Learning how to streamline your menu can be a challenge, but it has become one of the most important components to surviving in the restaurant business. With widespread disruptions in supply chain demands, increased labor turnover, rising inflation costs affecting the clientele and their eating habits, there is certainly no shortage of obstacles facing the restaurant and hospitality industries right now.
Very few restaurant operators actually succeed at capturing sale opportunities through their menu offerings. From a business standpoint, most restaurant owners are going to think their best chance is to promote the items which bring in the most profit while using the least amount of service and manpower. Although menus are constantly being tweaked, patrons see through this technique and do not appreciate the suggestive selling during a time where they are also facing their own personal financial challenges. Since individuals don’t want to stop dining out all together, they will seek out restaurants with a more streamlined and consistent menu. So we have put together tips on how to accomplish streamlining your restaurant’s menu for more profitability.
Know Your Numbers
Menu analysis is a huge part of restaurant management and operations. Many restaurant owners should look at their numbers regularly to understand food costs, margins, and even the amount of preparation needed for each dish. Knowing which menu items are rarely-ordered can definitely save on costs.
Cut Your Menu Down to Less Items
Cutting down your menu size to less items, believe it or not, can actually show more value and scalability. Downsizing a menu isn’t always a bad thing. Just never compromise on the quality of food and perfect your signature dishes. It just shows that you are redirecting your focus on the items that you know your customers want.
Focus on Takeout
Although many customers are ready to dine out again, many are still ordering in. Preferences for great dine-in options surely changed thanks to the post-pandemic work. It is an optimal time for restaurants to consider updating to a timely process, for takeout-friendly options. Be sure to work on your take-out menu with items that travel well.
Consider More Comfort Food
Another side effect of the post-pandemic Quarantine 15, is many people flocked towards comfort foods as a way to handle our new challenges. You would think people would lean towards healthier options these days to help keep their nutrients high and their minds and bodies in the best physical condition, but the opposite has happened. Patrons are seeking out their favorites in the comfort of their own home. Restaurants are stocking up on this type of inventory to help their kitchens run more efficiently and better serve their community.
Improve Menu Design
When it comes to recreating the design of the menu, it is important to go with larger, easy-to-read fonts. Placement of items is also always key. Dishes with higher profit margins should be on the top right side and don’t forget to highlight the specials. Adding elements like an enclosed box effect can help to emphasize certain dishes you are looking to push and attract the customer’s attention. This method helps even the low-cost items gain more traction. Boxing it in provides higher visibility and tends to subconsciously encourage diners to order more than just their entree.
Be strategic with how you list the items on your menu. Research indicates that patrons often only look at the first few items on the menu and the last. So, if you have a list of 10 options, the most profitable dishes should be the first, second and third items or the ninth and tenth items. A customer looking for a specific dish will always find it or ask, but this helps for those undecided guests.
Benefits of a Streamlining Your Menu
Full-sized menus simply have not returned at the same fast-paced rate as dining rooms are filling up and bars are appearing packed. However, the National Restaurant Association’s 2021 State of the Restaurant Industry Report indicates that regardless of the rate of return, the benefits of a streamlined menu to increase their profits remain due to other challenges.
The overall benefits of streamlining your restaurant’s menu include:
- Higher Profit Margins
- Improved Operations
- Better Inventory Management
Streamlining your menu will be a never-ending cycle of creating, pricing, designing, analyzing and improving your business. The process ensures the right items are present, reviews the popularity and profitability and will help tracking your supply and demand. Keep an overall eye on the monitoring costs, focus on listening to what the customers want, and be actionable when it comes to change in inventory and process.