With restaurants being put under increasing pressure during the pandemic, it’s vital that you regularly assess your menu and follow best practices.
After all, your menu is the main way that communicates your dish options to customers, and poor menu design can be costing you profits.
Here’s our rundown of the 7 menu design changes you can make to increase profitability.
1) Run a Popularity-Profit Analysis
Using your point-of-sale system, you need to check which items are the most profitable and which ones are popular. Here, you have four options:
- High profitability, high popularity: These are the best dishes, as they make you the most money.
- High profitability, low popularity: These are tricky to deal with, as it might make financial sense to keep them, but they are just taking up menu space. In some cases, it might be because of menu positioning, but in others, it might just be because they are not suited to your clientele. Aim to boost their popularity by offering them in deals if possible.
- Low profitability, high popularity: In many cases, these are dishes that get clients into your business. Look at reducing their prominence except perhaps as an up-sell.
- Low profitability, low popularity: These are the dishes that generally should be removed from the menu unless they appeal to a specific audience (e.g., gluten-free options or dishes that appeal to those in a group who may not like a specific cuisine).
2) Limit Your Menu
The number of items on your menu can be causing customer confusion. When people are presented with too many choices, they often resort to staying with what they know, which may not be a dish that generates significant profit for your business.
The ideal number of dishes per section is seven. This might mean seven appetizers, seven entrees and seven desserts. This provides choice without overwhelming the consumer, and it allows you to focus on a smaller range, reducing waste.
3) Remove Most Pictures
A picture says a thousand words, or so this cliche goes, but nobody wants to experience a novel when browsing a menu. Save images for items you particularly want to push, and make sure they are high quality.
4) Create Deals and Meals
A few meals can really push items you want to sell. In many cases, people select the meals because they don’t want to make choices, and this can be very helpful for restaurants that have a lot of items available.
Place a few common items together (you can work out what is often bought together from your POS system), add a couple of up-sell items and put a reasonable price on it.
5) Remove Pricing Symbols
It may sound odd, but removing the pricing symbols from your menu design can reduce the focus on cost. In addition, if you use whole numbers, it gives your restaurant a more upscale vibe, while ending prices in cents (.99 or .95) can make it seem cheaper. You may also want to remove dots connecting the price to the description of the menu item.
6) Use the Triangle Zone
The triangle zone is the area of a menu that people are most likely to read. Typically, those reading the menu will focus on the top-middle of the menu, initially, which is where you’d put your highest-profit items.
Items on the top right and top left tend to get missed out, so save those areas for lower-profit options or for menu items that can be singled out later (e.g., desserts).
7) Regularly Review Menu Items
Times change, and there have been many shocks to the restaurant industry recently. Regularly review your dishes to ensure that they’re performing as expected, and make menu changes as needed.
If you need integrated systems that help you do all this, talk to us. We have a range of inventory management and POS systems that can help you get the data you need to accurately manage your restaurant.
High food cost? We can assist with daily inventory control, ensuring your profitability with Ideal Stock Control