Why your menu is one of the most important aspects of your restaurant

Your menu is one of the most important aspects of your restaurant. The menu helps to bring the customers in the door and keeps them coming back. In the restaurant business, repeat business equals success. Customers come back over and over to a restaurant due to basically two things; great service and great food.

This is one of the reasons so many restaurants keep the same menu for years and even decades. You may have many long-time customers, but how many new customers are you losing because, to them, your menu seems outdated and out of touch?

New customers are crucial to your restaurant's success, just as much as repeat customers. Every restaurant should be striving to increase their customer base, no matter how long they've been in business.

Even those restaurants with years of repeat business will have some “dogs” on their menu. These are the items that never seem to sell. A great menu will not have any such items on it because the chef and owner have worked to keep the menu fresh by replacing any slow moving items with new items that do sell. A menu should never be allowed to go stagnant. It must evolve with the changing tastes of the customers, while still retaining your restaurant's identity.

There are so many decisions that go into creating or updating the menu for your restaurant. You may have been thinking about this for years, planning for the day when you would open your restaurant. But when the time finally comes to write that menu, the panic sets in.

Your restaurant concept should help guide your menu, but don't make the mistake of limiting yourself to only concept foods. Depending on what type of restaurant you are; fast casual, ethnic, family friendly, white tablecloth; there are certain menu items your customers will expect to see on your menu, but it's up to you to introduce them to new and exciting items as well.

Deciding how many menu items to offer and what types of dishes they should be, can be a daunting task. If you have a chef, this is a decision that will require input from your chef. If you are the chef and owner, then you need to incorporate both your culinary expertise along with the financial eye of an owner. Always remember that no matter how wonderful a dish may be, if the profit margin is not acceptable then it does not belong on the menu. Never allow your ego or the chef's ego about a certain dish out-weigh the importance of the bottom line.  Profitable menu engineering is essential.

When you create your menu, you carefully figure your food costs on each item that goes into the dish. However, don't forget to factor in all the labor costs involved with it. From the prep line to the final presentation, this must all be considered. Your restarant accounting system should be able to provide you with most of this information.

With highly specialized dishes, another cost factor to consider is that many times the dish requires a unique serving platter or utensil that cannot be used with any other of your menu items. This is an additional cost factor that cannot be spread out between all the dishes and therefore a big consideration before putting that specialty item on your menu.

Think about every single cost factor that goes into each dish from the moment you turn on the gas, through the entire preparation, cooking and presentation to the customer. These are all cost factors that can mean the difference between success and failure for your restaurant.

How can you keep your costs down? The single most cost-saving approach to any menu is ingredient usage. When planning your menu, the more ways you can use a single ingredient, the higher your profit margin and the lower your food costs will be. Think of a few main proteins, then plan recipes around them. Even with your produce, herbs, spices and sauces, you must create unique recipes which incorporate these same ingredients in entirely different ways.

The restaurant business is always evolving. Customer’s tastes and demands are always in flux. You must stay on top of the changes to remain current. Keep your menu fresh and exciting to bring in new customers and keep your current customers excited about new items to try.

CFO Business Growth Solutions, LLC provides Nationwide Restaurant Accounting, Restaurant Bookkeeping Services, Menu Engineering, POS Business Intelligence, Menu Writing and CFO Restaurant Consulting Services.  For more information go to http://www.cforas.com

 

1 comment

  1. each restaurant should at least have one to two signature entree on their menu.

    ReplyDelete

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