We know the idea behind sticking out prop food samples in the window of the restaurant. It is all well meaning. There’s probably not a restaurant in Japan where you wouldn’t find these sample food display. Intended to help visitors read the menu visually, these faux food samples serve as a guide to the uninitiated tourist seeking to order “Japanese” food.
Creating the fake food however is an art that is definitely Japanese. Iwasaki is credited with thinking up the ingenious way of using wax to imitate real life food items. While the art form has progressed much, the craft is still considered a work of hands. Japan is known for its efficient use of machines, but this is one place where they refrain from using any. Using faux food samples is a good marketing technique that lures many customers into the restaurant who would have otherwise given it a pass by. A strategy that is seen employed by food shops worldwide. Like with every strategy, this one too needs to be planned well so as to make it a success.
Here are a few tips that we could think of for restaurants using sample foods to spruce up their business.
1. Keep it clean. The sample window is also a window to your interior. It’s the face you showcase to the outside world of what you serve inside. Consider lighting it up with bright lights and keeping it clean. A dirty display using fake food will plan doubts about the restaurant’s cleanliness in the minds of the customers. Do not allow that.
2. Maintain the right angle. Correct angle for the food business is supposedly 45-60 degrees. Food when placed at this angle can be seen without any restriction and helps to attract people. Line food items at definite intervals at the required angle and lift them, if required. This also reduces the crowded” feeling when all items are placed side by side in the shelf.
3. Quote the price of the dish. It helps the customer decide. It is important.
4. Quantify the dish to be a representative sample of what you offer for that price. It’s not enough to display what you provide. Let the customer know how much you serve for that price. It will also help them choose how they can pair food items so as to have a hearty meal if that is what they set out to do.
5. Arrange the dishes in groups. Foods should be grouped into starters, main dishes, desserts, drinks, ala carte, etc. Remember this is a “visual menu”. Your paper based menu card is segregated into fish, seafood, meat dishes, etc. Likewise, group the fake food into groups.
6. Let the hotcake take centre stage. Make sure you place the most ordered and popular dish of your restaurant in a place where it is easily noticeable to attract customer’s attention.
7. Amount of food samples exhibited must be optimal. Placing just a few may make it look deserted. Again, placing every single item may make it look crowded. Choose the best combination keeping in mind the other points.