What you’ll learn
Your menu is what sets you apart from the competition and helps you attract customers and make sales. Here’s how to make sure your menu is working as hard as you are:
Organize your menu into categories: 2 mins
Price menu items for conversion: 2 mins
Attract customers with menu photography: 1 min
Provide thorough descriptions: 1 min
Add modifiers that sell: 1 min
Stand out with store branding: 1 min
Create bundle packages: 1 min
Think seasonally: 1 min
Offer pre-packaged meals: 1 min
Sell pantry staples and provisions: 1 min
Offer alcohol: 1 min
Why is menu optimization important?
How you showcase your menu can dramatically increase the amount of customers who choose to order from your restaurants and how many items they will order. In fact, menus with item photos saw an increase of up to 44% in monthly sales and those with item descriptions earn up to 18% more in sales each month.
What are the best practices for designing my menu?
You can edit your menu in the Merchant Portal, on your POS system, and on your Business Manager App. Taking a thoughtful approach to your menu design and employing the following menu creator techniques can help increase sales and drive customer loyalty:
1. Organize your menu into categories
When it comes to ordering food online, customers want a menu that is easy to navigate and helps them decide what to order. One of the simplest ways to meet this need is to split your menu into categories, much like you would do on a printed or display menu. Here are some ideas:
Separate out appetizers, entrees, sides, drinks, desserts into different sections
Organize your menu by type of cuisine — for example, sushi and Mexican
Add a highlight section for dishes for special dietary needs, such as Vegan, Gluten-Free, or Keto
Create categories recommending meals for certain situations, like Lunch for One, Dinner for Two, or Family Dinner for Four
DoorDash will also organize your menu with a category for Most Liked Items, which helps customers find trusted recommendations from locals at a glance, reducing decision fatigue when searching for what to eat.
DoorDash also includes category descriptions, which allow you to provide more details or context. Keep in mind, categories can also be easier to navigate on small smartphone screens, and thus improve the experience of customers trying to order from you via their phone.
2. Price menu items for conversion
Another important aspect of a menu is pricing. While some merchants may mark up their online menus as a strategy to compensate for other costs, we’ve found that merchants who mark up their menu prices can see up to 36% fewer sales and up to 83% lower reorder rates, based on data from 20,000 SMB merchants in September 2022.
Marked-up prices are one of the top customer complaints we receive — so it’s no surprise that they can discourage customers from ordering and decrease order volume. Below are actual reviews left by customers for restaurants with significant menu markups:
“Prices [are] higher than in store…Would have ordered every day if they were the same.”
“I love this restaurant. They are seriously up-charging from what they charge normally and I will never order from them...”
“Will not order ridiculous price increases.”
Read more about how consistent menu pricing maximizes visibility and volume on DoorDash here.
If you’re a DoorDash merchant and have questions about pricing, feel free to email us at email@example.com.
3. Attract hungry customers with photos
Menu photography can make or break a customer’s decision of where to order their meal.
DoorDash offers a complimentary menu photoshoot to help you show off your menu or you can check out these six tips for taking great menu photos to find out how to capture the deliciousness of your food on camera.
Once your photos are ready for upload, check out this step-by-step How to Add Photos guide.
4. Provide thorough descriptions
Your DoorDash customers don’t have one of your servers or staff members nearby to answer questions or tell them what’s special about a particular dish. That’s why it’s extra important to include thorough item descriptions throughout your menu. This isn’t surprising — if you had to choose between these two items, which would you pick?
Fresh mixed greens with local seasonal vegetables and your choice of housemade dressing.
Read How to Write Mouth-Watering Food Descriptions for Your Online Menu for more ways to make your delivery menu descriptions pop.
5. Add modifiers that sell
An analysis of DoorDash menus found that customization is a top factor for merchant success, attracting a wider range of customers who want to tailor orders to their taste.
Including modifiers on your menu — or options for customers to add to or change a specific item for an additional fee — is an excellent way to increase check size. There are a couple of different ways to incorporate modifiers into your menu:
The option to add a side, dessert, or drink to any entree
The ability to add toppings or other additions (like extra protein) to items like salads, bowls, burgers
Multiple size options to choose from
Multiple spice levels to choose from (e.g. hot, medium, mild)
6. Stand out with store branding
Your store’s branding — in particular your logo and header photo — are the first thing a customer sees when they look at your menu.
Adding your logo and a header photo is a great way to stand out and put your best foot forward.
Menus with header images and logos get up to 50% (header) and 23% (logo) more monthly sales than menus without these branding elements.
7. Create bundle packages for larger orders
If your customers are looking to order for a group, bundled options make their ordering experience much faster and less complicated. Whether it’s dinner for two, a full family-style meal for 6 or a package (like five pizzas for the price of four), bundles make life easier for customers and kitchens.
8. Think seasonally
People associate the change of seasons with different flavors and cuisines. In the colder months, customers often seek out warm, hearty dishes with a rich complexity of spices. In the summer, people lean toward lighter, brighter options, often with seasonal produce. In every season, look into what produce is available locally and how you can incorporate those ingredients into new or existing menu items.
9. Offer pre-packaged meals
Many people don’t have time to grocery shop or prepare meals, so pre-packaged breakfasts, lunches, or dinners that can be reserved and picked up ahead of time are a huge time saver. If you have the capacity, you can experiment with different options to see which your customers like best. Since these meals may be eaten over the course of a few days, it’s best to include items that keep and reheat well.
10. Sell pantry staples and provisions
If you have popular specialty retail items — like sauces, salsas, pastas, and spices — consider offering them for purchase alongside your regular menu items. This is an easy way to reach more customers and potentially increase your revenue.
11. Offer alcohol
Adding alcohol to your DoorDash menu can increase average check size. According to the National Restaurant Association’s 2022 State of the Restaurant Industry Report, 77% of Gen Z adults say they included an alcohol beverage with a takeout or delivery order from a restaurant, deli, or fast food place during the past 6 months.
Crafting the best menu for your business
Your DoorDash menu is the best way to show your customers what you have to offer, from your unique recipes to your commitment to excellent service. A menu with high quality photos, enticing meal descriptions, cohesive branding, and consistent pricing is a menu that will set you and your business apart — and set you up for success.