Strategic menu planning has always been crucial to a restaurant’s success. And amid today’s soaring food and labor costs, intentionality about every single dish – and every single price that’s attached – is even more important.
“There are various strategies for menu pricing, but unfortunately there’s no single magic formula,” says Eric Jeffay, senior partnership manager for restaurant management software MarginEdge. “That’s why restaurants are hard to operate, but it’s really about taking a long-term, analytical approach, and saying, ‘I want to know what’s going on in my restaurant financially, and I’m not going to be afraid of it.'"
A great menu often starts with passion for a certain cuisine or style of cooking. But from there, operators must look at an array of other factors, ranging from the wants and needs of their target customers to competitor pricing to the cost and portion size of each ingredient that lands on the menu.
Menu analysis is a continuous and data-heavy process. It involves regularly diving into both menu costs and sales data. While this might sound like a lot of work, the reality is, your business depends on it. And there are tools and strategies to make the whole process more efficient. Start earning those extra dollars, and you might actually find yourself starting to enjoy it.
Below, we walk through some of the basic components of menu engineering, designed to maximize profits and set you up for success.
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