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How to use descriptive adjectives to describe breakfast

Updated October 16, 2018

The right description on your menu can increase sales as much as 27 per cent, if it uses geographic, nostalgic or sensory adjectives with familiar, positive associations, according to Illinois marketing professor Brian Wansink and colleagues. If your breakfast menu sales are flat, use words that evoke fond memories, provide concrete terms describing taste, smell and texture and pinpoint the origins of your ingredients. More specific breakfast food descriptions bring repeat orders and bigger profits.

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  1. Write down the common recipe name for your menu item. Skip three lines.

  2. List one or two nostalgic adjectives for each recipe name, such as "made from scratch" or "Grandma's favourite" or "country style." You can also use terms like "homemade" or "southern-style" or "free-range."

  3. List all the ingredients used to make that recipe on separate lines under the recipe name, leaving two or three lines for notes between each item. Use specific names for each item, such as "Granny Smith apple" or "whole-wheat flour" rather than just "apple" or "flour."

  4. List five adjectives under each ingredient that describe a specific quality of that item. For example, a Granny Smith apple can be tart, crisp, citrus-kissed, crunchy or firm-fleshed.

  5. List two or three geographic adjectives that describe each ingredient, such as Valencia for oranges, Bermuda for onions, Washington for apples or Idaho for potatoes.

  6. Combine all the terms into two or three sentences that describe your breakfast menu. For example, "Our southern-style buttermilk biscuits are slathered with fresh, creamy butter and topped with maple-cured, farm-fresh sausage and red-eye gravy. Two free-range eggs over easy, a heaping portion of Idaho hash browns, two slices of crispy, cinnamon-raisin French toast dusted with icing sugar and a tall, cold glass of Valencia orange juice start your morning right."

  7. Tip

    Use simple terms with commonly-known and understood meanings when describing breakfast foods and other menu items. Avoid slang terms and foreign words if they will confuse your patrons, or provide a plain-language translation. State where the ingredients came from and how they were raised.

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About the Author

Jane Smith has provided educational support, served people with multiple challenges, managed up to nine employees and 86 independent contractors at a time, rescued animals, designed and repaired household items and completed a three-year metalworking apprenticeship. Smith's book, "Giving Him the Blues," was published in 2008. Smith received a Bachelor of Science in education from Kent State University in 1995.

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