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Reduce Waste, Cut Costs, and Simplify Your Menu

The menu is one of the best marketing tools for a food service establishment. It is a roadmap for a restaurant’s financial viability. During the Covid-19 pandemic, engineering your menu to drive margins and increase efficiency has become even more important for restaurants.

Unpredictable lockdowns and operational reductions during the pandemic require operators to focus on smaller and simpler menus to address problems of limited supply, labor shortages, etc.

Therefore, it is crucial to focus on the concept of menu engineering or simplification, a powerful tool that can streamline your inventory and menu, allowing you to build profitability and move forward. Here are a few tips to optimize your menu.

  •       Focus on your guests’ favorites based on past records and sale performance
  •       Revised recipes to improve portability for takeout and delivery
  •       Consider price in view of high costs for your restaurant packaging and delivery
  •       Showcase items on the menu you want to sell more through placement
  •       Highlight a special section or create a new category, such as a value menu
  •       Pay attention to party size for family-style takeout
  •       Utilize specials and limited-time offers to create seasonality and variety
  •       Reduce or eliminate complex menu items, including:

o   The number of ingredients

o   Labor efforts

o   The time involved to produce them

  •       Enhance ticket times with menu items that are easier to prepare and serve, such as:

o   Shrimp cocktail

o   Portion-and-eat bread pudding

  •       Consumers have a greater understanding of restaurants, so provide them value with reasonable prices
  •       Evaluate pricing, especially for margins and the amount of profit recouped instead of food costs. For instance, a $20 steak may have a 55% food cost, but it generates a $10.50 profit than a $12 sandwich with a 25% food cost
  •       Take a hard look at items with lower profit margins or higher food costs when reducing your menu size
  •       Try tweaking your recipe or portion size for better performance
  •       Focus on pricing strategies that lead to increases in smaller increments instead of one sticker-shock-inducing swoop
  •       Menu simplification requires careful planning, preparation, and inventory control strategies, so use high-quality inventory control software, such as KEXY, to streamline your business process and provide value to your customers
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