How to Optimize Kiosk Menus to Maximize Sales for Your Restaurant

Kiosk menus have transformed the way people order food in restaurants. No more deciphering a grease-stained menu under flickering fluorescent lights. No more cluttering the table with multiple menus the size of a newspaper. With kiosk menus, customers can order right at their fingertips.

Yet, while these kiosks hold immense potential to boost sales, their true power lies in their presence and how intelligently they’re utilized. That’s because I believe that with the incredible power of the kiosks comes the great responsibility of optimizing your kiosk menu.

And here’s why you absolutely should: Did you know that about 65% of customers prefer to place their orders on kiosks rather than in person? [Source] This tells you that a well-optimized kiosk can boost your sales as quickly as firing up the grill. Want to know how to do so? In this blog, I’ve jotted down the seven ways you can optimize your kiosk menu to maximize sales.

7 Ways to Optimize Kiosk Menu to Maximize Sales for Your Restaurant

1. Dive Deep to Understand your Audience

Before crafting the perfect kiosk menu, you need to understand who you’re crafting it for. Are you serving busy families with hungry kids or health-conscious millennials on the go? Or maybe your target audience is office goers who are always on the clock and looking for quick bites and service. 

Knowing your target audience lets you customize your menu offerings, descriptions, and visuals to meet their needs and preferences. This increases repeat visits from the existing customer base and invites more customers.

2. Incorporate Menu Engineering and Design Principles

Menu engineering means strategically arranging and highlighting the most popular and profitable menu items to influence consumer choice. It can work wonders to maximize sales when combined with menu design principles. 

Applying design principles such as visual hierarchy, color psychology, and menu item placement subtly guides the customers toward high-margin items and promotes upselling. Here’s how you can incorporate both like a pro:

Implementing Menu Engineering Techniques

  1. Analyzing Item Performance:

Start by analyzing sales data to determine which menu items are the most popular and profitable. 

Identify your:

  • Stars: High-profit, high-demand items 
  • Plowhorses: High-demand, low-profit items 
  • Puzzles: Low-demand, high-profit items
  • Dogs: low-demand, low-profit items
  1. Strategic Placement:

By strategically placing your ‘stars’ in prominent positions on the menu, such as at the top of each category or in a separate section labeled as ‘Chef’s Recommendations’ or ‘Customer Favorites,’ you can significantly influence consumer choices and increase profitability. This underscores the crucial role you play in menu planning and design.

Use visuals such as bold fonts, colors, or icons to draw attention to these high-profit items.

Pro tip: Consider strategically placing “plowhorses” to encourage upselling or pairing them with higher-margin items to increase profitability.

  1. Pricing Strategies: 

Adjust pricing strategically based on the perceived value of items and their contribution to profitability. 

Implement tactics such as:

  • Price anchoring: Placing a high-priced item next to a lower-priced item to make it seem more affordable.
  • Decoy pricing: Introducing a higher-priced item to make other options seem like a better value.

Implementing Menu Design Principles

  1. Visual Hierarchy: 

Establish a clear visual hierarchy utilizing size, color, and placement to direct customers’ attention to essential menu items. Group related items together and use spacing and formatting to create visually distinct sections for more straightforward navigation.

  1. Color Psychology:

Use colors wisely to evoke emotions and impact purchasing decisions. For example, red can generate a sense of urgency or excitement, while green can represent freshness or health.

ColorEffect on Customers’ PsychologyHow to Use These Colors in Kiosk Menu Optimization
RedStimulates appetite, evokes excitement, urgency, and energy. Associated with passion, warmth, and high-energy environments.Use red accents or borders around high-profit items or daily specials to draw attention and create a sense of urgency.

Highlight “Order Now” buttons in red to encourage customers to make quick decisions.

Incorporate red images or icons for food items that are meant to be bold and flavorful, such as spicy dishes or indulgent desserts.
YellowStimulates appetite, creates a feeling of happiness, warmth, and optimism. Grabs attention and promotes a sense of friendliness.Use yellow borders or highlights for menu items that are customer favorites or chef’s recommendations to make them stand out.

Incorporate yellow backgrounds behind combo meal options or family deals to evoke a feeling of happiness and warmth.

