Should I keep it on my menu?

Should I keep it on my menu?

01/30/2020 Tags: Announcements, In the News

If you run a restaurant, you know that your menu is a huge part of making sure your business is successful.

But what does a good menu look like?

Obviously, you want your menu to help you increase sales. But you also need to define what success means to you. After you decide that, how can you measure that success over time to make sure your menu stays successful?

One strategy is “menu engineering.”

There are a lot of factors that play into the profitability of restaurants. But menu engineering should be a primary focus.

Menu engineering includes the following:

  • Menu design: The document’s aesthetic value and its attractiveness to customers.
  • Menu organization: Where customers can find your items and how they navigate or understands the menu.
  • Pricing: The price of items and — more importantly — the strategy behind how you arrived at a given price and how that price contributes to your overall profit.

Menu engineering including the plow horse, star, dog, and puzzle

Menu engineering looks at a few criteria — like the number of plates sold and the profitability of each of those items — and then puts each item in a category.

  • Plow Horses: Popular sellers with low profitability
  • Dogs: Low sellers with low profitability
  • Puzzles: Low sellers with high profitability
  • Stars: High sellers with high profitability

Plow Horses can be staples that your customers love. Puzzles might be your prestige or luxury items that you push to diners with large budgets who want a truly unique experience.

The goal of menu engineering is to encourage your customers to part with their hard-earned cash by offering them a better customer experience through higher-value items.

By if you only concern yourself with cost percentages, you might be leaving crucial dollars on the table or — in this case — in your customers’ wallets.

  • For Stars, you'd want to rarely run these items as a “special” because your customers will consistently choose these dishes without needing a discount. And, in all likelihood, they wouldn't stop opting for those items, even if you increase the price.
  • Plow Horses aren't hurting your business. But it takes a lot more work to make the same profit as the high-demand/high-profit dishes. Customers often see these items as a good deal. So, if you increase the prices, do so very slowly at very small intervals. You could also try a different location of the dish on your physical menu.
  • Puzzles are questionable. Maybe the physical location on the menu is not right, or maybe your customers don't want them because they're too expensive. Try lowering the price slightly to see if interest increases.
  • Whenever possible, remove the Dogs from your menu.

You'll want to do menu engineering continusouly. Product costs, season changes, and fads all play a part in keeping your menu successful.

If you have any questions about menu engineering, contact our Tourism & Hospitality Team. We'd love to help you out!


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