Have you ever stepped foot in a restaurant only to be met with a confusing and overcomplicated menu, making it difficult to order? Chances are, you have, and you want to keep customers from having that experience in your own shop.
Menu Cover Depot found that regular menu reengineering can increase profits by 10-15%.
If you want to boost your sales, and create an enjoyable experience for your customers, it's crucial that you regularly reengineer your menu! Here are some steps you can take:
Analyze Your Current Menu Items
Set aside a regular time to revisit your menu and analyze how your products are performing. It is recommended to use the contribution margin ratio to calculate the profitability of each of your offerings. Once you can figure out how much you are spending and making back from your menu, you can more accurately decide which items are worth keeping or kicking to the curb.
You always want to keep in mind what menu items are unique to your business. Say your shop is known for its rolled ice cream, but maybe it’s not the most popular item on your menu, you don’t necessarily want to cut that off of your menu. The only items you want to consider cutting are the ones that cost you more money than they are bringing in, or don’t sell at all.
There are four main categories to place your products as you analyze how well they are doing in your shop.
1: High Profitability/High Popularity
These are the menu items that your customers love that are easy for you to produce. These should be a main focus on your menu and in your overall marketing. Designing these menu items to stand out in your menu could guide customers to order more of them and more frequently.
2: High Profitability/Low Popularity
Getting a sale for one of these items brings in a good profit, but getting your customers to actually buy them might be a struggle. Try to understand why they might not be selling. Are they hidden on the menu and customers don’t know about the item, maybe it needs a more prominent spot on your menu to stick out to customers?
Is your price unreasonable, and would that be worth considering a change in price? Maybe they don’t know what is included in the offering and including a picture next to the menu item would help your customers see what they are getting. Understanding why customers might not be ordering can help you find a solution that could bring more sales.
3: Low Profitability/High Popularity
These items, while popular with customers, might cost you more to make. How can you make such items more profitable? Think about the price of your ingredients, are there any that you could be buying cheaper? Is your portion size for these items so big that you’re losing money, or maybe your customers aren’t finishing them and the product ends up in the trash? Evaluate how you can adjust your portion sizes, and make sure to train your employees on the correct portion size.
4: Low Profitability/Low Popularity
They cost you a lot to make but aren’t very popular. These should be the items you consider slashing from your menu. However, if any of these items are what you consider a specialty in your shop, maybe you need to refocus your marketing efforts to emphasize these items better. If they are what make your shop unique, make it known, lean into it, don’t hide them.
Taking the time to break down every item on your menu to figure out what it costs to make each item may sound like a lot of time, but it is absolutely essential if you want to come out with a more profitable menu.
Layout Your Menu Effectively
Menu design and layout can be just as effective as the items you’ll have on it. When a menu is designed well, it’s much easier to navigate, resulting in a better experience for your customer and higher sales on your already popular products. This is your chance to streamline your menu in a way that will make ordering and production faster.
Here are some areas to focus on while designing your menu:
Create quality menu item descriptions
A study published by The Association for Consumer Research found that good menu item descriptions have the opportunity to increase sales by 27%.
Use visual cues or photos
These can help guide customers to purchase items you most want them to purchase. You can also utilize photos for specific items that might need more than just a description.
Emphasize high profit and popular items
Tailor your menu to focus on your best sellers - your customers are more likely to choose an item that sticks out and isn’t so hidden in the menu.
Think about customer experience
How would a customer want to navigate your menu? Think about how it will read - it might be a good idea to get some outsider perspective on your current menu’s readability.
When faced with too many choices, customers can get overwhelmed and spend way too long looking at your menu. Find a balance for your menu offering quantity.
Train your staff
Teaching your employees how to guide a customer to certain menu offerings, and even certain items you are trying to sell more of can help increase sales. Making sure your employees are familiar with your menu can speed up the ordering process, as they can better explain your offerings, and give recommendations.
Brand your menu
Make sure your menu is on brand. Customers will love the consistency and it will help them feel a sense of security in your shop. Choosing colors, fonts and graphics that are on brand can solidify your identity and help establish customer loyalty.
Consider having seasonal menus
Having a separate menu for different seasons to show off fun new offerings and flavors can help boost sales!
Regularly Revisit Your Menu
How is your new menu performing? You might see improvements in some areas, and room for improvement in others. Take the time to analyze your sales and customer experience to guide menu adjustments.
If you plan to make menu changes regularly, you might want to consider having a digital menu using a TV in your restaurant - this can make your menu even more adaptable.
If you want to revamp your menu further, you can look to your staff to create new menu offerings. Utilizing your employees in this process to brainstorm and create new flavors can help you come up with fresh ideas and also help your staff feel more valued in your business. They can also be your eyes and ears when it comes to finding out what flavors or items your customers would want.
However often you choose to revisit your menu offerings and design, being consistent with it is key to keeping your shop up to date and on top of what your customers enjoy most.