Utilize yellow font for pricing or calorie information to make it easily visible and approachable.
OrangePromotes appetite and creativity. Conveys friendliness, enthusiasm, and warmth. Often used to evoke a sense of fun and excitement.Use orange backgrounds for category headers or section dividers to create a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Employ orange call-to-action buttons for promotions or discounts to convey a sense of excitement and enthusiasm.

Feature orange-colored icons or illustrations for healthy or fresh menu items like salads or smoothies to promote their vitality.
GreenAssociated with nature, freshness, and healthiness. Symbolizes growth, harmony, and balance. Evokes feelings of relaxation and calmness.Use green imagery or accents for vegetarian or plant-based menu items to signify freshness and healthiness.

Incorporate green icons or symbols next to sustainable or eco-friendly menu options to emphasize their environmental benefits.
Highlight “Healthy Choices” sections with green backgrounds or borders to appeal to health-conscious customers.
BlueCreates a sense of calmness, trust, and serenity. Often associated with professionalism, reliability, and sophistication. Use blue backgrounds for menu categories related to beverages or desserts to create a calming and refreshing vibe.

Employ blue accents for nutritional information or allergy warnings to convey a sense of reliability and trustworthiness.

Incorporate blue-colored icons or illustrations for seafood dishes to evoke a sense of freshness and purity.

3. Menu Item Descriptions and Imagery: 

Craft compelling descriptions highlighting each menu item’s unique features and benefits. Incorporate high-quality images or illustrations to showcase visually appealing dishes and stimulate cravings.

3. Implement Strategic Product Selection and Multiple Pricing Options

While highlighting the most profitable and popular items is one way to go, remember all the other items on your menu. When catering to a diverse customer base, offering a wide selection of products with various pricing options is essential. Here’s how you can achieve that:

Product Selection

  • Curating the Menu: Begin by carefully curating your menu to feature a balanced selection of items that cater to different tastes, dietary preferences, and budget considerations. Consider factors such as ingredient availability, preparation time, and customer demand when selecting menu items.
  • Offering Variety: Ensure that your menu offers a variety of options, including appetizers, entrees, sides, and beverages, to accommodate diverse preferences and occasions. Incorporate vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options to cater to customers with dietary restrictions and preferences.
  • Seasonal Specials and Limited-Time Offers: Keep your menu fresh and exciting by regularly introducing seasonal specials and limited-time offers. These promotions not only create a sense of urgency and excitement but also encourage repeat visits as customers look forward to trying new items.

Multiple Pricing Options:

  • Understanding Value Perception: Price your menu items strategically to reflect their perceived value and justify the cost to customers. Consider factors such as ingredient quality, portion size, and presentation when determining pricing to ensure customers feel they are getting good value for their money.
  • Tiered Pricing: Implement tiered pricing strategies to offer customers various options at different prices. This allows you to cater to varying budget preferences while maximizing revenue potential. For example, offer basic, premium, and deluxe versions of certain menu items with corresponding price differences.
  • Dynamic Pricing: Utilize dynamic pricing techniques to adjust menu prices in real-time based on demand, time of day, and seasonality. For example, offer discounts during off-peak hours to attract customers during slower periods or increase prices slightly during peak dining times to capitalize on high demand.
  • Psychological Pricing: People tend to perceive items priced at $4.99 as a better deal than $5.00. Consider using this tactic to nudge customers towards confident menu choices.

4. Harness the Power of Promotions and Upselling Techniques

Kiosk menus present a unique opportunity to encourage customers to spend a little more without feeling pressured by a server. This is where you can harness the power of promotions and maximize upselling opportunities. Let me give you a few tips on how to do so:

