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How to market healthy dishes on your menu successfully

Updated: Jun 21, 2020

Hello Folks!

Welcome to another episode of making dough show, I’m your host Hengam.

And in this show, where we believe every restaurateur deserves owning a PROfitable restaurant that doesn’t own them!

If you will learn more about the show and what we're all about please read the description below. Today we’re gonna talking about how to promote healthy menu items successfully on your menu.

I wanna share with you super valuable free pdf step by step checklist that you can simply follow to use that for any promotion particular today we're talking about healthy menu items and dishes you have on your menu.


It is critical for us to have a strategy in place to promote healthy dishes more and more. That’s the trend that the people want choices, people want healthier foods and we do have a strategy for that and that's what I want to talk you today.

One of the things my husband and I made a commitment is to be healthier and make healthier choices this year. Try to walk more and you know life in the restaurant is really stressful and part of that is you wanna sometimes drink beer. Sometimes you want a snack though you are not hungry. And that's one of the reasons that I'm in this very big conversation to have.

I feel like sometimes am a little bit overweight and there’s that quote about don't trust in a skinny chef or something. I personally think that it's not about that. It's more about habits that come out of stress with the food but this is not the topic of this episode.

I wonder say that you get my eyes when i will make the choice to share to be a little bit healthier make better choices and you may know that hearing from people with her it's your team whether its customers talking about or you tune in a facebook group more and more people want to be healthier.

In particular they wanna lose weight and it is critical for you and i as business owners as restaurant owners to give people what they want. And this is just what it is, some people want options more than anything people want options to modify their diet if their choosing to go for a season gluten free or for a season they want a keto and etc.

It is important for you and I to consider that and give people options.

So in not a like about just changing your all menu it's about giving options to folks to have a few healthier options where your staff knows if a customer comes in and asks for that your team is able to offer a solution to a customer.

Another thing that you need to consider is that you need to have a strategy that is ongoing where we going to work on changing people's perception about our food. One of the things that always fascinates me is about sandwiches and you know that I’m on pizzerias and I personally feel that pizza has this bad reputation of being unhealthy.

I’m not going to deep in up but part of this is a bigger change ruled it in serving greasy and cardboard food that is half frozen and such that. That’s the best of perception people have.

My goal is always how am I going to shift that perception the people have about pizza in a manner that is sattle and strategic in telling stories with showing behind the scenes footage talking about how we prepare things, ingredients and making it a little bit funny side.

I don't want to be like “Our food is healthier and those who believe pizza is this and that..”

But one of the things was going to say fascinate me is about sandwiches.

After Subway make or one who brought this concept that in Subway you can eat fresh people feel sandwiches are healthier option than pizza. Whereas you know a sandwich has an equal enormous bread. I feel like weigh more bread and maybe a couple size of pizza specially serving crust pizza like we do.

It's all about perception and perception is a reality that a customer believed.

It's you and I job to shift that perception and that is deep work and it's on growing.

The first thing you need to consider how are you going to change customers perception to through the content you put out through the story you tell and all of that.

The another thing that we want to talk about it if you do serve a couple healthy options maybe you have salads that are very good make something special about it. Think about 1 item, one salad you can highlight.

Likewise, we serve pizza so there are a pizza that are like all meat. There are pizza that is a little bit meat that feels more and more healthy food to someone who wants to eat more healthy.

We need to know those things. We need to communicate it on our social media and in our email marketing to those who are interested in that concept. The point here is one of the things you need to know is Chick-fil-A or McDonald's they serve salad.

If you would asked anybody who goes to McDonalds they may not even know the McDonald's has salad. Those who care about salad know that they has. The point here is we want to make sure those who are interested in a healthy options know that we have those options for them.

This may not be for everybody all we need to know that we have this option set aside for them and were able to communicate it to those who are interested in. That is very interesting when you able to do Facebook targeting and always when I do a promotion that is looking  ingredient base. We talk about how we prepare for the mushrooms or how to make a lot of garlic paste on house. I promoted I was choose to targeting who are into mushroom or people who like garlic.

It is customizing and those who are into garlic I wanted them to know where obsessed with garlic. That’s the key thing to consider as well, shifting perception.

