How to Build the Perfect Seafood Restaurant Menu
Have you ever walked into a restaurant, looked at the menu and then turned around and left? Sky high prices or a lack of menu variety can have that effect. At Weathervane Seafood Restaurants we know how important the menu is to our guests. That’s why we spend so much time honing, reviewing, analyzing and perfecting it. With over 45 years in business, we have had plenty of practice. Our menu represents what we know our guests love about Weathervane – offering exceptional value in the form of price, portion, variety and quality.
So, if you’re wondering what goes into creating the perfect seafood restaurant menu and the secret to our years of success, here are our top 9 lessons learned:
1. Constantly Evolve
We have been in business for over 4 decades. We understand that tastes and times change. In order to account for this constant evolution we are always tweaking and updating our menu. Today’s menu has many of the same core menu options that we had 45 years ago but with additions and changes to account for the years gone by. For example, the first Weathervane restaurant served cooked half chickens for $.99 each. While we don’t serve ½ chickens anymore, we do offer a huge portion of the best hand battered fried Chicken Tenders – always cooked to order.
2. Mix it Up Regularly
We change the full service menu twice annually and our Feature Menu three times per year. During these changes, it is typical for at least one new menu item to replace an old menu option, offering variety and creative options for our loyal guests.
3. Ask for Guest Feedback
Guest feedback is extremely important to us. We want to know if you had a good experience, if you have comments or suggestions on how we are doing or what you would like to see changed. If you have ideas we want to hear them! By using Facebook, our online comment card and by speaking with guests in the restaurant, we are able to gain valuable feedback that often acts as a great source of ideas.
4. Review the Menu Format
As the menu options change, often times there is a need to re-examine the layout. For example, when we added new dishes to the pasta line, they did not fit nicely into any one category, so we re-engineered the format. In fact, every winter we review the menu as a whole to determine if the look best reflects our concept
5. Offer Something for Everyone
While we are definitely a seafood restaurant at heart, we realize that sometimes our guests aren’t in the mood for all seafood all the time, which is why we offer a variety of options. On our menu, you won’t just find loads of seafood dishes but also burgers, pasta, chicken and salads. Plus, because we are a very family friendly restaurant we have an extensive children’s menu called the Mini Mariner, with everything from tenders and burger bites to cheese pizza, mac and cheese, clam strips and haddock nuggets among many more. Our Kid’s Claw meal has received accolades from healthydiningfinders.com for being a family friendly and healthy option.
6. Stay Vigilant
There is no real secret to building the perfect menu. The key is to stay vigilant, watch food trends and really listen to what our customers are saying.
7. Be Consistent
Because we have seasonal as well as year round restaurants we have more than one menu. Basing our seasonal seafood restaurant menus off of our main year round menu allows us to keep our offerings consistent across all three of our restaurant lines. We want you to know what you can expect from our restaurants, whether you are at one of the 6 year round Weathervane locations or at Lobster in the Rough in Weirs Beach.
8. Keep it Fun
Everyone loves a deal…. and who can say no to happy hour? Not only do we offer happy hour specials and a separate bar menu, but we also offer group tour menus to help you keep some extra money in your wallet without sacrificing on fun.
9. Don’t Forget the Drinks!
While the food is the main act, no meal would be complete without the perfect drink to wash it all down. With a full bar at all of our locations we can get quite creative when it comes to the drink menu, offering a number of wines, beers and liquors. A full bar means the drink concoctions are almost endless, so we rely on our guests to request their favorite cocktails. Or if you need a recommendation or two our bartenders are eager to offer up suggestions that may not be listed on the standard drink menu.
After more than 45 years we have learned a thing or two when it comes to building the perfect seafood restaurant menu, most importantly to never rest on our laurels. Vigilance and listening to our guests have both been key drivers of our success. We are currently working on developing gluten-free offerings in response to the many requests we have received from guests.. So stay tuned for the new gluten free options! And remember that we love hearing from you on what we’re doing right or on ways we can improve your next visit to Weathervane.