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9 ways to maximize menu profitability

Too often, restaurant menus have catchy descriptions, gorgeous photos and an attractive layout, but are missing a key ingredient: They aren’t driving profitability.

Certainly, you should have a visually appealing menu that matches your restaurant’s brand. But beyond doing that well, it’s important to use the menu to your advantage financially.

By using key performance metrics, both financially (such as product mix and profitability) and operationally (such as speed of service, quality and SKU utilization), you can better understand what items are good candidates for menu features, deletion or product re-engineering. This approach also takes emotions out of the picture.

With this in mind, here are nine tips to help maximize your menu:

1.     First and foremost, take stock of your current menu offerings. Use point-of-sale data to understand demand for items and how the product’s volume compares to its overall profitability (price less theoretical food cost).

2.     Promote and feature items that are profitable and wide-reaching. For example, a profitable item that has a polarizing taste profile may never become highly popular, even if it’s pictured on the menu.

3.     In addition to customer reach, ensure that the product can be executed easily (speed of service) and consistently (quality). And, more importantly, it needs to be something that embodies and represents your brand. This may be the first experience for that guest, and it may be your only chance to convert that guest to a regular user.

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