Are you selling the steak or the sizzle?

Sizzle or Steak
Sizzle or Steak

The common phrase you hear all the time is: “Sell the sizzle, not the steak.” This phrase was not meant solely for steak salesmen it is a reminder to all of us in the food marketing industry that it isn’t the ingredients per se that drive patrons to order from the menu but the way we describe those precious ingredients. When you create your menu description you must remember that the people that buy your food aren’t really buying it for the ingredients but what those ingredients represent. Your ingredients represent an emotion that is felt by the patron. When you write the description of your menu items do your best to conjure up the emotions typically felt when the ingredient is eaten. Everyone has Cheddar Cheese on the menu. Is it a hard Cheddar, a Light Cheddar, a White Cheddar? Or a creamy lightly smoked Cheddar?

Below is a before and after of a sandwich update session. Please note that both descriptions are describing the exact same sandwich.

Roast Beef – Thinly sliced rare roast beef with caramelized sweet onion and horseradish mayo, lettuce, tomato on an onion roll.

Southern Onion Roast Beef – Tender Roast Beef served in a Roasted Onion Roll with Crisp Green Lettuce, Vine Ripened Tomato and Dressed with our Signature Horseradish, Cracked Black Pepper and Caramelized Sweet Onion Aioli.

So… are you selling the steak or the sizzle?

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