After 25 years in the food and beverage industry, General Manager Carey Chaney has seen a lot of change. That experience translates to an invaluable business savvy along with an in-depth understanding of a restaurant’s need to keep up with changing customer desires and sophistication. More importantly, she knows when it’s time to refresh. When Molly Spillane’s decided to re-launch their brand, Carey embraced the expertise of MHM’s Design Services team.
MHM: What was the main motivator in re-launching Molly’s brand?
Carey: Customers are more informed and concerned about their diet now. Their expectations are higher—better quality food, greater value, and superb service. When I started at Molly’s the menu didn’t reflect those standards. There was no menu accommodation for gluten-free, dairy-free or organic choices. People are much more discerning, now. They know the difference in quality, freshness, etc. and what is healthiest for them. If we don’t provide those choices, there are plenty of other restaurants that do. If a customer doesn’t see that we are willing to take care of their needs, they’ll go someplace else. And they won’t come back.
MHM: What criteria do you think is important when creating a menu based on customers’ higher standards?
Carey: Menus now have to have a fresh look coupled with an eclectic offering in order to serve everyone’s needs. And that has to extend through the brand at all touch points. When we decided to refresh the menu we realized we needed to revisit the entire restaurant experience from the minute they walk in the door to dessert.
MHM: What happened as a result of the menu redesign?
Carey: Once we started looking at redesigning the menu and realized how the change would reflect on Molly’s brand, we began reviewing the entire dining experience, striking five points: 1) Greet quickly. 2) Accommodate discerning palates. 3) Deliver good quality. 4) Provide the best value. 5) Offer seamless service.
MHM: How familiar were you with MHM when you embarked on the re-launch?
Carey: When I joined Molly’s, the owner already had an account set up. They had been utilizing the MHM platform for all Spillane’s menus—at Molly’s alone, we revise our menus one to two times per week, including our beer and dessert menus. Spillane’s also has three other locations that use MHM to design their menus: Mickey’s, Maggie’s and Nellie’s. Each restaurant has its own select menu items at that location. Spillane’s restaurants have been around for nine years. Molly’s is the newest at six years.
MHM: How did your previous menu-making method differ from MHM’s online platform?
Carey: At the last restaurant I managed, someone did the menu design in-house and then shipped it out to get printed. It took a week and a half. We had to be really good at planning ahead but it didn’t allow for any changes unless we did the whole process again. Our menu is five pages, including the cover. We create them as single, one-sided copies.
With MHM, I can bang out a customized menu in just 30 minutes. It’s pretty easy. At first, I spent a couple of weeks getting comfortable with spacing, margins, mixing a variety of fonts, and feeling more confident playing with backgrounds, borders, coloring and graphics. There are a lot of options to explore! I tried three or four themes I liked. Now I can make changes immediately, print it out and it’s done. We don’t use MHM’s printing feature only because it’s easier for us to print them in-house simply because of the frequency of menu updates.
MHM: Why did you decide to have Design Services create the menu instead of doing it yourself?
Carey: With the Molly relaunch, we had just a three-day window to create an upscale menu with more offerings. Not only were we changing the menu in three days, we were changing our serving sizes, retraining our servers, and familiarizing everyone with the new menu offers, all in an effort to take our service and standards to next level. I felt my attention should be on the staff and servicing and trust the menu design to MHM.
MHM: How happy were you with MHM’s redesign? How did your customers respond?
Carey: Well, what I loved the most was working with Samantha in Design Services. She was great! And she made it fun. Our customers loved the new menu design. It was a masterpiece! They were very receptive to the new menu items, too. We make sure to touch base with every table in the dining room to get their feedback. It’s really important for customers to feel heard.
MHM: What other MHM features do you see exploring in the future?
Carey: Eventually, we will offer weekly specials and will need to create a menu for that. We also will need tri-fold menus. All the MHM benefits are great. We’re definitely getting our money’s worth out of the program.