If you think having an extensive menu means making extra profit, think again. In the current climate, the simpler your menu options, the more you can achieve sustainable profit margins in these difficult times. Here’s why and how…
Engineered to deliver
Simplifying your food offering is known as ‘Menu Engineering’ and it’s catching on across every hospitality business model – because it delivers bottom line results. In fact, menu simplification is now regarded as one of the most powerful ways to increase profitability, operational efficiency and even customer satisfaction. Proof that less really is more!
A simplified menu means chefs and business owners can focus on strengths – customer favourites, higher margin dishes – and cut out anything that’s not paying its way. Planning a menu around customer demand and profitability – not quantity – cuts ingredient costs, food waste and even prep time. Making your kitchen more cost-effective as well as time-efficient – and, often, more innovative too.
A simplified menu is a chance to delight customers with your brand promise, personality and positioning. What can customers expect when they spend their time and money with you? Is your proposition one of greater value or a higher quality dining experience? Simplifying your menu lets you drill down into exactly where to position your business and which customers you want to attract.
The benefits of less
Menu engineering means making the most out of every ingredient that comes into the kitchen. A simplified menu based around limited core ingredients that can be repurposed across several different dishes brings real business benefits. Using fewer ingredients means less costly wastage and more cost savings to be made by buying in bulk. Less prep time means the chance to cut staff costs. And, as a simplified menu streamlines the kitchen operation, it means service is speedier too. If your business relies on turning tables, that’s a win-win.
Minimising ingredients can lead to maximum creativity too. Many chefs take the opportunity to develop signature dishes that showcase their talent and help to differentiate their smaller menu from competitors’; others create a ‘mother sauce’ that can be adapted in taste and texture to suit a range of dishes. By focusing on fewer dishes cooked to perfection, businesses with a simplified menu will be renowned for their quality over quantity.
The important thing to remember about simplifying a menu is not to do away with the ingredients that can upcharge or elevate a dish. Think beyond the usual sides and sauces for ways to keep those core ingredients looking and tasting different with the addition of selected elements.
Customers prefer clear and simple
Menu engineering can save your business time and money. But it can only grow your reputation and margins if your menu is what customers want.
Research shows that customers dislike large menus with an overwhelming number of choices. Too much choice and lengthy descriptions make it difficult for customers to decide what to order, whereas fewer options laid out clearly and simply leads to faster decisions. If you’ve added some upcharge extras, so much the better – customers enjoy being able to ‘customise’ a dish to their own preference.
Menu engineering is what every savvy chef and hospitality business owner should be doing right now to help maximise margins. The key reasons for simplifying menus are:
- Cut inventory costs
- Make cost savings by buying in bulk
- Cut costly food wastage
- Less prep time cuts staff costs
- Streamlined kitchen operations make service speedier
- Deliver a clear proposition to customers
- Concentrate on quality, not quantity
With less on the menu, it’s essential that each dish achieves the GP you need. Download the FREE Lynx Purchasing Gross Profit Calculator today to instantly calculate the GP on dishes already on your menu or the selling price you need to apply to new menu items.
The Lynx GP Calculator does all the work for you so you’ll see straight away how much more impact having less on your menu will make.