POS company Speedline offered a quick way to categorize and optimize menu items in its May 3 "POS Quick Tips" newsletter.
First, it arranged menu items into four departments: "Work Horse," or high demand, low margin items; "Star," or high demand, high margin items; "Dog," or low demand, low margin items, and "Puzzle," or low demand, high margin items.
Star items, the post said, drive traffic and profit and should be the anchor of your ads, menus and coupons. It also suggested offering variations on these items to upset.
Work Horses should be utilized in a way that brings people in, through cross-promotion or value meal deals, or as happy hour specials or other limited-time offers.
Puzzles could be turned into Stars or Dogs. If people don't buy them because they don't know them, sample them heavily and promote via signage. If that doesn't work, they may turn into Dogs, which Speedline suggests losing, modifying or renaming.