In our previous post we spoke about what advantages can have a restaurant from the menu engineering and how much of the restaurants deal with it. Now we’ll write about the first two steps, which will be the foot-stones of the menu engineering. Look at which processes we have to make first to reach the promised income increase in our restaurant.
First step: Make a calculation
In this calculation we have to tear down all of our dishes to vital foods and we have to count out exactly how much does it cost to get these meals ready. Eating places must cost their menus to the cents without wages as the engineering process heavily depends on the prices of each menu items. It is recommended to make it by the responsible person of the menu assemblage as this person is fully aware of the ingredients.
Second step: Categorizing by profitability and popularity
This step can be broken up to three parts:
1. Separate our menu items to categories and sections.
The process of categorizing is not set in stone, but it can be a good guideline if we’ll think about categories as entrees, main dishes, desserts or drinks. The point is that don’t overlap each other and every category must be obvious.
Then break up these categories to sections. For example use vegetarian entrees, fish entrees, poultry main dishes, pork main dishes or for drinks we can group them as alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. It is important that each group must be unambiguously separated from each other.
In this step it is enough to create a simple spreadsheet in which we line up the menu items into these categories and sections.
2. Group our menu items by popularity and profitability
In this step we’ll need our sale statistics and the calculation of the first main step. It is recommended to look at a certain interval for the sale numbers, maybe the last one month.
We need a four quadrant chart with these slices:
Stars (good popularity, good profit)
Plow-horses (good popularity, poor profit)
Puzzles (poor popularity, good profit)
Dogs (poor popularity, poor profit)
3. What to do with menu item?
Use the built-up chart from the former part to decide the fate of each dishes and drinks. We’ll have to see the place of the each menu item in its category and secion by popularity and profitability. Our decisions will be made by the combination of art taste and common sense. Every question is unique and you have to decide on your own, but here you can find some good advices:
Stars: Easy question, it is always a good idea to highlight them on menu cards!
Plow-horses: You should have to create a more profitable version of this meal.
Puzzles: You should check that your waiters offer these meals and examine your guests why not choose them? Sometimes it is enough to decrease the price to increase the sales to receive a larger amount of profit summary.
Dogs: Sometimes we can leave them from the menu, but we are not allowed to drop all items of a certain category. Sometimes the best option is to hide, de-emphasize them in a simple list and not to put any further effort to suggest them.
If you’ve finished these steps, you’ll have the good basis of a new, designable restaurant menu card. In our next post, we’ll give you some advices of Gregg Rapp, the menu engineer, and you can start to design your new menu card and increase your income.