Another thing you want to consider is observing your menu and if there is any opportunities for you can introduce a new healthy menu item or a new dish.

Last December when I was thinking about that for January we need to be pushing for healthy thing and I get it turns into something that’s a little bit on going for us right here. Is it because I observed in a lot about our appetizer are really pretty heavy.

Now, nothing wrong with an where an italian stuff but it's important have some healthier options so I look into that.I figured out we need to come up with one or two menu items are appetizers turn on a silly salads but they are healthier options.

So that's kind of story of this thing and that’s what we wanna do. I’m not saying to order new ingredients, this is a challenge for us as a restaurant owners. Always when you go to a customers and ask “Hey! What's the new item you thinking of something we can add in our menu or you ask your crew to come up with this creative stuffs.

I don’t wanna add 3 new items to the food order. We want to work with what we have and that is the key keeping things simple. You hear that all the time for me keep things simple, don't complicate. Things are already super complicated in your restaurant we don't need to add to that.

You need to look around of what you have and how can you change the way or maybe use ingredients in a new way. So one of things we did we added a bruschetta dip as you know that tomatoes and garlic we have all those ingredients. It would turn it into a chips and salsa thing. That’s the dish we added to our menu in December just right when January where was coming around and I started this push and promoting yet and I'm going to go over what are strategies and again if you click on the link I have down below you can download the pdf.

I have 10 steps that I follow when I promote any new dish or an existing dish or an event. It doesn't matter will be promoting and usually I hit not all 10 because we just can't handle it all but I usually when promoting things I still select this 10 of promotional ways and I haven't place and I'm giving you tips and in details of how to do with it.

So click on the link below and download that and put it into practice. Once you made the decision of going to promote existing salad or am i going to come up with a new dish or am i going into a healthy appetizers, sort those things out because I'm not going to go further deep about that here.

The next thing I always talk about is you need to sort out the operation. Make a decision what would it going to be then get your team on board. You gotta make sure that the team knows where you heading when it comes in your marketing or a direction that you're taking this. One thing you need you realize is that I don't know about you but one of the problems has been the our team usually isn't very savvy when it comes to their knowledge of food.

One of the funny things every time we have a new hire I asked “Hey! what you think vinegar comes from?’ And it’s like “ahhmm...ahhmm I don’t know. Its kind a strange.” Maybe it is our people and you may not be but I have this experience with our youngest staff over and over and over. It is critical for you to make time and educating our people because it doesn't matter what you serve on your menu if not selling it properly throughout people then it would just not able to sell it.

The reason McDonald's does great is because they sell very well it's not because of the quality of food on the top notch ingredients store multi multi billion to because you're able to sell that workers with her visuals with whatever their storytelling is. They have phenomenal visual city walk in the McDonald's you’ll see that. Their people is in the best sellers they really that’s the number 1 or number 2 take care about that but when your team member is able to give an educated answer like our chicken pesto we made it up a fresh basil pesto and how's it's made out of fresh garlic basil we have pine nuts and olive oil parmesan cheese and drizzle it on top.

If your team is able to be descriptive and talk about the way your food is made you may be able to sell that this way better. You increase in a customer's appetite to the dish. So you need to have a strategy that is in place and ongoing in educating your staff.

One of the ways we do that is ever recorded a video for every single dish and I talk about the flavors and everything. For them to remember and able to educate our customers so the customers able to make an educated and even have choices when it comes to choosing a dish when they come and place their order.

Have a strategy for your team. This matters because if your coming up with always helping staffs and was not able to properly sell it if they don't understand the food process and all the love and effort you put into every single ingredient. Every single prep to the whole effort you're having couldn't won't be maximized. Figure out how are you going to educate your team better on this.

Before we go further, I want to tell you something about something else you need to keep in mind.

You never wanna make people feel bad about the choices that they make.

We have our lunch buffet sometimes customer comes in and a little pile a  plate like 15 meatballs and it easy for me to judge.

In my mind I judge them because that’s affects my attitude of my approach and you need to know as a leader in your restaurant that your people are watching you and the attitude you give.

So you may have a customer calls and they're very peculiar and they have so many questions about the prep and whatever because they have dietary issues or concerns.

