The question starts by asking is it better to have a menu with or without images ?
To answer this question we have to make a separation between the Fast food and Fine dining restaurants' businesses , where in the first one we cannot imagine menus without photos as this is an essential element of marketing for these chains , when it comes to fine dining it was a norm that menus are presented without any images as part of being "Posh" .
Here i would like to share a live example from one of the High end Café chains where i have worked with our franchisees in the region , when we have upgraded our menu layouts from previous menus printed with colored images to new layouts by using leather menu covers with image free menu inserts , from one end this upgrade was appreciated by the franchisees at first , however after sometime we "At the regional office" found during analysis that the menu items' sales of the items that had images previously had dropped down as a result , therefore images do have an impact on menu items sales !
Here comes the question of the staff role in menu selling , as they are the sales people who can recommend , upsell, explain and help the customer to visualize how an item will be presented even before ordering it in case an image is not available . Proper training , staff selection, hiring those staff with the right attitude and passion are key to ensure that staff do explain passionately and recommend menu items to their customers , which remains a challenge and an opportunity in the F&B industry .
To conclude , Ipad menus did have an important impact from many sides , from one end it has reduced printing expenses where previously operators had to change menu pages each time they want to change an item or more , when pages are dirty or torn or when dictation mistakes were found , versus the Ipad menus where it is easy to do all these changes instantly.
Also Ipad menus made it easier for families to see images as we are in the era of social media and many of us do care about menu items presentation in order to evaluate if these items are instagramable or can be posted on any of our social medias , here also comes the responsibility of restaurateurs to ensure that their menu images are of high quality and are attractive.
Ipad menus will remain until more advanced technologies are found to present menus to customers , hoping that restaurateurs invest as much in their staff development as this remains #Hopsitalityindustry.