The daily task of running your restaurant for even the most efficient and effective restaurateur can be daunting. Too often, with start up restaurants you will find yourself caught up in the moment, you forget an entire operation hangs in the balance. The goal should be to optimize profitability through strategic business decisions. One of the biggest mistakes restaurateurs makes is to not focus too much on the menu design. It is after all the face of your business. And this is what should be paid most attention to.
The menu design is the most profitable piece in your restaurant. What should be on it? Have you given it any thought? Too many restaurateurs put self indulgent items on the menu without thinking of the unnecessary cost and wastage it incurs.
First and foremost, you must trim your menu down. If you take a careful read through of your menu you will find 30% of it is never used. This means you are losing money on items and ingredients that are never ordered or make a profit. You have to determine which items to keep and which to eliminate?
You have to mix up the menu. Restaurateurs will know items that fall into ‘cash cow’, ‘work horses’, ‘fillers’ and ‘dogs’ are part of a restaurant menu. You must understand the intricacy of menu mix and incorporate as many ‘cash cows’ as possible. This impacts the overall business performance.
Look at your menu and review it time and again. The ‘cash cows’ should not be touched. You need to address the ‘’dogs and figure out if there is a way to increase profit through these deadbeat dishes. Don’t waste too much precious time on these; however, they too serve a purpose as you may have a certain group of customers that prefer the dog dishes.
You menu must look and feel as important as it is. Guests on average don’t spend more than a minute looking at a menu. This is all the time you have to incorporate enough to bring in profits to your restaurant.
Your menu should be well crafted and professional designed. The language must be devoid of grammar mistakes and typo errors. You should organize and present items with consistency as an extension of the brand itself.
How do your guests glance at their menus? Is it top-down, or bottom-up? This gives you leverage to include profit making items at the top, which will grab their attention. This is a simple model where profitable items are listed first and go on from there. You can also use eye magnets, to direct your guests to a particular item.
Menu prices should be thought out strategically. They are the backbone of your business. Pricing is perception. For example, an item can cost $9.99 and it will certainly look more appealing than $10. The reason is people look at the first digit and don’t focus on the .99 cents.