Menu supply chain shortages. We know you have them, and we know they’re incredibly frustrating. Despite the daily efforts to efficiently conduct your operation, you’ve likely had to:

  • Change what products you’re using
  • 86 customer-favorite items
  • Get creative with ingredients and recipes to fulfill dietary needs
  • Keep signs and apps updated with accurate menu information
  • And more…

While experts predict supply chain shortages may continue through some of 2022, you can thrive throughout the next several months by helping your customers trust and count on what you DO have available.

Promises like this are big to your customers, and equally big to manage without the right tools. In order to fulfill such a promise, you have to provide accurate, up-to-date menu information across all your affected locations and technology. And what is the BIG secret to mastering this? Having one source of truth. One system that updates all your menus, in real time.

Let’s talk about why this approach is vital for creating promises you can keep and how you can delight your customers despite menu supply chain shortage challenges.  

Why your menus need one source of truth.

Picture this scene (or maybe you don’t have to): one of your customers sees you have curly fries available on your menu, and they’re stoked – they love curly fries. They might even add it to their cart through mobile ordering, or see it on your digital signage as they walk into your dining location. 

But you don’t have curly fries. You only have steak fries today. And now your customer is upset because their expectations weren’t met. 

Customers really care about these situations! They want to look at an item on your menu, website, ordering app, and digital signage, and know it’s actually there. They want to be able to order that food, arrive at your venue, and eat it. So if you don’t update your menus to say you have steak fries today instead of curly fries, your customers’ expectations about what you have available will be wrong, and you’ll lose their trust. 

This comes back to our point about making promises you can keep: when you clearly do everything you’re saying you can do, you build trust with your customers. And when you build trust, you’re rewarded with customer loyalty and enjoyable interactions.

Foodservice's One BIG Secret to Handling Menu Supply Chain Shortages

The best way for you to keep these promises is by controlling your menus with real-time accuracy and communicating what’s available now through one platform. One place that connects all of your menu data to public-facing menus – this is your one source of menu truth!

Instead of relying on disjointed systems that don’t talk to each other, you can keep your menus up-to-date through a solution like Nutrislice that lets you put in accurate menu information that automatically updates across your website, mobile app, and digital menu boards. This strategy moves the customer’s focus to what’s available (not what’s missing) because your system lets you communicate in a nimble manner. 

And if you had a system like this, you could easily swap those curly fries on your menus for the steak ones, setting customers’ expectations and building trust right from the start.

How to communicate menu supply chain shortages. 

So how can you use this one source of truth to answer your customers’ questions about your menu supply chain shortages? And what if they still want to know where those curly fries are?

Having a single source of truth under a platform like Nutrislice gives operators the benefit of having one system to push digital communications on supply shortages out to every digital channel. For example, a message like “We’re dealing with supply shortages right now – thank you for your understanding!” can be made into a banner for online menus, a widget alongside menu items, an image for digital signage displays, and more.

Digital Signage Mockup on Brick

Let’s take a quick look at a few ways you can best communicate supply shortages across these digital channels. 

Be proactive

If you find out there’s a popular item on your menu that you won’t get back in stock for a while, prepare public-facing messaging for your site, social media, website menus, etc. before this shortage happens so customers are prepared to make another choice.

Stay positive! 

Notice how the example message above ended on a positive “thank you” note? That’s because negative signs like “We’re out of curly fries” don't ultimately help anyone, especially if it’s an item your customers love.

Instead, address how you’re working on the problem with upbeat language and messaging. Here are some examples that you can feel free to borrow and use in your own digital communications: 

  • “We’re searching for curly fries, but today we have some steak fries for you to enjoy!” 
  • “We’re working hard to find Lucky Charms but for now we’re gonna have to thank Captain Crunch for helping us out.”
  • “Even without Fritos on top, we’d say our chili is still some of the best around, wouldn’t you?” 
  • “Wish there was more cream cheese? Us, too! For now, try some peanut butter and fruit on your bagel!”
  • “We may not have all the ingredients you’re used to, but don’t worry – we’re so good, we know how to make delicious food anyway.” 

Train your employees on how to respond.

Anyone working in your foodservice operation is feeling the crunch just as much as you are. Discuss internally about how you can all be flexible, transparent, and up-to-date when managing your menus and customer-facing communications.

For example, if you have a single platform that lets you assign user roles for managing and updating menus, you can make sure anyone on your team is able to adjust menus as needed. This reduces bottlenecks in menu accuracy your operation may deal with and enhances customer experiences and interactions.

Supply chain issues will likely continue over the next year. Because of this, it’s vital for operators to be agile in updating and communicating about menus and ingredients in real time from one menu management platform.

If this kind of operation sounds impossible, it’s not. In fact, we can make your job easier than it is now by helping you build your one source of truth that updates everything!

Are you ready to be a lot more nimble and a lot less frustrated by supply chain shortages? Let’s talk!