What is the most effective tool for marketing your restaurant? That’s right; it is your menu design. A successful menu design and layout are known to increase profits by 3-5%. Putting together your menu shouldn’t be a random process where a few items are flung together and you forget about the entire thing thereafter. It requires you understand customer psychology, analyze the cost of food, menu item costs and contribution margin. When you have an objective view of the menu items popularity and profitability, you will know which items bring in more profit and which items don’t.
Whether you are running a fine dining establishment, fast casual restaurant or fast food joint you should engineer your menu to bring in maximum profitability.
Here are a few questions to answer before designing your menu
Are my menu items profitable?
Not every restaurant owner knows how to calculate menu item costs. This is the reason food cost analysis plays a major role. You want to make certain you do not lose money each time the inventory is updated.
Are my menu items performing well
Now, here’s the fun part. Compare how well your menu items perform within a specific time period. You should design a graph comparing profitability and popularity. If your menu items are both profitable and popular, you give it high stars. These items should be highlighted and promoted. Some items are popular but bring in low profits. These are called plowhorses. Your goal should be to design a more profitable version of the current item. It is already popular, so you don’t have to worry about that. For example, you can include a signature sandwich. You may decrease the size whilst making it seem more appealing.
There are dishes that are not as popular but bring in bigger profits. These are called puzzles but these menu items are not easy to sell. These items may need to be reinvented but be sold at lower prices. You can list these items as specials on your menu.
Menu items that are both low in profits and popularity should be considered removing from the menu altogether. However, be careful and patient as these items may be popular amongst a certain group of customers.
How can I design an appealing menu?
Highlight specific items – Highlight items using visual language. You can place a photograph, or a box or an asterisk. You can also label it as New or Chef’s Special. But avoid too many features as it can cheapen the menu.
Write beautiful language – Channel your inner feelings and write beautifully around the items. Craft beautiful descriptions and pique the interest of the guests.