Does it matter if a guest orders the Grilled Lamb Chops or your signature Dish? What about for dessert, the Mud Pie or your ‘made from scratch’ Tiramisu?
The primary focus of every operator is first and foremost ensuring that each guest has a great meal and a marvelous time (so they will keep coming back).
However, examining the pluses and minuses inherent in each menu item will give you some valuable insights that can help you run a more profitable restaurant.
We refer to this process as identifying your ‘Prime Menu Items’ in each section of the menu. Prime menu items can be identified using the following factors:
Gross profit margin – GPM is the sales price less the cost of an item’s raw ingredients. Within each section of your menu, some menu items may have substantially greater profit margins than others. Given the choice, you’d probably rather sell more of your high gross profit items.
Labor intensity – Labor involved in initial preparation of ingredients and recipes. Some menu items may require much more prep labor than others. Although difficult to quantify in money, highly labor intensive items cost you more to serve.
Final prep – Labor and time required for final preparation and delivery. When your place is full, time can become THE critical factor. You probably want guests ordering more menu items the kitchen can prepare and deliver quickly.
Wow factor – Menu items that guests rave about and come back for. Consider menu items that are unique, award-winning and stand out for their taste and visual appeal.
After identifying what you really want to sell, use your menu to highlight them (through the use of graphics, such as boxes & signature icons) and train your servers (through personal recommendations) to sell more of them.