It is very important that you don't give any attitude to you reaction because you want to make sure that we are honoring our customers and meeting their expectation whatever they need from us.

Yes it is political. It’s more about honoring people and their decisions and serving them how they want to be served.

So we market our healthier options in a subtle and strategic way. Showcasing them.

Building buzz around them. Build buzz around your dish or whatever you do with your ingredients. Give a wholesome perception. Showcase your dish by telling stories about it or by making funny of it. Don't just tell you need to show it because you need demonstrated to convey the message. There’s a story behind every dish and there are stories behind ingredients.You were showcasing your delicious food that happens to be also healthy.  

Now let’s get into how we are going to do this: It starts with the stories you going to tell about this dish because once we determine the stories then we can determine the visuals that we need to create a back the stories and convey the message of your stories. Tell the story behind this dish! why you added it to the menu? when did you added to the menu? Why should they try it? What’s so special about it??  Talk about the flavor combinations. Talk about how you prep ingredients if there is any stories with ingredients and how you specially prepare them.. (this step is critical! What are things you can do is grab the voice memo on your phone and simply answer these questions and record your voice!!! Then play it back and turn what you said in the voice memo into 2 to 3 social media captions. You will use these captions on your website as well as in your email marketing that goes out every week.)Remember facts tell stories sell! You need to use lots of appetizing adjectives! Set a date and time on your calendar and obviously a reminder or two to make time and prepare these dishes. Recruit a staff member to assist. Next step is capturing the visuals to tell these stories!! Do you want to capture as many photos and videos as you can of the ingredients multiple shots, multiple angles. How you prepare the food and obviously the final product? The final product and different settings different angles team members holding it. Great photos landscape photosBoomerang videos and etc.Prepare to do for hosts using a combination of your photos and or videos and the caption stories and step on.Again you going to use these on social media on your website and your email newsletter and moreThey need to fully understand how you prepare it. They need to know the story of the dish. They need to know the ingredients. In fact it was wonderful to have them watch you prepare the dish ones for those who are visual learners

Folks now let's dive deep and talk about exactly the step by step ways to promote a healthy item on your menu and in other words how were going to get eyeballs on it, how were going to get exposure on it and how were going to make sure people who are interested about gonna know about it.

I'm simply going to follow the checklist that you can download again the link is down below I'm going to follow that and a little walk through with you the first step when it comes to promoting anything is..

Capturing Footage. Whether it is a photoshoot or videoshoot you need always to start with that. We are living in a world that is everything else is gonna follow the visual.

So the visuals need to be telling what you want to communicate whatever if it is about freshness whatever it is the story want to communicate is the visual. You need to mark your calendar set the date and time of when you gonna do this. Set it before opening like a 9 a.m. or 8 am i if you don't serve breakfast is a good time or in the afternoon in your downtime. Get some footage of that dish whether its ingredients or the proper process get videos and get photos, get your team members to hold the final dish their hands with their face kind of a photo of that all that.

The next step is think about the stories you want to tell that is going to eventually be the caption for this post.

Captions as in like a paragraph or two telling stories about the dish and why folks need to try it. You want to describe it in a manner that you will “Whoah! I gotta have that. I gotta try that!” So you need think a captions if your going to use of social media or your website or on the emails you send out weekly.

On the other hand you need to be thinking about if you would use the 4 walls method in other word you gonna print flyer or standee by the register. You have to put text on the image and so think about how are you going to do that.

You have these photos and stuff that you taken, considering you gonna always have to put text on it and stuff. What can you write on that?

You can edit photos for free on I’ve mentioned it on the show many times. You get an account it is absolutely free and upload your photos there add a thing you can save from there. You can refer from it later at create templates. There's so much you can do it will not take much time. It is very user friendly and you need to get on that.

The next step is always you want to make sure all things come to your website.

You are able to hear what it is you want to communicate so when them come to your website you need a message prominent, what's called up above the fold but they see a photo of this dish trying to promote or the proper process you have and has a section of the paragraph you come up with this part of the caption.

Another thing you want in a create some social media post before he created the captions. I wanna give you tips here in the show to you multiple times. If you don't know how are you going to create multiple posts for the same thing here is the good tip for you.

