Editor's note: This is part 2 in a 2-part series from Krebs on menu engineering.
Understanding the science and methodology of menu engineering goes beyond where to place profitable items on the menu. You now know (see Part 1 - previous blog), that you can benefit greatly by placing your highest profit items in the right places on the menu to encourage their sales and thus, increase your bottom line.
However, there is more to the idea of sound menu engineering than how you organize your menu. You also have to build your menu with the right products.
And, by right products, we mean those products with the highest quality the best price. If, for instance, pasta is a key entrée item for you, you want to go with a brand like Barilla, which has an excellent program and a very high quality product line.
Then, in order to create the most profit per plate, it is imperative that you look beyond your key ingredients to everything that goes into making that entrée right down to your spices.
Many operators also neglect to examine the pricing of kitchen supplies, which is the number one area for savings. That means analyzing the costs of your prep supplies, can liners, wrapping and plastics.
Menu engineering is a sophisticated analysis observing how restaurant patrons make item selections, but it cannot be based simply on the look of the menu or where items are placed on it.
Well-engineered menus sell higher gross profit items that satisfy the consumer and add incremental gross profit dollars to the restaurant operator. If you consider your menu a decorative price list, you are missing opportunities. Your menu is your most powerful merchandising tool, reflecting what makes your restaurant special and profitable.
If you guide your customers in the right direction, you will not only be selling your best menu items but those that reap the greatest profits.
You can make this happen by building from the ground up:
- Match the ingredients with those manufacturers who have the best value-added programs
- Then match your products to those programs
- Think beyond the center of the plate to those things that go into the making of that plate
- Examine the pricing and select all of those ingredients, kitchen supplies and tools
The result will be a properly engineered menu that will provide your restaurant with increased profit immediately.
/ John Krebs is a dynamic, seasoned executive with experience in building and growing multi-million-dollar organizations through strategic visioning, expert leadership, and strong operational expertise. Krebs has helped hundreds of foodservice organizations achieve a focus on exceptional results by using his operational and supply expertise in distribution, purchasing and operational management.