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We Eat with Our Eyes First


The modern marketing landscape is an arena where advertisers are competing for just one thing: eyeballs. It’s a fight for attention span, or at least as much of it as you can win in an overstimulating, media-saturated environment. According to Cision/Microsoft, attention spans, which stretched to 20 seconds in 2000, averaged more like 8 seconds in 2018. 

The development of Test Kitchen, our eye-tracking measurement and analytics tool, was created to help you sharpen your marketing focus by understanding what captures the attention of your audience and generating objective data to help you make decisions. Ultimately, making the most out of every second of attention you have.  

Guests spend on average of 109 seconds studying a restaurant menu, so it’s important to make that time count.

Test Kitchen uses webcam eye-tracking technology to produce quantifiable data on where your customer’s attention goes, rests, and how long it stays there. For example, which portions of your messaging are most sticky? Most attractive? Least noticed? Test Kitchen can help identify that and inform decisions on how to further optimize your marketing messages. 

Test Kitchen technology can be applied to any visual medium, including email and digital display, menu design, store signage and broadcast, and virtually anything that can be shown on a screen. Using this unbiased data, you should be able to test new features, and placements, hone existing messages and better understand your customer going forward. 

One of our clients, Bahama Breeze, was faced with a new menu challenge at the onset of the pandemic: their oversized booked menu was reduced to a one-page layout for the benefit of guest safety. While the previous iteration lacked ease of navigation, the one-page menu did not allow for new and existing guests to experience brand personality, nor drive margin for the brand, as menu space was limited.  

We helped this client refine the overall menu using strategic recommendations from our eye-tracking software, Test Kitchen, and balanced it against beautiful design work that delivered on the brand. Ultimately, we set out to achieve the following: 

Drive Preference 
  • Ensure guests gravitate to items that drive check and margin for the brand. 
Simplify Navigation 
  • Use feedback given prior to the pandemic to combat difficulties guests experienced with binder format. 
Infuse Brand Personality 
  • Deliver on the energetic "Island vibes" element that was lost in the one-page menu design due to space constraints.

We utilized Test Kitchen eye-tracking to gauge what parts of the menu grab guests' attention by measuring the order in which sections were noticed and total time spent. Then we paired this with a qualitative study to help identify key design elements that both aid in navigation and infuse more of the brand. This data, alongside Ops Testing, helped engineer a new menu design that would better deliver on goals. 

The results were eye-opening:
  • 45% increase in ease of navigation 
  • 0.75% increase in check totals 
  • 0.55% percent increase in margin

Further, the overall positive response has given the brand confidence in how to adjust pricing in the future, given the influence the new menu has on guests, preferences, and order behaviors.  

In the end, our goal is to ensure you have the resources necessary to successfully attract and retain the attention of your valued customer. Using an eye-tracking analytics tool such as Test Kitchen is a recipe for success in this industry. Whether it is used for menu engineering, in-store merchandising, or digital marketing, let Ad Cucìna put this technology to work for you. Don’t hesitate to reach out to [email protected].