  • Targeted Promotions: Don’t blast every customer with the same offer. Use your kiosk system to tailor promotions based on ordering time or previous selections. For example, during lunch hours, highlight quick and convenient meal combos. In the evening, showcase enticing dessert options alongside popular entrees.
  • Limited-time Offers (LTOs): People are drawn to the thrill of urgency and exclusivity. By featuring seasonal ingredients or limited-time offers prominently on your kiosk menu, you create a sense of anticipation and excitement. This strategy not only encourages impulse purchases but also keeps customers eagerly coming back to see what new treats they can discover.
  • The Power of Suggestion: Kiosks have the unique ability to subtly guide customers towards higher-value orders (also known as upsell prompts). When a main course is selected, you can strategically suggest complementary side dishes or drinks that pair well. For example, after selecting a burger, you can gently prompt customers to add fries and a drink for a discounted price or suggest upgrading to a larger size for a nominal fee. However, it’s important to remember that the key is to be suggestive, not forceful. Too many upsell prompts can be overwhelming and counterproductive.
  • Combo Magic: Create enticing combo options that bundle a main course, side dish, and drink at a slightly discounted price. This simplifies ordering and encourages customers to spend more than they might have if ordering a la carte.
  • Visually Appealing Upsells: High-quality images are powerful tools. Showcase mouthwatering pictures of tempting desserts or refreshing drinks alongside main courses. This visual reminder can trigger cravings and encourage add-on purchases.

5. Utilize Integration and Technology to Maximize Revenue

Integrate your kiosk system with other technology platforms, such as POS systems, loyalty programs, and inventory management systems. This streamlines operations and enhances the customer experience. Let me explain why I emphasize on utilizing this technology:

  • Integration with POS Systems: This integration streamlines the order processing workflow and ensures seamless communication between front-end ordering and back-end operations. When a customer orders at the kiosk, the transaction details are automatically transmitted to the POS system, which can be processed, tracked, and managed in real time. This integration streamlines processes, minimizes errors, and speeds up order completion, improving efficiency and customer satisfaction.
  • Loyalty Program Integration: Do you have a loyalty program? Integrate it with your kiosk system to reward repeat customers and incentivize them to spend more.  Customers can earn points with each purchase, encouraging them to return and potentially upsize their orders.
  • Inventory Management Integration: Real-time inventory management integration ensures your kiosk only displays available items, enhancing customer satisfaction. This eliminates customers’ frustration ordering unavailable dishes and reduces food waste, improving the overall customer experience.

6. Further Enhance Customer Experience

A great kiosk menu isn’t just about sales; it’s about creating a positive customer experience. Ensure your kiosk interface is user-friendly, with straightforward navigation and high-quality visuals. Consider offering customization options for dietary needs or preferences to show you care about individual diners.

Make your kiosk menu an interactive experience that sparks curiosity and encourages exploration. Use high-quality images, videos, animations, and descriptive text to showcase menu items and ignite cravings.

Also, personalized features should be implemented to recognize and reward loyal customers. Data from past orders, loyalty programs, and customer profiles can be leveraged to tailor recommendations and promotions to individual preferences and purchase histories. Personalized greetings, exclusive offers, and customized recommendations make customers feel valued and appreciated, fostering a sense of loyalty and satisfaction.

7. Leverage Data and Analytics for Continued Optimization

Don’t overlook the data and analytics features of kiosks.

Kiosk systems can provide valuable insights into customer behavior. Analyze what sells well together and what gets skipped, and use this information to continuously refine your menu offerings, promotions, and the overall kiosk experience. You can analyze the following data:

  • Customer preferences
  • Menu performance
  • Sales trends
  • Marketing insights
  • Inventory management

By embracing data and analytics, you can move beyond guesswork and make data-driven decisions that keep your kiosk menu relevant, enticing, and a major contributor to your restaurant’s success.

Wrapping Up!

And there you have it! The seven wisdom-filled tips that will recreate your menu to maximize sales and ensure success. 

Crafting a menu is no less than an art. Every food item on the menu will determine whether your restaurant will experience a boost in revenue. It will take more than just having the best chefs working for you. Ensure you have implemented a kiosk system that allows you to implement the seven strategies I have shared above. If not, I think it’s time you partner up with EZ-Chow, a self-service kiosk and digital ordering solution.

EZ-Chow offers advanced features like manu management, inventory management, POS and loyalty program integration and data and analytics. These kiosks are built to simplify customers’ ordering experience and enticing them with visually appealing images, all contributing to your restaurant’s revenue. Go ahead and request a demo today!



Bernie Fussenegger
Bernie Fussenegger
Marketing,Branding & e-Commerce -Consultant
Click to learn more about Bernie Fussenegger

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