Looking to introduce a new menu item? There’s no better testing ground than your dining room. But don’t just add the item to your list of specials and hope for the best. Try serving small, complimentary portions to newly seated guests.

Train servers to say: “We’re thinking about adding this new entrée to our menu. Would you have a taste and tell us what you think?” Hand out cards asking for comments on flavor, presentation and value for the dollar.

The gesture serves two purposes: You’ll get valuable feedback and enhance your guests’ perception of the service your restaurant provides.

Customers love getting something for free. Chances are they’ll order the item when it’s officially on the menu, and tell their friends about it. After all, they played a part in its development!

Are you too busy to even think about changing up your menu? You need more time! We can’t really help you with that, but we can help you better manage the time you have as a restaurant manager. Click to check out Get A Life: Running Your Restaurant Without Running Out Of Time.