Crafting a restaurant menu is both an art and a science, with numerous factors to consider. Effective menu design can entice customers, encourage repeat business, and increase revenue. One key aspect of menu design is menu engineering, which involves strategically pricing and placing menu items to maximize profitability.
The first step in menu engineering is to analyze the menu items and their popularity. This can be done by using data from the restaurant's point of sale (POS) system, such as sales data and customer feedback. By identifying the most and least popular menu items, restaurant owners can adjust pricing and placement to maximize profits.
Menu items can be divided into four categories based on popularity and profitability: Stars, Plowhorses, Puzzles, and Dogs. Stars are high-profit and high-popularity items, such as signature dishes, while Plowhorses are high-popularity but low-profit items, such as basic salads. Puzzles are low-popularity but high-profit items, such as specialty cocktails, while Dogs are low-popularity and low-profit items, such as outdated menu items.
Once menu items have been categorized, restaurant owners can adjust pricing and placement to increase profitability. For example, Stars can be given a higher price point to increase revenue, while Plowhorses can be paired with higher-priced items to boost profitability. Puzzles can be featured prominently on the menu or highlighted by servers to increase visibility and sales, while Dogs can be removed from the menu entirely to streamline the menu and improve customer experience.
Menu design is also an important aspect of menu engineering. The layout, typography, and imagery of a menu can influence customer behavior and purchasing decisions. For example, using high-quality images and descriptive language can increase sales of certain menu items. Additionally, the strategic placement of menu items can guide customers towards higher-profit items.
In addition to menu engineering, menu psychology is also an important aspect of menu design. It involves using scientific principles to influence customer behavior and purchasing decisions. Some well-known menu psychology concepts include the use of round numbers instead of ending in .99 or .95, highlighting feature foods with boxes or expanded descriptions, using color theory to associate emotions with the restaurant's style, placing the most profitable items in the "Golden Triangle," (1. Middle 2. Top right corner 3. Top left corner) and using rich descriptions with enticing language to describe menu items. By using these principles, restaurant owners can improve the likelihood that diners will choose certain items and increase profitability.
In conclusion, menu engineering is a valuable tool for restaurant owners looking to increase profitability and improve customer experience. By analyzing menu data and strategically adjusting pricing and placement, restaurant owners can increase revenue and reduce waste. Effective menu design is also key, as it can influence customer behavior and purchasing decisions. With these tools, restaurant owners can craft a menu that maximizes profits and delights customers.
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