Successful restaurant entrepreneurs are constantly changing, improving or updating their menu (in other words, “auditing” their menu). It is a challenging task. However, it is important to take a good, hard look at your menu, and see how it is performing, and how it can be improved. In this article, you’ll find some tips and tricks to complete a menu audit.
What is a Menu Audit?
You may be wondering what a menu audit actually is. A menu audit is a cost-benefit analysis of the dishes on your menu and gives you an idea of its strengths and weaknesses.
A menu audit can:
- Tell you how you are losing profits
- Help you create new goals to up your profits
- Help you run a more successful restaurant
Steps to Complete a Menu Audit
- Examine your Sales – You should always keep a record of all of your sales: What dishes were sold? What are your most popular dishes? What are the dishes that are not doing so well?
- Look at your Costs – How much does each dish you to make costs? The cost should include the ingredients used, the time it takes to make, and how much of the dish is thrown away at the end of the day. If you need some tips on taking your inventory, check here.
- Analyze your Recipes – How are you making your dishes? Pay close attention to the resources and time it requires for your dishes to be made. Do you have multiple fried dishes with only one deep fryer? This will cause backups during service and could be hurting your sales. You should work to ensure that your dishes utilize different parts of the kitchen, so you don’t end up with issues during service.
- Rank your Dishes – Can you make a list of your dishes from best to worst? The best dishes should have a high-profit margin and popularity, while the worst are dishes that have low popularity and cost you more money than they make.
- Change the Menu – After ranking and examining all of your dishes, it’s time to make some changes. Get rid of any dish that has low popularity and low-profit margins. If there is a dish that has high popularity and low-profit margins, try and figure out how to make it more cost-efficient. If the opposite is true, come up with ways to make high-profit margin dishes more popular to get even more out of them.
Tips for Creating an Awesome Menu
Less is More
You should try and keep your menu as small as possible. Make sure that the food descriptions are short and on-point, so your customers aren’t overwhelmed.
Focus on Menu Design
The design of the menu itself is very important. Your best dishes should be at the top and bottom of the menu, as this is what customers will remember the most. Make your menus stand out with some sort of design that fits the character of your restaurant.
You should adjust prices based on your sales. If you have a very popular dish, consider raising its price a little, or if a dish is underperforming, consider lowering the price. Increasing the price by 25 cents is better than raising it by a dollar, so keep the price increases small. This is less noticeable to customers and will actually lead to better profits than a bigger price increase. You can also take a look at reviews to get a better idea of what your customers are saying about your dishes.
Up-Sell Your Menu
Upselling is the process by which a restaurant tries to convince customers to purchase additional items, upgrades, or add-ons for an increased price. When done right, it can greatly increase your profits and sales. To learn more about this technique, continue reading here.