case, this means showing up and being reliable and consistent.  Being reliable in many respects means that your restaurant’s design is consistent with your guest’s expectations.  Notice we haven’t even talked about the food yet.  When your menu covers reflect a certain personality that is also present in the food choices, you’ve just achieved another level of consistency.  What you will notice is that over time, maintaining this level of consistency breeds loyalty from your guests as well.

When people know what to expect from you – or your restaurant – they can be freer to recommend it to others.  If your style, service, food and other aspects are inconsistent, people get uncomfortable.  This can even mean changes that are designed to improve your establishment.  This doesn’t mean don’t improve, it means change with feedback and notice.  Allow your loyal guests to participate in the process where possible.

Have A Custom Menu Cover Contest

This is an example of something that can get your guests involved and also earn you some free press in the local media.  In this case, you could put the word out that your restaurant is holding a contest to design their new menu covers.  The winner of the custom menu cover contest will win a free dinner for four or something like that.  You could set the parameters such as material choices or even just have a place on the cover where the winning logo or text would appear.  This way, you could still maintain control over the main aspects of your design.

This is important because if you are set on getting leather menu covers with an elegant looking embossed image, you will not be inundated with metal designs or inserts for those simple plastic menu cover styles.  Something that has worked for some is to have a metal menu cover with a circle, oval or square space cut out of the center of the cover itself.  While certainly not a cheap menu cover choice, it will give you a considerably unique appearance.  This can then be fitted with a holder on the rear aspect of the main cover and can be made to hold an image or some sort of logo, shape or other design.

In the end, it is really a matter of choice as to how you will keep the covers for your menu consistent with the overall theme of your restaurant and food choices.  This is one of those things that seems very trivial to someone who has a hard time visualizing the details.  However, when all the little things work properly, it is much easier to work on larger aspects such as service and public relations.  After all, if the guests aren’t coming or returning, more importantly, then you don’t need any type of menu cover in the first place.