Use the same caption in use of multiple images and videos.

People remember the imagery when more than the text. You can use the same text caption about this particular dish. Just use different photos in different angle views.

The next part is schedule others post.

You can schedule posts on facebook directly on facebook without paying anybody else you can use third party apps such as like that allows you about after 30 days and 30 posts for free you can schedule out that’s for free. If you want to get a paid version it could cost use like $10 a month that’s very affordable for you to schedule your post on social media.

I do have a video podcasts where I talk about why you still must be posting regularly on your social media particularly facebook even though the reach goes down.

Schedule the social media post once a day or so and get it done. But if you're promoting healthy dish you can put a 1 post every 3 to 4 days. They think about how are you going to come out.

You can do facebook ads, you can search some money at it, how much is that. There is $10 or $7 is it worth spending $20 and putting it for the next two do three weeks  just showing the two people who ended up to particular dish or the ingredients I mentioned like people will like garlic, people like mushroom. It depends what you have to served.

Always do a math if I get 3 customers I've made my money back so beyond that more people known about that dish it's all good for me thank you facebook.

View the money spent on facebook as an investment not as an expense.

The next one is facebook groups.

I talk about facebook group so much. You need to maximize that. It's free! Nothing's free in this world people take advantage of it. You need to be heavily involved with 2-3 local groups from facebook. You need to know the guidelines when you compose and schedule post about this particular dish the healthiest. What everything you do want to do on your local facebook groups periodically weekly for the next photo 6 weeks what I’m saying is on going...

The other one is email marketing you want to shift the perception of your current customer. You have to include the photos and a captions the stuff that the previously worked in your email marketing. I’m sure of your sending one email at a week, if not you're missing out. These are simple things.It seems were looking for this some whizbang marketing these things work. They’re tested. They’re work.

You need to put in the work and it takes some hours. Get that in your email marketing I mentioned about in store signs. These are cheap investments that you can put into some of this.

I usually do not to mailers because it takes a long time for me to see results of this works for night because of facebook as if it doesn't work is simply wasn't.

Direct mailing out to your customer base to me I have to get a designer. The designer that matches the resolution of the size. So I have to pay maybe for a designer or you do it yourself that would take time then you have to get it printed.

There is the cost of printing and then also cost of mailing. I personally do not do that and I guess it's really hard to track in terms of you won't usually be able to get the persons contact information. So I don't do the direct mail.

And that's what has worked for us and may work for different you do would work best.

Last but not the least, one of the things you want to consider is host a giveaway.

Hosting a giveaway you need to view things awesomely. Its building your brand increasing engagement with your brand or facebook page. You will be able hear feedback from people.

Overall, depending on the question you asked. People are going to comment below with the terms of giveaway. You can gather a lot of that. In that way you can grow your list with giveaways.

I mean honestly, it's the best so if you have a healthy dish that you want to promote like I was trying to tell you. I’m gonna host a giveaway, hey comment below and let me know this and this or go sign up here with given away tips.

Obviously,  I will put with this story of what the dishes about? Or why we should try it and capture footage, the photos and videos. Those are the things I’m going to used to host a giveaway.

For future episode I wanna get dipper dive and talk about the giveaways. I mean we could talk for a long time about how to properly set up a giveaway to operational site that is involved in all of that make it success. You go to get to put it on the caption to put it in your email marketing and your facebook groups.

You can see results, you can get exposure of this healthy dish that you got going on and you want to attract the right people that are going to value you.

All right thank you so much for your time giving in this another episode of making brochure. I'm just really glad to be spending time with you. We were on a two-week vacation my husband and I are back and a lot of emails go through, meeting with all of our team members to stick figure out what went wrong. How can I could have systems employees to make sure this doesn't happen again so that's what i'm not be working on.

I always would love to hear from you, You can write email to me at .  Please leave us a review. I  would appreciate it so much. I know you're busy. So I would appreciate it I'm trying to make time to put this content out for you. It helps you to help you make some  dough and if you value that again please leave us a review. I hope to see you soon at next week to see soon and let's get back to work and make some dough.

You can download 10 Steps to any Restaurant Promotion by clicking on the link:



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