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How to Sell a Meal Before Finalizing the Menu

Want to know how to post early menus in order to sell your meals faster? This how-to about “to be decided” menu-writing will get you on the right path. 

Posting Early Improves Rate of Sales
If you’ve attended some of our previous webinars, you know that getting your menus up early is one of the best ways to sell out (hence the 5% early-posting discount if you get your meals up 30 days out!). As many of you may have noticed, many of the ticket sales happen within a week of the meal. However, our data shows that the bulk of the views on a meal page come 15-35 days out, which is why meals posted early tend to sell much better. So how can you capitalize on this opportunity if you (like me and many of our chefs) struggle to finalize a menu that far in advance?

Sparse or Non-Existent Descriptions/Menus Decrease Sales
One thing I strongly advise against is the one line “TBA” or “Coming soon” for menu description or dishes. In surveying our users and looking at the data, people are fairly unwilling to book a meal when the description and menu isn’t filled out. They want to get excited about the meal, which is hard to do without a description or any hint of what the meal will be like. They are, however, understanding of the fact that chefs wait to figure out what is available or in season before finalizing a menu. Many appreciate this because it shows the chef really focusing on local ingredients.

Sample Menus are Effective Placeholders
To have your cake and eat it too, post your menus far enough in advance and put a sample menu and description as a placeholder. Talk about your background, what has been inspiring you, or anything else you’re thinking about for this meal. Even copying a menu/description from a past event is better than leaving it blank or “TBA.” To denote the changing nature of the menu, include a line like: “Menu below is a sample. Exact menu will be finalized once I make my last visit to the farmers market.” When the details are final, update the menu and message your diners about the change.  I’ve done this for 30+ meals and only had one or two cancelled seats as a result.

Here’s a sample menu using the best practices tips: 


Here’s a TBD menu that’s not likely to obtain early sales: 

As always, feel free to message me at with any questions, or reach out to the other chefs in this community who have experience with these issues!

Joey DeBruin,
Head of Growth at Feastly


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