Tracey Cifers, owner of County Seat Restaurant & Gathering Place, has been a MustHaveMenus customer since 2007. And she’s been delighting her clientele with custom menu designs ever since. With Powhatan County’s population just over 28,000, being the local go-to gathering place for three generations is a brand to be proud of. Tracey makes the time to “revel in her brand” through frequent menu creations. The result? Increase in the frequency of regular customers, new customer acquisition, and a boost in revenue.
MHM: You’ve been a customer since 2007. How did you come to find MHM?
Tracey: I think I just stumbled across it searching the internet for easy do-it-yourself menu creation. It’s a great option for people who like to be creative but aren’t graphic designers. I used to just scrap and piece together menus in the past. It not only took forever but they also didn’t look very professional. I love to reinvent our restaurant from time to time. It freshens our brand, re-engages our customers and attracts people visiting the area. You can always recognize a newcomer by the way the mispronounce Powhatan (a dead giveaway that they’re not from Virginia).
MHM: What do you like the most about using MHM?
Tracey: I love how I can enter all my information once and then switch between design themes to see which I like best. It’s so easy to do. I have done our main menu over about six or seven times, moving menu items around, experimenting using borders and highlighting certain specials. I also like the fact that all of my graphics and files are in one place. I can grab a menu I’ve previously designed, change the theme and I’m done. Simple and cost effective.
MHM: What enticed you to change your menus so frequently?
Tracey: I think it really speaks to showing our customers our sense of pride of place. My mother started this restaurant 23 years ago with one cook, a cashier, and a waitress. Now, we have 30 employees and do over $1 million in sales. That comes from loyal customers. We want to show our appreciation by continuing to be the gathering place they’ve come to expect. We know half of our customers by their first name. They love that!
MHM: How have your customers responded to your menu designs?
Tracey: Whenever I create a new menu I put it on our website and post it on Facebook. Our customers get really excited when I introduce a new menu. What’s really interesting is how frequently a customer will order something they’ve never ordered before simply because it’s in a different spot or I’ve put a box around it.They think we have all new menu selections but it’s the same items we always have. We’ve even seen a rise in the orders of some of our more pricey dishes by calling them out with graphics.
MHM: How has changing up your menus impacted your business?
Tracey: Every time I introduce a new menu there is a two-week spike in our restaurant traffic and revenue. We’ve noticed that our regular customers (50% of our clientele) come in more frequently and we also attract between 5% to 10% of new customers.
MHM: What other features do you use on MHM?
Tracey: I create a lot of flyers on MHM. I can design a flyer in just 30 minutes. It brings in a lot of additional business. I’ve used flyers to promote our happy hour, maybe a theme night or holiday. It creates an immediate “wow” factor. I created my first takeout menu just last week. I can’t wait to see the results.
MHM: Why did you decide to use MHM’s Design Services for your latest menu?
Tracey: We decided to update three menus at the same time, breakfast, luncheon and dinner menu. I was really pressed for time. They were able to do in a few hours what would have taken me days to accomplish, with all the changes happening at once. The MHM Design Services team was very helpful and fast. But honestly, I really enjoy carving out the time to create menus myself.